In the spirit of continuing a loving and transparent dialogue toward equity in our work and beyond, we commit to the following as our first steps toward a much longer road of action:
- Start from a place of listening. We will listen to the anger and pain of Black people caused by white supremacy and the systemic racism it perpetuates.
- Stand with our Black membership and Black staff members. We are here to support you through our work, and in accountability practices that we will continue to develop.
- Move with intentionality, care, and measured action. We invite our membership to share their actions and join us in collective organizing.
- Support the pool in caring for yourselves and your communities, whether that be in protest, organizational policy change, or taking time alone to rest and rejuvenate. We understand that this moment exists in a long continuum of liberation struggles.
Above all, ArtsPool remains committed to taking action and increasing our accountability toward anti-racist work within our organization and community. There is deep work to do to transform our arts institutions so that they no longer uphold white supremacy and we renew our commitment to working towards this change in the time ahead.
Below are some specific areas where we are taking action.
New member onboarding process
Our Member Development and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) teams continue to refine our new member review process. In our initial onboarding meetings, we ask more explicit questions about equity practices at prospective member organizations, including items such as racial and disability equity in communities served, board and leadership makeup, and employee demographics.
At the same time, we are asking these questions internally. We acknowledge that our employees and governance representatives are currently majority white and that we have work to do to transform our own organization so that we divest from any practices that uphold white supremacy and inequity. We continue to be committed to working towards this change and understand that there is a lot to be done.
One way we are addressing this through our annual employee work reviews, which allow each employee to assess their work at ArtsPool and identify issues or friction that may need to be resolved. These individual conversations, conducted in a peer review format, contribute to our shared understanding of the ways that the culture at ArtsPool is working well and what may need to change.
We are also committed to implementing an equity lens in our future hiring practices. Ideally, this will make ArtsPool a more hospitable work environment for employees, members, and governance representatives who are Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) or disabled.
Additionally, we have published an article about our pay equity process and collective decision-making in the Americans for the Arts blog, in the hopes that some of our challenges and successes can support other organizations in their compensation considerations.
We encourage BIPOC employees of our member organizations to consider running for leadership roles on our governance committees, as we aim to center BIPOC representatives in pivotal decision-making processes.
The Membership Committee and DEI Team are updating our Member in Good Standing guide to explicitly include more about our expectations of the culture of our member organizations and our expectations around accountability to employees and community.
The Communications Team continues to organize Poolside Chats that are responsive to needs of the cooperative in the hopes that these conversations can provide valuable resources to institutions across the city. Our equity practices are not only about internal commitment to equity but also about resource sharing, allocation, and responsiveness to our constituents.