In June of 2020, we shared a letter “Change Starts from Within” from New 42 President & CEO Russell Granet and Board Chairman Fiona Rudin about steps in our organization’s anti-racism journey. As we did then, we acknowledge how essential it is for us to re-think and dismantle white-centered practices that have been embedded in our nonprofit for decades, and have caused harm and pain.
New 42’s core values include “Inclusive Community.” We believe that our theaters belong to all, and want everyone to feel a sense of belonging in our performance spaces, offices and rehearsal rooms. This is where we started our self-reflection, recognizing that our organization must practice anti-racism in our daily work in order to deliver on the core value of “inclusive community” while folding in the rest of our values adventurously, thoughtfully, and steadfastly leading with our hearts.
What follows is a summary of the first steps in this stage of our anti-racism journey and the internal work we’ve done so far, including our new EDI definitions, our staff learning and decision-making structure, and the areas of focus on which our organizational plan is based. As a community of practitioners and learners, our approach has been uniquely communal and our plan to move the work forward involves the participation of everyone in the organization.
At the beginning of 2020, a group of staff from across different departments of the organization drafted definitions of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion for the work of New 42, which we have since adopted:
Equity: the result of combining diversity and inclusion to ensure a transparent, fair and just environment for all. When meaningful efforts are made to provide each individual with what they need to feel a sense of belonging, agency, and the potential for success, equity is more likely to be achieved.
Diversity: the extent to which an organization has people from diverse backgrounds represented throughout. It is recognition of individual differences. These differences can be along the dimensions of: race, color, ethnicity, nationality, language, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs or socioeconomic background.
Inclusion: the active, intentional, and ongoing engagement of an organization’s diverse culture through its formal systems, informal practices and accountability protocols.
EDI and Anti-Racism Subcommittees
Anti-racism is central to our community practice, and EDI work will include learnings, sharings and trainings, and accountability will be mutually defined and shared through the work of six EDI subcommittees:
Language Subcommittee: Drafts EDI Statement(s) for review and eventual adoption and publication on the company website and elsewhere. Ensures the language New 42 uses in its practices and processes reflect its EDI objectives.
Culture Subcommittee: Supports the formation of organizational affinity groups and other New 42 cultural change initiatives. Provides materials and guidance for staff interested in starting an affinity group. Drafts affinity group policy to include in employee handbook.
Partnership Subcommittee: Liaison to the Anti-Racism consultant and other EDI partners. Supports partner work inside the organization and seeks new partnerships as required.
Accessibility Subcommittee: Evaluates the accessibility of New 42’s processes and programs to foster inclusion of diverse participants, continuing the accessibility work of the organization.
EDI Learning Subcommittee: Coordinates and creates agendas for all-staff EDI meetings to include learnings, sharings, and trainings. Meets with the Executive team and other subcommittees to discuss content and scheduling.
Progress Subcommittee: Supports and tracks the work of the EDI subcommittees and works with subcommittees, Staff and Board to help define, share and report on EDI accountability, helping New 42 to progress EDI goals. Liaises on a regular basis with all committees and arranges for EDI progress reports at All Staff meetings.
EDI and Anti-Racism Areas of Focus
The work that the Board and Staff will embark on in the subcommittees comes from areas of focus that were developed through input from the entire company, including New Victory Teaching Artists and the young people in the New 42 Youth Corps program.
The areas of focus from which the subcommittee project timelines are being developed are as follows (unranked):
- Provide Anti-Racist, Implicit Bias, Anti-Oppression, and Bystander Training for all Board and Staff.
- Review and revise policies and guidelines on anti-racist practice and share those internally and externally with stakeholders.
- Change staff recruitment procedures to reach more Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) candidates and focus on hiring more BIPOC staff, especially on the senior team.
- Re-invent procurement processes and grow the number of BIPOC-led business and vendor partnerships.
- Increase the number of BIPOC artist-led shows in the New Victory season.
- Use images that accurately reflect our current audiences and constituents, particularly in marketing and fundraising campaigns.
- Establish organizational salary review processes and increase transparency across the organization.
- Increase the diversity of the Board of Directors.
- Create protocols for staff to report concerns related to equity, diversity and inclusion without repercussions.
We are making daily progress on our goals and will release a plan update co-created by the Anti-Racism Task Force of the Board of Directors and Staff in early 2021.
This is an ongoing and iterative process. If you’d like to learn more about our efforts and plans, please contact Amber Shavers, Chief of Staff in the President’s Office, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We appreciate your support of us now and always.
Russell Granet, President & CEO
Lisa Lawer Post, Chief Operating Officer
Mary Rose Lloyd, Artistic Director
Elizabeth Cashour, Vice President, Development
Lindsey Buller Maliekel, Vice President, Education & Public Engagement
Courtney J. Boddie, Vice President, Education & School Engagement
Elizabeth Hines, Vice President, Finance
Lauren Fitzgerald, Vice President, Marketing & Communications
Jessica Baker Vodoor, Vice President, Operations