In the weeks and months ahead, and while much important and thoughtful work is taken inside our organization, we also commit to using this space to publicly share the actions we are taking in this imperative transformation.
September 10, 2020
Today we have launched a Social Accountability section of our website to start to enumerate our progress and reflect on the ongoing steps we are taking and planning. This is not an all-inclusive list; rather, it is an ongoing collection of our actions and plans shared in the spirit of transparency. This update includes the latest on our affinity work, staff workshops, our Board of Directors Committee progress, and our commitment to sustained budgeting for future equity, diversity, inclusion, access, and anti-racism work.
Since we posted our Commitments to Change, we have been working at the board and staff level to create structures and working groups to carry these efforts forward. Here is a report on some of that progress:
- Our Board of Directors’ Leadership voted in favor of creating a dedicated budget item for equity, diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism, which represents a significant increase over the past several seasons. This is intended to be a standing and sustaining budget item that can support both education and training as well as the staffing of this critical work.
- We are in the process of expanding our artistic team so that it is more diverse and provides the positional power to voices and experiences that are necessary for Center Theatre Group’s future viability. We are waiting for the final details to settle and will announce these changes soon.
- In June, our Board of Directors voted to create a standing committee dedicated to equity, diversity, inclusion, access, and anti-racism. The committee launched this summer and has set its goals for the season to 1) revise the Board’s workplan and goals to include measurable and actionable steps in diversifying its membership and moving towards being an anti-racist organization and 2) create an education and learning plan for the Board, starting with anti-racist training this fall.
- This summer, we launched two ongoing, facilitated staff affinity spaces—a space for BIPOC healing and activation and a white learning space. These are intentional spaces that set the foundation for collective and growing work of accountability and change.
- We have launched a three-part staff workshop series. This started with “Building A Practice of Change,” a workshop that centers on our BIPOC staff and the Statement and call-to-action they shared with Center Theatre Group earlier this summer. This will be followed by a two-part staff restorative forum. We take inspiration from the words of bell hooks: “The ability to critique oneself and change and to hear critique from others is the condition of being that makes us capable of responsibility.” We are joined and guided in this work by a group of national facilitators: Miranda Gonzalez, Jenny Marlowe, Sam Morreale, Elizabeth Nungaray, and led by Alexandra Meda.
- Later this month we will welcome Keryl McCord of Equity Quotient to lead us in the workshop “Raising Your Equity Quotient.” This will provide a working and learning session to wrap up our staff forums and intentionally leads towards a launch of internal accountability working groups.
- Concurrently, we are assessing and breaking down the We See You White American Theatre demands within our Leadership Team and in specific working groups. Many of our recent actions have been in direct response to both these demands as well as those written by our BIPOC staff. We look forward to sharing out additional action steps from that work in this space over the coming weeks.
We know we must take ownership of past failures and act quickly and meaningfully to repair the damage. It is our responsibility, our duty, our honor, to work together to address where we’ve been, where we are now, and where we are going, so that we can build a new, more equitable community.
— Michael Ritchie, Artistic Director & Meghan Pressman, CEO/Managing Director