What does diversity mean to TDF? It means having a diverse staff at all levels of the organization. It means diverse in myriad ways: race, culture, ability, gender identity, sexual orientation, faith, age and thought. It means having policies and practices in place that ensure an environment that does not favor one group over any other. It means a more inclusive approach to organizational strategy and programming decisions. It means a place where people can share without fear, and every individual is treated fairly and with respect.
It means all employees feel valued and have equal access to resources, and that communication from leadership is consistent and clear. It means our organization puts time and financial resources into diversifying our staff so that we reflect the constituents we serve, and no one gets left behind. It means more transparency, honesty and accountability, and no tokenism or identity erasure.
We want a workplace, community and country where everyone enjoys equal opportunities and differences are celebrated. Historically, “equality” has been mandated by a white society that hands out what it wants to share. This needs to change. To that end, TDF is committed to eradicating the inequality that exists in our organization and the American theatre industry by:
- Examining internal systems that contribute to inequity, including hiring and promotion practices. We have formed board and staff Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) groups to establish and advance inclusive values within our organization, and to define an actionable plan to embed those values into our everyday work.
- Working to undo racism and other forms of oppression in the American theatre by creating new programs with our producing partners, and acting more radically and intentionally on our belief that everyone deserves access to the performing arts.
- Expanding the reach of our programs, particularly in diversifying our audiences, and building awareness in white audience members of the pervasiveness of implicit bias and how it makes people of color feel unwelcome at the theatre.
The comprehensive list of demands that were released last summer by We See You, White American Theatre—a group of Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) theatre-makers—has been an integral part of our self-assessment. We recognize and acknowledge that these changes are long overdue, and we realize this will be an ever-evolving journey. This statement is our living document and TDF is committed to providing regular updates on our progress to hold ourselves accountable. We are excited to undertake this urgent work to transform into a stronger, healthier organization that better serves the audiences of today and tomorrow.