Our Anti-Racism Work
transparency + accountability
March 2021 Update
We have completed our third out of four planned anti-racism internal assessments with current and past collaborators. Those outcomes may be found here. We are also finalizing our reporting mechanisms and will be sharing our anti-harrassment policies later this spring.
December 2020 Update
In December we met an important milestone.
We began a series of working sessions to identify policies & best practices, with a focus on harm reduction, prevention and repair. The working sessions were planned by Melissa Moschitto & Mariah Freda pro-bono, drawing on the aforementioned training and resources. With a limited budget, we chose to direct all financial resources towards paying participants an hourly rate for their time, rather than allocate all funds to a sole facilitator. (One volunteer and leadership staff were not paid). Participants included past and present staff and collaborators and were comprised of actors, dramaturgs, producers, designers, directors, writers and administrators. More than 50% of the participants were people of color. You may read the outcomes of these conversations here.
November 2020 Update
Our company recently completed the Joy Jackson Initiative Assessment. This work, along with the Anti-Racist Theatre Training (Nicole Brewer) and Race Forward's Building Racial Equity training, have allowed us to start envisioning a clearer path toward becoming an actively anti-racist organization. Other tools that we will be using include the Chicago Theatre Standards.
Our primary focus is on harm reduction, prevention and repair. This work has highlighted the need for (listed in no specific order):
fully and clearly articulating our anti-racist values as a company
formalizing our written policies regarding anti-racism, updating codes of conduct, casting/hiring policies
continuing to find ways to offer anti-racism training to company members, and in the future, creative & producing staff
finding a safe mechanism for reporting & feedback
developing an action plan for accountability around misconduct
Next Steps: we have identified a series of small-group sessions that will focus on identifying and implementing policies & best practices in the following areas: performers, creative team, new work development, organizational culture & leadership, audience/community.
In 2008, we founded this theatre company with the desire to uncover hidden stories and unheard voices. Our first full length play was inspired by the riots that took place in the Lower East Side in 1917. The work that has followed has been dedicated to revealing injustices and inequity.
In 2016, we created a play that planted the seeds of anti-racism in our work and in our personal lives. While it has influenced the artistic and organizing work of the following years, we still have much work to do.
In 2020, we recommit ourselves to becoming an anti-racist organization and being active allies to the Black community. View statement.
OUR COMMITMENTS (June 2020)
We will seek out resources to strengthen and articulate our company’s anti-racist policies.
We will make anti-racist training available to company members.
We will continue to empower, uplift and hire artists of color.
Artistic Director Melissa Moschitto & Artistic Associate Mariah Freda took the PISAB Undoing Racism workshop.
Programming Series for No Man's Land, "Reframe Your Reference," a series of post-show conversations investigating privilege & systemic racism in the United States today.
- Becoming Woke: Recognizing White Complicity
- Inclusion in the Arts: How Ethnicity Impacts Storytelling
Hosted an Emergency Artist Response session after the Charlottesville protests. Space provided by Artists Co-Op.
We facilitated a Justice in June group (specifically for white company members & community members) to educate ourselves about white supremacy and build on our anti-racism tools.
June: Melissa, Mariah & Irina attended an Anti-Racist Listening session with Tiffany Rachelle Stewart, thanks to Benvenuti Arts. We also began to assess our working practices for the characteristics of white supremacy culture.
July: Anonymous survey of past collaborators of color to assess racial impact.
August-Sept: Melissa, Mariah, Marissa & China attended the Anti-Racist Theatre workshop hosted by Nicole Brewer.
October: We completed the Joy Jackson Initiative Organizational Assessment designed to assess and analyze racial inequity at an organizational level.
We will host a series of policy & best practices conversations that will include and pay artists of color.