Our Commitment to Anti-Racism

July 1, 2020

Dear City Center Community,

At the end of May, we at City Center expressed our outrage and pledged solidarity with the Black community following the murder of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and so many others. We know that solidarity, while important, is not nearly enough.

Over the last month, we have listened to and learned from Black members of our community so that we could continue our work toward being an organization that is fully committed to upholding and embodying the foundational values of equity and social justice. We recognize that this will be a path of continual evolution, and that we will make periodic stops along the way for moments of reflection and recalibration. Today, we share Our Commitment to Anti-Racism publicly with you in order to begin that journey.

All of us at City Center are dedicated to making these actions a seamless part of our culture and to expanding our efforts to make this institution a welcoming and anti-racist environment for staff, audiences, and artists. Thank you for your continued support and confidence as we work to advance real and lasting change within our organization and in our industry.

Warmly,

Arlene Shuler
President & CEO

Our Commitment to Anti-Racism

We at New York City Center are committed to being an anti-racist organization. We will expand the depth and breadth of opportunities for our Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) staff, artists, and community members. This commitment is ongoing and represents our desire to cultivate an organizational culture that encourages anti-racism, equity, and belonging throughout the entire City Center community. We devote ourselves to doing this work so that it is woven into the fabric of who we are and what we do—setting higher standards for how we conduct ourselves and our business every day.

We commit to develop and act on short- and long-term initiatives that progressively move us forward. We acknowledge that is just the beginning of our journey. We will add more specific measurable goals as we listen to and learn from our entire City Center community. We will share a timeline for the initiatives internally.

As an organization, New York City Center will:

Conduct internal and external listening and learning sessions to recognize the challenges faced by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in society while we identify and reject white privilege in all its forms throughout our organization and industry. To support ongoing learning, we will develop and implement an organizational learning plan to increase our knowledge and awareness.

  • The learning plan will provide initial and ongoing training (upon hire and annually) to employees as well as board members on an annual basis. The training sessions will include the following topics: anti-racism, allyship, implicit bias, micro/macro aggression, equity, and inclusivity.
  • The learning plan will detail how new hires are introduced to our commitment within their first 30 days of employment.
  • We have created a staff resource document of materials for further education. We will add a professional development reimbursement to our benefit package for full-time administrative staff to support and encourage ongoing learning.
  • We will use engagement activities (book clubs, lunch and learns, etc.) to promote learning by hosting four activities per year.
  • The annual learning plan will be shared with staff and board at the start of each calendar year.

Cultivate a workplace culture that is dedicated to anti-racism and equitable employment practices, while fostering an environment of belonging.

  • We will examine our employment policies and artist contracts and update them where necessary to incorporate the spirit and intentions of our commitment to anti-racism. We will continue to uphold our respect-in-the-workplace standards, which includes a reporting and investigation process for all forms of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and bullying.
  • The employee handbook and DEI plan will be enhanced in light of these priorities. We will distribute both documents to employees annually in the first quarter of each fiscal year. All employees will be asked to renew their commitment to complying with our policies, particularly around anti-discrimination and harassment.
  • By articulating cultural values that align with our mission, we will ask all employees and artists to demonstrate a personal commitment to being anti-racist while supporting an equitable and inclusive workplace culture.
  • We will explore ways in which we can provide increased opportunities of access and growth for BIPOC employees including the development of a mentorship program to launch in January of 2022 or sooner if possible.
  • When hiring new staff and apprentices, we will expand our existing efforts to use recruiting techniques that attract a diverse pool of applicants. As part of our ongoing learning plan, hiring managers will continue to receive implicit bias training annually.
  • The Board of Directors will continue to use the established nominating process to identify new members who enrich the board in a variety of ways, with a focus on increasing the BIPOC representation of our board.
  • We will honor Juneteenth (June 19) as an official holiday for administrative staff.

Form a council led by BIPOC employees to partner with and advise the senior leadership team.

  • The council will be formed by the end of September 2020. This council will continually monitor and provide recommendations to senior leadership on New York City Center’s progress toward our commitment to anti-racism.
  • The work asked of the council will be done during normal business hours. Council members will be asked to serve a one-year term and will meet monthly.

Integrate BIPOC voices in programming and curatorial decisions.

  • By working alongside and compensating BIPOC artists, curators, advisors, and consultants to participate in the decision-making process, we will broaden the thinking behind our public-facing activity by engaging professionals who bring a wide range of perspectives and experiences to the discussion.