By Cheyanne Jeffries, Cleveland Foundation Public Service Fellow
As Cuyahoga Arts & Culture continues its work towards racial equity, we have found a variety of resources and tools for our grant recipients to continue their work and commitment to equity, as well. One of the resources we are using here at CAC and would like to share comes to us from Nayantara Sen and Terry Keleher of Race Forward. Creating Cultures & Practices for Racial Equity contains a variety of tools to help artists, arts organizations, and cultural workers to design, create and implement plans for racial equity in arts organizations and creative spaces.
The main idea of the toolkit is that arts and cultural institutions are the cornerstones of a national culture. They generate, amplify, and reproduce stories and narratives about who belongs and who is valued. Thus, arts and cultural institutions MUST refocus their efforts on racial and cultural justice.
The toolkit begins with an outline of how best to use the resource and offers tools and primes accordingly. Further, the overall design of the toolkit has artists and creatives in mind. It was designed by artists and features stunning, colorful, and engaging text and images. We recommend organizations go step by step and decide which step their organization might be at in their racial equity journey. The toolkit is separated into four steps:
- Aiming for racial equity outcomes and impact. This includes completing an assessment on organization equity impacts and outcomes. It allows organizations to envision what racial equity could look like in their organization.
- Use choice points to counteract racial inequities. This gives organizations the opportunity to identify specific decision making where a race lens could be applied.
- Use equity primes. The toolkit offers a poster to remind organizations to consider racial equity in everything and also offers a case study of how race is being applied in arts organization in New York.
- Use a racial equity tool to generate creative strategies and tactics. This includes a multipurpose racial equity tool to design events, develop programming and begin the process of turning your values into strategies of racial equity.
Lastly, there are a number of recommended readings and resources offered in the appendix that organizations should take the time to read and review to improve their own educational understanding and knowledge as an organization.
Using this racial equity tool helps organizations assess, plan and create new and innovative ways to continue and push forward racial equity work in arts organizations. We hope you will find it as useful as we do.
You can view other racial equity resources here.