For sixty-five years, ACFEA has worked to provide opportunities for life-changing experiences for people around the world. Celebrating diversity and breaking down barriers is, and always has been, key to that. But we cannot work towards fostering connections without advocating for equity and inclusion for all.
The recent events surrounding racial injustice in the US have shown us all that it’s not enough simply to not be racist: We must be anti-racist. We are grateful for past, meaningful opportunities to collaborate with groups on tours focused on social justice, but we recognize there is more to be done.
The Covid-19 pandemic has put both our travel and performing arts communities in precarious positions. This has left us unable to immediately take actions which first come to mind, such as donating to communities in need and racial justice organizations, and funding diversity initiatives.
However, there are important steps currently within our means, including talking, learning, and planning for larger actions we hope to take when we can do so. We have formed a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee to research these issues and make plans.
Our primary goal is to make effective and sustainable change, and we recognize that it is needed in a variety of areas. Here are some questions we have been asking:
- How can we help non-White individuals into leadership positions in the performing arts world?
- How can we make sure the concerts we present are available to under-represented communities?
- How can we strengthen under-represented communities in our tour destinations around the world?
- How can we continue to educate ourselves about cultural appropriation in repertoire, and help guide our clients in the programs they present on tour?
- How can we ensure we are making equitable recruiting and hiring choices?
- How can we make space for our own ongoing self-review, learning, and discussion?
Finally, to our Black family members, friends, members of the travel and music communities, members of the communities in which we live and work, and those beyond: We stand with you. Your lives matter. The racial injustice you live with every day is unacceptable. We pledge to do the work to fight for a better future in which our inherent differences are part of our shared strength.