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YALA's Plan of Action to Promote Racial Equity

Published: June 19, 2020

Black Lives Matter. Black Futures Matter. The Board of Directors and Staff at Young Audiences of Louisiana is appalled at the recent violence committed against Black Americans at the hands of those who are paid to protect us. Sadly this violence, and the racism and systemic oppression that fuels it, spans generations. Making this statement, however, is not enough. As citizens, we all have the tremendous responsibility to be part of the solution. As artists and educators, we have the platform to do it.

Our commitment to promoting racial equity is an ongoing process, so action steps will continue to be added. For starters, we have committed to the following:

1. We respect voices of artists of color and will make space for them to lead initiatives that promote and reflect the richness of our community. We are in the first stages of two such projects:

FROM THE GROUND UP: A Transformative Change Initiative To create and cultivate resources for and commit with intention to artists of color in the New Orleans and greater Louisiana community in an effort to ensure the work we do in education accurately reflects the culture and lived experiences of the schools, students and educators whom we serve.These actions and efforts are to reconcile and diffuse historical inadequacies in serving artists of color on the part of Young Audiences of Louisiana. In doing so, this initiative calls for a commitment from Young Audiences of Louisiana to artists of color who have completed the mentoring process to be given first consideration for career opportunities which would include but are not limited to open salaried positions as well as positions made available when programs are funded.

TEACHING ARTIST TALKS: An ongoing social media campaign that provides an opportunity for teaching artists to share their experiences and thoughts on topics of social importance. For example, in our first series, artists will share how current protests are impacting them as well as positive coping strategies.

2. We will continually examine our practice as educators by educating ourselves on the experiences of Black lives in America and how that informs and impacts the education of our children. One way we plan to do so is to invite our staff to read and pull lessons from the book Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom, by Bell Hooks, acclaimed intellectual, feminist theorist, cultural critic, artist, and writer.

3. We will convene monthly to ensure that artists and educators of color have the opportunity to steer the conversations that outline our efforts to promote lasting and positive change.


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