NAMT’s Statement Of Commitment To Racial Equity
Our Core Values state unequivocally that NAMT is committed to a musical theatre field that includes and embraces people of all backgrounds, identities and abilities. We strive every day to nurture a musical theatre canon that reflects and celebrates the rich diversity of our nation and the world.
It is not enough.
We have added our voice to the Black Lives Matter movement, stating loudly that we are not neutral. We reject white supremacy and racism, and we support the ongoing fight for racial equality.
It is not enough.
As a service organization, we are committed not only to changing our organization, but also to evaluating and advancing the broader changes needed in the musical theatre community. We commit not only to a culture of listening and self-challenge, but also to the development and implementation of concrete anti-racist actions to help move us all forward. We as an organization cannot fulfill our mission and truly commit to our core values unless all voices are protected and elevated equally.
To that end, while recognizing that there’s more—much more—that needs to be done, we’re committing today to an ongoing process, starting with the following steps, and we want to be held accountable:
- Hiring Practices: For every advertised part-time and full-time position, we will seek a truly diverse pool of candidates. We will post job opportunities outside of the traditional theatrical boards that tend to yield predominantly white applicant pools, and actively seek out BIPOC candidates. We will eliminate degree requirements, and continue to evaluate payment practices and promotion opportunities. For interns, we will initially continue our policy of providing a stipend beginning in the second semester of service, and will add transportation reimbursement for first-semester interns. By 2022 we commit to increasing the intern compensation budget line to pay all interns a stipend from the day they start working with NAMT.
- Gatekeeping: We commit to continuing to increase the racial and ethnic diversity of our Festival Screening and Selection Committee members through policy changes including expanding who can participate on the committee. Committee membership will be published on our website. We are also assessing the entire submission and evaluation process. We will expand the endorser match program while also evaluating the endorser requirement more broadly; we will add an artist statement to the application so that the evaluation process focuses more on whether the work accomplishes the writers’ goals rather than meets the evaluators’ taste. These new steps will complement changes already implemented including the elimination of the non-member application fee and the establishment of the Director Observership program.
- Membership: We will require that all members annually confirm their commitment to NAMT’s core values. In new member recruitment, we will focus on building a more inclusive membership. We will evaluate our existing recruitment practices, dues structure and member benefits to determine how they fit into larger field-wide inequities and how to repair them. We will make events more accessible so that BIPOC staff members at member theatres are able to attend.
- Leadership: Drawing from our increasingly inclusive membership, we commit to continuing to increase the racial and ethnic diversity of our Board composition.
- Environment: We will consciously create an environment for our staff, members, artists, colleagues and community that actively works against—and has zero tolerance for—racism, harassment and discrimination in all forms. We invite feedback; if we’re heading in the wrong direction, we want to hear it. And we will listen.
- Education: We will seek outside guidance and professional development to continue anti-racism training and to build our capacity to view all of our internal and external decisions through the lens of equity, diversity, inclusion and access. We will budget funds each year both for staff training and for fuller, more consistent integration of anti-racism training into online learning and Conference agendas.
- Field Forums: We will continue to host ongoing discussions to address these topics for our members and the broader community.
- Indigenous Peoples Acknowledgement: Our office is on the original homeland of the Munsee Lenape tribal nation. NAMT acknowledges the painful history of genocide and forced removal from this territory, and we honor and respect the many diverse Indigenous peoples still connected to this land on which we and our member theatres live and work. We have added this land acknowledgment to our website and will begin incorporating land acknowledgments into all future live events, working with member theatres co-hosting those events to make this practice more visible. We will work to build relationships with Native artists and organizations.
- Vendor engagement: We will examine our current roster of vendors and actively seek out contracts with BIPOC-owned companies, committing to increased supplier diversity.
We will update these steps with specific actions and metrics. We will collect data to track our progress. We will be transparent about how we’re doing. We will constantly re-evaluate and add to our goals, and we will also evaluate who is participating in the goal-setting. We have already formed a Board committee to work with NAMT staff on further articulation of goals and the necessary steps to achieve them. We look forward, together, to creating lasting change that will build a rigorously and intentionally anti-racist organization and field.