The Status of EDI&A Three Years Later

April 9, 2023—I recently was invited by John Zorn, Executive Director of Arts Reach Unlimited, to moderate a panel to discuss the current status of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Access (EDI&A) in the arts, nearly three years after the murder of George Floyd.

The panelists were Gennean Scott, Chief Diversity Officer for the Broadway League, and Durrell Cooper, Ph.D., adjunct professor at both New York University and the City College of New York, and founder of the Cultural Innovation Group, LLC, which specializes in systems change and collaborative thought leadership.

Lucas Held, Director of Communications at the Wallace Foundation, shared opening words and introduced me. The Wallace Foundation is a long-time supporter of Arts Reach, which connects arts organizations to other professionals to assist with research and provide expertise. He described the racial-reckoning as a crisis that forced everyone to not only take action, but to plan for future steps that will ensure that the arts are more diverse, inclusive, accessible, and engaged with helping communities to become more resilient.

In his introduction of me, Lucas talked about my first book, Invitation to the Party, and he reaffirmed the importance of and the impact of what has been my life’s mission: building bridges, opening doors, welcoming and creating an atmosphere of belonging in order to forge deep and impactful connections between the arts and the communities they serve. In the 18 years since that book was published, I still hold true to this essential value: The arts cross racial, ethnic, cultural, economic, and social boundaries, allowing people to transcend their differences. Access to the arts is crucial to American society’s restoration of civility, respect, and the recognition of equality of all people.

I hope you will take the time to watch the panel discussion at this YouTube link. As always, I want to know what you think. I invite you to share your comments and experiences below about the status of EDI&A since 2020.

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