Because Black Lives Matter

August 2020

IN SOLIDARITY

PCPA is committed to becoming an anti-racist, equitable, diverse, and inclusive institution.

Our work has just begun.

The immediate steps the PCPA EDI & A (Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility) Task Force has been taking to create meaningful change in our practices can fall into the categories below:

Organization

  • Structuring a launching of a full EDI Committee to serve an integral and lasting part of the PCPA framework.
  • Developing language and defining terms pertaining to equity, diversity, inclusion, prejudice, harassment, accessibility etc. to move forward with a clear and shared vocabulary.
  • Continuing the restructuring of the conservatory curriculum to feature a greater number of BIPOC, Female identifying, and LGBTQ+ playwrights and theatre artists.

Education
  • Programming additional and continued anti-racist staff training. To read more about the organizations we are training with, click this link www.just-communities.org Jacqueline E. Lawton Rooted Dialogue Collective (Chelsea Hanawalt and Ashleigh Bragg)
  • Promoting and prioritizing self-education, including keeping a company-wide living document of anti-racist and EDI Resources for self-education.

Examination
  • Surveying staff, students, alumnus, and audience members on EDI matters, and quantifying that data to assess the concerns of our PCPA community.
  • Actively and closely examining our company culture, including probing hiring and retention rates of BIPOC faculty and staff.
  • Closely examining our programming and practices.

Accountability
  • Updating procedures and language in our company handbook that will hold the organization accountable for addressing and eradicating racist and biased systems at PCPA.
These action items are the first steps that the EDI Task Force has initiated. As the EDI Committee is formalized there will be more recommendations and action items for the continued growth of the company in adopting anti-racist, equitable, diverse and inclusive practices, policies and procedures to create a vibrant and safe environment for all staff, students and guest artists.


Because Black Lives Matter


Because Black Lives Matter and Black Artists Matter we want to do more than raise our voices or simply profess our solidarity with the voices raised for change. We want to take action and to initiate those actions with immediacy - actions that will result in new and better policies and practices in our professional operations and modes of community service. We also want to respect that real systemic change requires that we work deeply, remaining both forceful and methodical in our commitment to long-term anti-racist actions and inclusive solutions. We are eager to remain supple, to employ discipline to soften ourselves when discomfort and even deep pain arises, rather than drawing back into retrenched modes of thinking and working. This is something that artists, and students of art, regularly practice and we want to get even better at it.

Along with our community, we feel a strong impulse to act. We are also keen to invest fully in the critical step of listening – making more space for dialogue and input from voices that have been marginalized. How we proceed, and who is involved in the conversation, will be critical to making the real, positive changes that are required and toward which we aspire. As Albert Einstein reminded us, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” Our problem with racism and white-supremacy can have overt manifestations, but we also have a history of racism as a serious but sometimes symptomless virus that silently and pervasively sickens our work and relationships.

Now, when another pandemic has made ‘business as usual’ impossible, it is the perfect time for us to question what our ‘business as usual’ has been. We don’t want to proceed with our past standards of operation without interrogating them for overt and subtle symptoms of anti-blackness, or other damaging biases toward BIPOC and other marginalized groups. A key feature of our on-going mission is to set new standards of excellent artistry, ethics, and professional practice for the future of the theatre. Now is always a good time to do such work.

This is a critical time, a great time, for listening – and for thoughtfulness about how, and to whom, we’re listening. We admire and support our colleagues and sister companies that have already developed robust action plans and articulated metrics for improvement. While we are deepening our commitment to equity and inclusion, we are currently at a place of listening, and continuing education. We’ll continue to listen, formally and informally. One of the formal ways we’ll move forward with this work is through a peer lead task force that will include staff, faculty, students and discipline specific experts, to assess organizational policies and programming on an ongoing basis, improving our perspective toward anti-racist and other equity, diversity and inclusion best practices. Then, to develop mechanisms to utilize in a measured, but continuous, improvement cycle.

As we probe into our ways of thinking and being in our work and relationships, we’ll endeavor to retain our humility, good humor and keep compassionate humanity leading the way – cultivating our personal lives and setting our hearts right.

We have a great deal of work to do.

Business Office
805 928-7731
pcpa@pcpa.org
Box Office
805 922-8313
boxoffice@pcpa.org

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