FARMERS ALLEY STATEMENT regarding Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

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Jul 2, 2020 |

A message from Farmers Alley Theatre to the Kalamazoo Arts Community and beyond:

First, we want to thank our friends and colleagues for bringing the important issues of organizational diversity, equality, inclusion, and equity to the public - especially as it pertains to our own arts community.  While the theatre cares deeply about diversity, equality, inclusion, and equity, we have unconsciously perpetuated a system of racism by not pursuing an equitable representation of black and brown artists in our talent pool.

As stated during an important episode of Koch Korner with Jeremy Koch, LINK HERE, Farmers Alley Theatre recognizes its responsibility for its role in the lack of diversity within our arts community. We emphatically believe that Black Lives Matter and are committed to doing better - being better. The founders of Farmers Alley Theatre, along with its leadership and Board of Directors, have had numerous honest conversations discussing the organization and its commitment to changing the narrative of systemic racism in our society. The Board of Directors have given their support for the theatre to pursue changes to the organization’s policies and practices to incorporate accountability measures to ensure the equitable hiring of black and brown artists.

The Farmers Alley Theatre organization acknowledges the fact that the white privilege of its founders has led to an unconscious bias resulting in feelings of exclusion by the BIPOC & POC communities and acknowledges its role in perpetuating a system of institutional and systemic racism.

The Farmers Alley Theatre organization acknowledges that we have substantial work to do in regards to the following:

  • Have an equitable representation of BIPOC & POC members of the Kalamazoo community on our Board of Directors.
  • Hire an equitable number of BIPOC & POC directors and designers.
  • Produce enough plays and musicals that are written by BIPOC & POC authors or productions that tell BIPOC & POC stories.
  • Hire an equitable number of BIPOC & POC actors, musicians, dancers, choreographers, and other performers.
  • Create a culture within our organization that is safe for all people.

The Farmers Alley Theatre organization will immediately take the following actionable steps to improve:

  • Form an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Advisory Committee to guide the organization and hold the organization accountable.
  • Engage a Diversity and Inclusion Director to lead our committed actions.
  • Invite feedback from anyone concerned.
  • Make decisions going forward using an anti-racist lens.
  • Further actions will be forthcoming and shared with the public.

Farmers Alley Theatre pledges to do better and to work to dismantle white supremacy, systemic & institutional racism in our society. We pledge to seek out and to nurture partnerships that will add to the richness and beauty of our community. We pledge to listen with new ears and open minds.  We can always be reached for communication at [email protected]