Chester Theatre Company’s Commitment to Anti-Racism
At Chester Theatre Company, our commitment to inclusion and diverse storytelling is written into the fabric and mission of our organization. We also recognize and acknowledge that as a historically white organization, and with American theatre being a predominantly white institution, we have a responsibility to be aware of and rectify the ways we have unintentionally uphold oppressive systems.
With more recently heightened crime and violence against the Black, Asian, Latinx and Indigenous community, as well as hatred and violence shown towards the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) community as a whole, we know we must not stay silent, and should be at the forefront of these conversations.
In order to hold true to our mission as well as showcase our dedication and commitment to being an anti-racist organization, we believe the following must take place in order to help us move in the right direction:
The immediate diversification of our Board of Directors. We know many issues that lead to bias and racism stem from the intentional and unintentional underrepresentation of BIPOC members in leadership within an organization. We are highly committed to diversifying our Board of Directors and have worked to include two new highly qualified Board Members who identify with the BIPOC community.
The immediate adoption of a Committee for Inclusion and Community Engagement. This committee will work to ensure we are embedding the concepts of diversity, inclusion, equity, community and social justice into all decision making within our organization. This includes new partnerships, programs and initiatives that benefit our local community and region.
Routine trainings for Staff and Board Members. Annually, the Board and Staff will participate in trainings related to recognizing and mitigating bias, emotional intelligence, anti-racism, upstander intervention and additional relevant topics that are recommended by our Committee for Inclusion and Community Engagement. These annual trainings will be mandatory and participatory as an essential component of our work.
Ongoing reviews of our hiring and recruitment practices. We will embark on a thorough review of our hiring and recruitment practices to ensure the language we are using is inclusive and broadly advertised. We want to see change in our organization, so we recognize this is an important process and step forward. We will consult with our Committee for Inclusion and Community Engagement for continued best practices in this area.
We are deeply saddened by the horrors we see in the news and media and are angered and hurt that these are the lived experiences of the BIPOC community. We know our commitment to anti-racism is only a small start, but our hope is that, collectively, the change we are able to make in theatre will advance us toward a more just society.