Centering Black Women: Aligned Actions Worksheet
In connection with Rebuild, Reconcile, Reimagine: A List of Demands for Centering Black Women’s Leadership in Arts Education
The tool is aimed at key stakeholders (board, administrative and teaching staff members, participants) at organizations to help determine the extent to which they are centering, acknowledging, and supporting Black women, especially in leadership positions. Knowing that each organization is at different stages, this document is not meant to be prescriptive. We hope for a collaborative process within organizations to help define actionable steps, shift culture, and provide an equitable space for Black women, which, in turn, would model the kind of world we want to create with all our stakeholders. This is an iterative process, knowing that this work takes time but also needs to get started.
This worksheet is organized in 3 parts. Transparency is part and parcel of this process and must be considered at every step. The worksheet’s hyperlinked resources do not indicate endorsement, but rather a starting place for research that individuals and organizations might use.
Why Black Women?
Black women have shouldered and performed inordinate amounts of labor–emotional and otherwise–in service to the arts education field in New York City. Despite 10+ years of rhetorical dedication to equity, diversity, and inclusion at large, Black women have been shut out of leadership positions (Race to Lead), and excluded from power shifts (Nonprofit Quarterly) that have occurred within the cultural sector. Under the umbrella term “BIPOC” (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), Black women are too often left “holding the handle” and kept in positions that require them to labor on behalf of others. In addition, there is a perceived “Black ceiling” that exists for Black women seeking Leadership roles. Black women live and work at the intersection of the Racial Wealth Gap (Brookings), and the Gender Pay Gap (AAUW).
This tool has been designed in conjunction with the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable’s support of a campaign centering Black women and demanding an intentional rethinking of infrastructure, mission, core values, and the degree to which Black women are organizationally centered. Click the link for more campaign information: Rebuild, Reconcile, Reimagine: Centering Black Women’s Leadership in Arts Education
Listen to Black Women
This tool by itself does not achieve justice or equity. This tool is neither a magic pill nor the only way. This tool will not neatly package all methods of redress for all Black women. Finally, this tool does not excuse complicity and perpetual harm caused by white-led and BIPOC-led organizations. However, with thoughtfulness and care, humility and dedication, this tool can help illuminate an organizational path forward. Considerations to keep in mind:
- Size of your organization; Multiple perspectives and diversity of experiences brought by Black women
The Roundtable wishes to acknowledge the volunteers who worked tirelessly to support the creation of this document:
Coalition of Black Cultural Workers who wrote the List of Demands
The NYCAIE Roundtable Task Force for Equity and Inclusion
The NYCAIE Roundtable Advocacy Committee, including sub-committee members David King, Katie Palmer, and Rachel Watts who led the effort to complete this document.