Access Initiatives Access initiatives identify and address barriers to participation enchanted by underrepresented populations, including cost, transportation, accessibility, language, and lack of invitation or welcome.

ADA — The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law in 1990. The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.

Allyship — Allyship is when an individual speaks out and advocates on behalf of a person or group that is discriminated against. Allyship works to interrupt and end oppression by supporting and advocating for people who are stigmatized, discriminated against or treated unfairly either proactively, reactively, or both. (Adapted from text prepared by GLSEN)

Allyship is supposed to be about you doing the following things:

  1. Listening (and not talking)
  2. Educating yourself
  3. When it’s time to talk, not talking over the people you claim to be in solidarity with
  4. Accepting feedback/criticism about your “allyship,” and recognizing when your behavior may be causing harm.
  5. Listening
  6. Supporting groups, projects, organization etc. run by and for marginalized people
  7. Being conscious about not expecting people to perform additional labor on your behalf to help you become a better ally.  (Adapted from Mia McKenzie, “No More Allies”)

Color-blind racism — A contemporary racial ideology that holds the belief that people, institutions, and policy makers should try to ignore race in order to claim a desire to treat all persons equally. However, by ignoring the existence of race, racism, and oppression, this ideology perpetuates contemporary racial oppression. Color-blindness uses a set of ideas, phrases, and stories to discount racial oppression. Furthermore, color-blindness plays on the myth that the social realities of race and racism have all but disappeared as a factor shaping the life chances of all Americans (Adapted from text prepared by BonillaSilva).

Community data — Various kinds of numerical or research-based data about your community. Examples include census reports, school district reports on free and reduced lunch eligibility, community foundation or government agency reports. Each community may have multiple data sources for demographic information. It is rare to find a single-data set with the complexity and reliability needed. Often times data lacks demographics reflecting differences by age, demographics reflecting intersectional identities, data not collected, or related to protected status (i.e. sexual orientation, gender identity, disabilities).

Co-programming  Co-programming goes beyond partnership or co-presentation to reflect a shared curatorial relationship in which institutional resources and program decision-making power are shared and valued, equally or equitably.

Cultural Demographic Shift — What happens when large cultural segments of the population reach numbers sufficient to have a significant effect on what we do and how we act. Responding to the Cultural Demographic Shift means seeing people as individuals, and designing systems to make sure those individuals are included at every level. (Adapted from text prepared by Glen Llopis)

Diversity – Diversity often describes the extent to which an organization has people from diverse backgrounds represented throughout.  It recognizes individual differences. These differences can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, age, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, physical abilities, nationality, language, religious beliefs, and socioeconomic background and other areas of identity. (Adapted from text prepared by Carmen Morgan, ArtEquity, for the American for the Arts Statement on Cultural Equity)

Please note, a person cannot be diverse only a group can. An individual may bring diversity to a team, but describing someone as a “diverse candidate,”  is often a euphemism for their identity (woman of color, part of the LGBTQ community, a person with a disability, etc.).

Dominant culture  — This term refers to the established language, religion, values, rituals, and social customs on which the society was built. Dominant culture is the culture that has the most power, is widespread, and is the most influential within a social entity, such as an organization, in which multiple cultures are present. An organization’s dominant culture is heavily influenced by the preferences of leadership and associated management standards and practices. Often times, dominant workplace cultures don’t embrace racial diversity beyond representation. Some organizations might promote assimilation over integration, resulting in a missed opportunity to incorporate other cultures and to create a more inclusive, equitable environment. (Adapted from text from AWAKE to WOKE TO WORK: Building a Race Equity Culture.)

Equity — Equity recognizes that “equal resources, opportunities, and treatment” are not enough within oppressive systems that structurally benefit some and disenfranchise others. Equity gives people what they need to be successful while equality treats everyone the same. Equitable practices address systemic obstacles not individual differences.

“Diversity is ‘count the people’. Inclusion is ‘the people count’. Equity is ‘the outcomes count.’” — Beth Zemsky

“Diversity is being asked to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.”— Verna Myers

Equity-based partnerships —  Equity-based partnerships recognize historical disparities in resources and power between partners and adapt systems, protocols, practices, and policies in response to partners’ assets and needs.

General Operating Budget— General Operating Budget refers to the annual expenses and income projected for a fiscal year. This budget is used to accomplish an organization’s mission and agenda. Line items in the General Operating budget are regarded as essential and ongoing. In this case, we are distinguishing operating funds from “special project” funds, which may be occasional, reflecting a trend, often grant-dependent and not considered necessary or ongoing.

Inclusion — Inclusion engages each individual and makes people feel valued and essential to the success of the organization. It authentically brings the perspectives and contributions of all people to the table, equitably distributes power, and incorporates their needs, assets, and perspectives into the design and implementation of processes, policies, activities, and decision ­making. It’s a culture shift, a step in a longer journey toward anti-­oppression, equity, and justice. (Adapted from text prepared by Baltimore Racial Justice Action).

Mutual benefits — Mutual benefits occur when a relationship is valuable to both parties and interests are served on both sides. For example, a community partner without a program space and projection facilities may be interested in a cinema event that serves their social or cultural mission including free or reduced tickets for special guests and low-income invitees. A cinema looking to gain new audiences may need new connections and visibility within a community, new programming opportunities, and ticket revenue.  A co-presentation would create mutual benefit. Naming the mutual benefits may build trust and the foundation for a continuing relationship.

“not about us without us”— A slogan associated with the disability rights movement that says policies, decisions, assessments should not be decided without the participation of members of the group affected. It is a principle with universal application, meaning that a dominant culture group or individual is not qualified to make policy or assumptions about a marginalized group.

Systemic disparities Refers to a bundling of multi-dimensional disparities (outcomes related to income, education, employment, political power, criminal justice, health that differ between populations) derived from historic and present day systems (i.e. institutional racism) that create and enforce structural inequalities.

Saviorism — Savourism occurs when people who benefit from privilege try to ‘help’ those in underserved communities while failing to understand how their privilege may have a negative impact on those they are serving. Saviorism is fueled by existing structures of privilege and established hierarchies relating to race, socioeconomic class, sex, gender and educational lines, and it reinforces oppressive power dynamics.

Underrepresented audiences — An intentionally relative term, that relates to specific populations within any specific community. Who is underrepresented in your audience relative to your community demographics? Asking this question should help identify potential audiences you could reach in your community who are experiencing real or perceived barriers to participating in your program.

Welcome – A welcoming environment feels safe. It is a space where people can find themselves represented and reflected, and where they understand that all people are treated with respect and dignity. This happens when services consider, and are equitable and accessible, to all members of the community, including clients, staff, and volunteers. Service users and staff must be able to look around their physical environment and see positive and inclusive symbols, images, and artwork. Service users and staff must be able to hear positive and inclusive language and be comfortable using positive and inclusive language. Accessible and supportive processes are available that allow people to raise issues and concerns, and to feel that they have been acknowledged, and that there will be follow-up. ” (Adapted from text from “Creating a Welcoming Environment” by The 519)

Prepared by the Alliance for Action in collaboration with Art House Convergence.