Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Access
Affirmations & Acknowledgements
The principles of equity, diversity, inclusion and access are not only essential to Porchlight’s future vitality, relevance and sustainability, they are critical to creating a more just and accessible industry and a better society.
Porchlight values its audiences, artists, technicians, staff, board, donors, community partners, teachers, students and volunteers, and the uniqueness each brings to the tapestry of our art. We treat one another fairly and honor each other’s experiences, beliefs, perspectives, abilities and backgrounds, regardless of race, religion, language, immigration status, sexual orientation, gender identification, ability status, socio-economic status, national identity or other identity markers.
Porchlight recognizes the history of oppression and injustice that has resulted in ongoing disparities for those who were brought here against their will or migrated from their homeland, as well as for those who have lived on this land for centuries. Truth and acknowledgment are critical in building mutual respect and authentic connections across all barriers of heritage and difference. This statement is one small step in acknowledging the history that brought us to this place and time, and to help us seek understanding of our place within that history:
“With humility and respect for the original caretakers of the land, we recognize that, at its performance home at The Ruth Page Center for the Arts, Porchlight Music Theatre inhabits the land of the Council of the Three Fires: the Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi Nations, and many other tribes such as the Miami, Ho-Chunk, Menominee, Sac, and Fox who also call this land their home. We honor the sacred lands of all indigenous American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and First Nations peoples, and we humbly strive to create authentic collaborations that make space for and give voice to their rich culture and traditions.”
Porchlight is committed to aligning our values to our business practices. We are conscious of the need to promote diversity within our staff, board, performers, musicians, creative teams, production teams and audiences, as well as to ensure fairness, justice, and inclusivity in the way we honor our mission. We recognize this evolution is an ongoing process, and we invite you to read on to learn about our goals, follow our progress and discover ways to learn more and get involved.
Our EDI Work
We understand that real, lasting change will not come until each and every one of us steps up, assumes responsibility, and takes action. We recognize our responsibility to make Porchlight a place where BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) artists, audiences, colleagues and beyond feel welcome, involved, supported and heard, and to use our platform and privilege to reflect and implement change.
- The staff and board have engaged in equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism training, specific to our industry.
- We completed a comprehensive audit of each program area’s materials, policies and procedures.
- Based on that audit and in further considering ways we can be a more equitable and inclusive company, we created action plan that addressed immediate internal changes as well as future goals that inform our strategic planning.
- We have formed an EDI Advisory Committee, composed of diverse representatives from our artistic, educational, patron and funding communities, along with staff and board liaisons, to inform our work and hold us accountable for outcomes.
Definitions & Explanations
Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Access – There are many acronyms, but the foundation of our EDI work encompasses these principles:
Equity: The fair and just treatment of all members of our community. Equity requires commitment to strategic priorities, resources, respect, and civility, as well as ongoing action and assessment of progress toward achieving specified goals.
Diversity: Acknowledging and respecting human qualities that are different from our own and outside the groups we are a part of or with which we are associated. These qualities include but are not limited to: ethnicity, race, color, country of origin, sex, gender, gender identity or expression, age, sexual or relationship orientation, family structure, religion, beliefs, political affiliations, experiences and ability differences.
Inclusion: The intentional, ongoing effort to ensure that diverse individuals fully participate in all aspects of organizational work, including decision-making processes. It also refers to the ways that diverse participants are valued as respected members of an organization and/or community.
Access: Giving equitable access to everyone along the continuum of human ability and experience. Accessibility encompasses the broader meanings of compliance and refers to how organizations make space for the characteristics that each person brings.
Check out this full glossary of EDI terms from DiversityBestPractices.com.
Gender Identity & Personal Pronouns – Learn more about why Porchlight and other companies around the globe are including personal pronouns wherever possible, including in introductions, contact sheets, email signatures, and more.
Check out Gender Identity for Beginners from Amnesty International UK.
Check out this Personal Pronoun Guide from GLSEN.
The resources and organizations listed are a small collection of possible sources for information and support. If you would like Porchlight to consider adding additional resources or organizations, please send an email to info@PorchlightMusicTheatre.org.
Please consider purchasing books from Semicolon Bookstore, Chicago’s only black woman-owned bookstore and gallery!
Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson
For Young Readers:
Anti-Racism Videos & Articles
Anti-Racism Places to Support
Indigenous Community Organizations