Commitment to Racial Equity & Justice

This page was last edited on May 24, 2021. It will be updated regularly to reflect Gibney’s current priorities and actions related to racial equity and justice.

Gibney is committed to diversity and anti-racism. We have a critical and urgent responsibility to help combat systemic racism by:

… distributing power equitably within the organization as a force for sustainable, positive change.

  • Launched a Multiracial Staff Group (MSG), with paid participation for staff advisors and facilitators, to serve as a key information center with a focus on advocacy and policy change, synthesizing community input to leadership, and assisting in the creation of larger institution-wide anti-racism shifts within Gibney
  • Developed the Executive Leadership Team—which includes Nigel Campbell, Gina Gibney, Shane Jewell, Yasemin Özümerzifon, Jenny Thompson, Eva Yaa Asantewaa, and Alexandra Wells—to make space for greater power-sharing and expansive leadership
  • Established increased connections between Board and all levels of Staff: 
    • Board Chair regularly attends Executive Leadership Team, Directors, and All Staff meetings
    • Monthly Board newsletter is distributed to all Staff
    • Board and Staff lunches occur bimonthly
    • Quarterly Board meetings include staff presence

… engaging in ongoing education and dialogue, recognizing that we must understand past wrongs and continuously learn and adapt.

  • Implemented, and continued to implement racial equity and anti-racism trainings with a range of consultants and experts  
  • Engaged Dr. Shelton J. Goode to help implement Board-specific racial equity and anti-racism work
  • Continued ongoing one-on-one racial equity and anti-racism trainings with Equity Quotient for CEO
  • Continued the Decentering Whiteness Working Group to expand the anti-racism education of white-identifying staff, including CEO, under the leadership of a staff steering committee

… advancing opportunities and access for the racially and culturally diverse artists, employees, community members, and partners we serve. 

  • Launched Black Diaspora, a pilot program directly addressing the needs of emerging Black-identifying artists, created and led by Eva Yaa Asantewaa
  • Increased the racial diversity of Gibney teachers and the diversity of genres across the training class roster to create a more welcoming environment for BIPOC dancers, teachers, students, and community members
  • Secured funding for a studio space giveaway for four self-identified emerging BIPOC artists

… refining organizational practices, policies, and culture to drive inclusion, diversity, equity, and access.

  • Launched an Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA) Taskforce on the Board’s Governance Committee
  • Incorporated Gibney’s Commitment to Racial Equity & Justice revised Employee Handbook, rental agreements, and all other agreements with external parties
  • Updated Gibney’s Code of Conduct with explicit anti-racist expectations
  • Expanded Gibney’s in-school Hands are for Holding curriculum and content through a racial equity lens that addresses the larger structural powers at play as well as the intersection of race and gender-based violence

…establishing fair protocols and practices that address power dynamics and the role they play in the interactions between artists and institutions.

  • Established required internal protocols for negotiating and executing artist agreements through a staff-led Promise Matrix Committee
  • Completed a comprehensive review process of all contracts and terms, including the addition of an appendix to transparently clarify legal language
  • Instituted a per class fee guarantee for all faculty within the Training department, regardless of class headcount, to reduce risk assumed by teachers

… partnering with and providing material resources to organizations and initiatives that are actively working toward racial equity and justice.

We are accountable to ourselves and our communities to uphold these important commitments and to building an inclusive, diverse, equitable, and accessible cultural sector.