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Young woman performing at Elevated Thought gallery

Racial Equity Work

FAQs about the Racial Equity Plan

Why does Mass Cultural Council have a Racial Equity Plan? And why is the Agency focusing on racial equity?
One of the goals of the Agency’s 2017-2022 Strategic Plan is advancing inclusion and equity to align with the Governor’s Executive Order No. 592. The purpose of our Racial Equity Plan is to strengthen and expand that effort to provide racially equitable investment in the cultural sector.

The Agency is focusing on racial equity specifically because this work will help develop the framework to build a suite of subsequent plans that provide space to specifically name and address other intersectional justice needs, such as disability justice and gender equality.

How is the Agency defining the key terms used in racial equity work?
While preparing our plan, we used the following as points of reference:

How will this plan affect my current and future grants? 
The Agency’s FY22 Spending Plan was approved by the governing Council in August 2021, so FY22 programs and services are set and will not be changed.

During FY22 the Agency will review its programs and services to promote racial equity in the future disbursement of its resources across the sector. The goal is to spread our financial and technical assistance to parts of the cultural sector which have been historically excluded from funding and expertise for far too long. This effort will be accompanied by a robust advocacy campaign with the support of the sector to make sure that our resources and budget allow us to promote inclusion without practicing exclusion ourselves.

Will I lose funding if I’m not a diverse organization or a BIPOC artist? 
No. Mass Cultural Council is working to extend our support to organizations, individuals, and communities in the cultural sector that have been systemically excluded. We are trying to meet our mandate as a state agency to reach all stakeholders, and this plan is a roadmap for us to ensure that when we design programs and services, we are making them as accessible and equitable as possible. This effort will be supported by a robust advocacy campaign and the collection of new data and stories, in order to make sure our funders – primarily the state Legislature – understand the unmet needs of the sector.

Is there funding, or other resources, to support racial equity planning in my organization and/or community?
Our Race Equity Plan includes action steps over the next three years to create base-level anti-racism/racial equity trainings, a cultural equity diagnostic tool, and capacity building grants, as well as establishing resources and new practices for organizations looking to create their own action plans.

Although these offerings are still in development at this time, our plan lists several resources that were used in the Agency’s racial equity work. We welcome you to click through them for information that may be revelatory to your own journey and process.

Will racial equity training be a requirement to be eligible to apply for Mass Cultural Council funding? What is my organization expected to do?
While future applications will ask you or your organization to report on what actions have been taken regarding racial equity and/or intersectional justice, there is a goal in this plan to develop the resources and trainings that will assist applicants in meeting such a requirement.

No new application requirements have been determined for FY22 program cycles and any requirements proposed for the future will need to be approved by our governing Council.

In the meantime, we hope that you and your organization will support Mass Cultural Council’s efforts to be racially equitable and use our plan to inspire your efforts.

I’m a white individual./I’m in a white community. What does this racial equity work mean for me?
A lack of racial diversity in your area does not prohibit you or your organization from becoming anti-racist and anti-oppression. Our plan lists several resources that were used in the Agency’s racial equity work. We welcome you to click through them for information that may be revelatory to your own journey and process.

Also, racial diversity, while a value and focus for Mass Cultural Council, is not the only kind of diversity that can make systemic change. In addition to trying new ways to diversify the constituents in your community, we encourage you to research which social issues may be affecting your area and find your place in that struggle.

I am/am not a BIPOC artist. How might your plan affect me?
Mass Cultural Council is working to extend our support to artists and communities that have been systemically excluded. This effort will be supported by a robust advocacy campaign to make sure that our resources expand to meet the unmet need.

We believe our Racial Equity Plan will improve and enhance the cultural sector for all artists and will continue our mission to spread the power of culture to the entirety of the Commonwealth.

How does Mass Cultural Council define a BIPOC organization?
Along with the building of this plan, the Agency has engaged the cultural community across the country in the creation of a working definition for a BIPOC organization. These conversations have identified key characteristics of an organization that are being used in our definition development process:

  • Mission/Purpose/Programming of the organization
  • Representation of BIPOC people in the organization’s board, staff, leadership and/or volunteers
  • Artists/Scientists/Humanists engaged
  • Community served and audience engaged

If your Artist Fellowships are judged anonymously, how will you approach racial equity in the process?
Mass Cultural Council will be reviewing the entirety of our grant-making process to assure racial equity. This includes but is not limited to recruitment efforts, eligibility requirements, application questions, review processes, and award amounts.

It is a goal for all Mass Cultural Council programs to have a robust pool of new, diverse applicants and to reflect that diversity in the review of the applications and Mass Cultural Council community at-large.

Is this the final plan? 
This plan is a living document, and we will be providing quarterly updates on our progress towards racial equity to our governing Council and sector stakeholders.

Can I provide feedback? 
Yes. Mass Cultural Council welcomes your feedback. Contact Cheyenne Cohn-Postell, Equity and Justice Initiatives Officer.

Download the Racial Equity Plan


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