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Racial Equity Progress Report (Sept – Dec ’23)

Cheyenne Cohn-Postell, Program Officer

A regular report on our anti-racism work

photo of a child facing away from the camera with outstretched arms, both of which have colorfully painted panels hanging from them
Participant in the culminating Trashion Show by Multi-Arts students.

In 2021, Mass Cultural Council launched a three-year Racial Equity Plan outlining some of the internal and external steps we will take to support and encourage an anti-racist cultural sector in the Commonwealth. As part of the plan, the Agency has committed to sharing our progress on this work each quarter:

Sept – Dec 2023 Racial Equity and Access Work Spotlight

This fall the Agency focused on internal inclusion work.

Internal Inclusion and Why It Matters

The arts and culture sector has made a lot of intentional and successful steps toward diversifying its leadership and workforce in the past few years. And while this was a long-awaited necessary step in the direction of equity, a diverse workforce does not immediately enact systemic change.

When faced with the exciting challenge of utilizing the new skills and perspectives that had joined Mass Cultural Council in recent years, the Agency created cross-agency working groups to help bring minds from different teams together. These working groups can also be thought of as a task force, or a temporary committee; they are brought together around a certain topic that needs consideration and direction and are populated by staff members with the desire and capacity to contribute to the conversation.

To make sure the working group process had focus and order despite being a collaboration between different teams with different working styles, guidelines were created. These guidelines establish practical measures like rotating roles for participants and standards for communicating details along the way, while also serving as a guide to the kind of collaborative culture of these working groups.

Below please see Mass Cultural Council’s goals and meeting norms for all working groups and find inspiration for how to engage your teams in the future.

Working group guidelines have been established to: 

    • Create space for different learning and communication styles.
    • Leverage the unique skills, perspectives and lived experience of each person in the group.
    • Mitigate conflicts or interpersonal issues.
    • Ensure that assumptions or decisions are not based solely on one person’s set of values and privileges.
    • Challenge the norms of the dominant but often inequitable culture toincrease members’ self-awareness.
    • Develop a shared sense of responsibility.



When participating in a working group, I will:

    • Come prepared, having read the material, and thought about the topics outlined in the agenda.
      • Keep in mind that this is an inclusive process that requires many sets of eyes and extensive peer review to finalize the work.
      • Be open to new ideas and processes to improve the work done.
    • Uphold an environment of us, both me and you, and I put people above work.
      • Try to be present during workgroup meetings and will step away quietly when that is not possible.
      • Always speak respectfully.
      • Listen actively, empathetically, and without defensiveness.
      • Share my viewpoints with authenticity and integrity even when difficult or unpopular.
    • Commit to applying my knowledge of key racial equity concepts into my work and my interactions.
      • Avoid oversimplifying complex issues or reducing them to either/or, right/wrong, or good/bad choices.
      • A.I.T. when many voices want to weigh in on a topic. I will ask myself, “Why Am I Talking?” and respect that it may be best to make space for someone else’s voice.

Track on-going progress using our racial equity journey map.

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