The Huntington's Equity & Anti-Racism Update
March & April Public Update
Read The Huntington Equity And Anti-Racism Task Force FAQ
April 2021 Update:
We are writing to you, valued members of the Huntington community, to provide an update on the Huntington’s commitment to respond to the impact of systemic racism, inequity, and challenges related to our organizational culture.
In recent weeks America has witnessed the murders of Daunte Wright and Adam Toledo at the hands of police even as the trial of the officer responsible for the death of George Floyd continued, as well as additional incidents of gun violence in our country. Our obligation to do the work of becoming an actively anti-racist organization, as well as a safe and inclusive space in our community, is drawn into even sharper relief. Its importance cannot be overstated.
The Huntington has embarked on multiple processes toward becoming a more equitable organization and improving our institutional culture. Our work is guided by our partnership with The Wellspring Group, the work of We See You White American Theatre, and the outcomes from the Ten Chimneys Foundation’s Summit on Racism in the Theater.
Work with The Wellspring Group
- Our process with The Wellspring Group, our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access (DEIA) consultants, began with pre-training anonymous Racial Equity Readiness surveys and 46 “Culture Carrier” interviews with board and staff in December and January.
- Three customized workshops for staff and board members designed based on assessment findings were held in January-February 2021, establishing the foundation of continued anti-racist work through building understanding of key terms, definitions, historical trends, and solution-oriented steps toward racial justice. Workshops were attended by 79 staff members and 18 Trustees. The Workshops also marked the launch of an online learning portal available to staff and board at all times as a resource to continue the work and our discussions.
- In partnership with The Wellspring Group, we have begun leadership and management training for our Department Heads. This process will go into July. We have also begun intensive, cohort-based leadership and management coaching for additional staff members, running through mid-May.
- We began Racial Equity Competency Coaching in early March. The process, which runs through mid-May, will provide cohort-based sessions for white and BIPOC staff who self-identify as wanting additional support in the racial equity process.
- The HEAR (Huntington Equity and Anti-Racism) Task Force, the interdepartmental representative collective of Huntington staff members founded in June 2020, is reviewing the staff-led policy and procedural recommendations made over the past six months in response to the We See You White American Theatre (WSYWAT) demands and the Ten Chimneys Summit on Racism in the Theater. We have recently expanded the membership of the HEAR Task Force, with our larger cohort participating in this extensive review with the guidance of the Wellspring Group, aimed at the release of an Anti-Racism Strategic Action Plan in the coming months.
- The Coalition, the Huntington’s affinity group promoting staff interests independently launched Social for Social Justice, a weekly hour of discussion exploring texts relating to anti-racist and DEIA work. The group of two dozen employees has together read How to be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi and Caste: The Origins of our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson.
- Board leadership has had two conversations with The Wellspring Group and are in the process of establishing a structure of support and timeline. Board involvement includes the working with the Nominating Committee to engage prospective Trustees and Advisors of color and creating the Board HR Task Force.
- Our Board has re-chartered their DEIA Committee. The primary role of the Huntington’s DEIA Committee is to develop strategies, policies, and practices designed to recruit and retain BIPOC and individuals with disabilities as Trustees and Advisors, with the goal of increasing the diversity of the Huntington’s Boards. In addition, the DEIA Committee will serve as a liaison to and provide support for the operational DEIA strategies, programs, and policies of the Huntington staff, including those of the HEAR Task Force. The DEIA Committee and HR Task Force are also working towards fostering greater transparency, communication, and community between the Board and staff at large.
- Our Board Nominating Committee is pursuing new strategies to diversify its membership, ensuring that financial capacity will no longer be the major driving element of Board participation.
Artistic Director Search
- The Board has launched a limited-term task force to examine the Huntington’s leadership and executive structure prior to launching the search for a new Artistic Director. Board members, joined by Huntington Artist-in-Residence Melinda Lopez and Codman Academy Charter Public School’s Head of School Thabiti Brown, are currently interviewing leadership from a range of institutions, with a variety of leadership structures.
- The task force’s report back to the larger Board and Huntington management will inform the development of the new Artistic Director job description, search process, and the formation of a search committee.
- Since much of the work we are undertaking with The Wellspring Group is centered on BIPOC staff and artists, we are prioritizing the return of furloughed BIPOC staff members, both to inform and participate in the process.
- We have expanded our contract with The Wellspring Group to include assisting Huntington HR staff, department heads, and the newly-formed Board HR Task Force in addressing issues of structural inequity, performance measurement and feedback, accountability, hiring and retention, equity in compensation and benefits, and centralizing transparency and inclusion in Huntington operations.
- We are revamping the hiring process for all new full-time positions (including for internal candidates) to include interview committees comprised of 3-4 staff from outside of the position’s department representing all levels of the organization and a spectrum of races, genders, and experiences. The process has been implemented for two full-time positions as of March 2021.
- We held mandatory anti-sexual harassment training for all managers which took place in mid-March. This training will subsequently be implemented for non-management staff, including those on furlough, with the goal of having all staff trained before restarting work in person.
- We are working with The Wellspring Group on overhauling the recruitment process as a whole, implementing comprehensive (likely 360) performance reviews, and explicitly including a commitment to contributing to DEIA at the Huntington in each job description.
- We have begun discussions with the Artistic and Production departments regarding practical steps to making the rehearsal room more welcoming and safe for BIPOC artists and collaborators, including the possibility of implementing a five-day rehearsal workweek.
The HEAR Task Force
Diane Daniels, Director of Human Resources, Chair
Kendrick Terrell Evans, The Huntington Theatre Assistant House Manager
Bethany Ford, Director of Production
Meagan Garcia, Company Manager
Charles Haugland, Director of New Work
DeDe Jacobs-Komisar, Institutional Giving Manager
Derrick Martin, Tessitura Analytics Manager
Katie Most, Calderwood Pavilion Manager
Meg O’Brien, Director of Education
Trisha Pham, Calderwood Pavilion Ticketing Associate
Katy Poludniak, General Management Assistant
Kevin Schlagle, Stage Manager
Regine Vital, Manager of Curriculum & Instruction, Education
In collaboration with:
Michael Maso, Managing Director
Published Thursday, April 16, 2021
March 2021 Update:
In Response to anti-Asian and anti-Asian-American Violence
The Huntington stands in solidarity with the Asian and Asian American communities of Atlanta, here in New England, and across the country. We must all work together to end anti-Asian discrimination, dehumanization, and violence. We uplift the following organizations who are raising awareness, providing education, and directing aid.