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Since our last Accountability Update on March 1, 2021, New York Stage and Film’s programming and institutional structures have continued to evolve. This Progress Report is one of many we intend to issue in pursuit of transparency and accountability. 

 

As we begin to plan for in-person programming for our 2021 Summer Season, we appreciate and accept our responsibility to put our commitments into action. 

Cultural Adjustments

We are engaging in an iterative process of examining and adjusting our cultural practices throughout our spheres of influence. This currently includes:

  • Increasing BIPOC artist-initiated projects, and dedicating the annual Founders’ Award to a BIPOC artist. 

  • Increasing opportunity and financial resources for BIPOC-curated projects.

  • Recruiting seasonal staff applicants from multiple BIPOC-focused career resources and interviewing a diverse applicant pool for every position.

  • Increasing compensation for every seasonal staff position, implementing weekly food stipends, and including weekly salaries on all job postings.

  • Eliminating our under-paid internship program and implementing an apprenticeship program for our early career program participants that pays minimum wage. 

  • Implementing a company-wide day-off per week and regulating work schedules that may not exceed 45 hours per week. Should overtime be necessary, it must be approved and will be compensated. 

  • Eliminating 10 out of 12 tech schedules.

  • Providing resources to promote and support affinity spaces while in residence during the 2021 Summer Season.

  • Establishing weekly arrival days for our 2021 Summer Season that prioritize safe travel, community orientations, a communal review of our Code of Conduct and Bystander Intervention training (see below), and allow individuals time and space to acclimate to in-person opportunities before entering a work space.

Transparent Tools for a Safe Workplace

As a company dedicated to a flexible, artist-driven process, we believe in artistic freedom, artistic expression, and empowering artists to reach their fullest visions. We believe that process can only be fostered in a creative space that is also a safe space. We expect that all members of the community recognize that each individual has a right to a working environment that encourages considerate, dignified and non-sexualized working relationships.

As such, all members of our community will be required to review our Code of Conduct, which details the following:

  • NYSAF in Community: Guidelines

  • Anti-Racism Principles & Policies

  • Anti-Sexual Harassment Principles & Policies

  • Anti-Harassment/Bullying Principles & Policies

  • Whistleblower and Anti-Retaliation Policies

  • Reporting Procedures

The current draft is available here and in process. An updated version will be provided before our in-person Summer Season begins in early July with the rest of our Employee Handbook, along with an Acknowledgement Form that will need to be signed and returned. The Code of Conduct will be reviewed in person upon our community’s arrival. Additionally, every individual participating in our Summer Season will complete tailored Bystander Intervention training in collaboration with hollaback!

 

Accountability

New York Stage and Film is grateful for our consultation period with Geoffrey Jackson Scott and Adam Moore from Peoplmvr, who reflected with us as we began to name our commitment to anti-racism practices that actively promote equity, inclusion and justice for each person in our community. We are eager to continue a regular practice of outside engagement dedicated to this growth with our Equity and Inclusion Committee (EIC), established as of May 2021. The founding cohort includes Estefanía Fadul, Keelay Gipson, Mirirai Sithole, and Caroline Uy, and will be joined by one member of the Board of Directors, one Producing Director, and two full-time staff members. Our preliminary goals include:

  • Establishing a feedback process for all participants in the 2021 Summer Season on our cultural practices, working experience, and Code of Conduct

  • Reviewing our published Statement of Principles (03.01.2021) and recommending best practices for implementing the values in our work

  • Establishing the avenues through which they are an accessible body to the larger community

 

EIC participation includes:

  • 3-hour monthly meetings with email correspondence in between

  • A minimum commitment of one year and maximum of two years of service

  • Annual compensation (for members who are neither staff nor Board of Directors)

 

New York Stage and Film remains grateful for the individuals and organizations who have and will continue to inspire, advise, and influence our work. We look forward to evaluating our progress throughout the 2021 Summer Season and implementing further adjustments. 

 

As always, we welcome the continuous dialogues, self-examination and changes that will push this work forward. 

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Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Justice Statement of Principles

New York Stage and Film is committed to dismantling racist, sexist and other unjust and harmful systems within our company and spheres of influence. We acknowledge the extensive effort of our BIPOC theater colleagues, the #BlackLivesMatter movement, the We See You White American Theater coalition, and the multiple focused collectives whose generous work has advanced these critical issues and provided instrumental education.

NYSAF is committed to anti-racism practices that actively promote equity, inclusion and justice for each person in our community, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, age, sexual orientation or identity, education or ableness. We recognize that the experiences of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, Middle Eastern, North African and all People of Color (BIPOC) require additional attention and effort in order to right historic and contemporary wrongs. NYSAF is determined that BIPOC people become centered within our organization and share meaningfully in the power to shape its future. As a company dedicated to artists and the power of process, we embrace our responsibility to encourage collaboration and foster inclusive community. We pledge transparency to our community and to the public at large in reporting on our plan and progress in achieving these goals. 

We commit to practices which advance anti-racism, equity and diversity by:

  • Increasing BIPOC artist-initiated projects, BIPOC-curated projects, and BIPOC representation in projects initiated by white artists.

  • Supporting the cultural practices and specific experiences of BIPOC artists.

  • Increasing BIPOC members of our Board of Directors and year-round and seasonal staff.

  • Correcting and eliminating biased language in all of our materials.

  • Increasing compensation for our early career program participants.

  • Increasing compensation for readings and workshop participants. 

  • Ensuring compensation for activities outside of contracted work.

  • Committing the annual Founders Award to BIPOC artists.

  • Providing resources to promote and support affinity spaces where people who feel marginalized because of who they are can engage in the process of learning and sharing. 

We commit to creating a safe, inclusive workplace by: 

  • Expanding our practices and policies through regular EDIJ-focused meetings for all core staff.

  • Implementing annual anti-racism and unconscious bias training that is included in our annual budget for full-time staff and Board of Directors. Scaling this training for our expanded seasonal community to maintain a safe working environment.

  • Engaging with outside expertise to facilitate this process.

  • Formalizing an Anti-Racist Policy that sets protocols for immediate intervention or reporting when harmful actions have occurred and prevents retaliation. As part of this policy we will publish an annual report for the company about our progress toward equity and justice. 

 

We commit to serving diverse communities by:  

  • Educating ourselves, our artists and our audiences about the history of BIPOC individuals and communities in the places we work. 

  • Publicly acknowledging the rightful names of the people whose land we inhabit. 

  • Expanding relationships with the BIPOC community in the Hudson Valley to create educational, employment and artistic opportunities; ensuring tickets are easily accessible; and deepening our relationships with local BIPOC businesses and organizations.

 

We welcome the continuous dialogues, self-examination and changes that will push this work forward.

As our programming and institutional structures continue to evolve, we will update these practices with a more specific plan and status report to be released before the summer of 2021.

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The systemic racism of America, aided by generations of silence, can no longer be left in the shadows of inaction. The past weeks have seen horrific, senseless murders which are reminders of the long history of trauma inflicted on Black people. New York Stage and Film honors the lives and memories of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Tony McDade, and Breonna Taylor. And we hold in our hearts the loss of other Black lives, those remembered by history and the countless many never recorded. 

As we listen to the voices of protests throughout America, we are reminded of the urgent need for change. We are a company dedicated to the strength of process, to the ability of a community to come together and make new stories. This is a moment when we are all called to be part of the process to change the story. To do that, we must acknowledge our place in the narrative. We must recognize the legacy of white-supremacy in America and search for it in our own practices. It isn't comfortable to admit a silent complicity in oppressive systems - but where we are complicit we must. Until we do, how can we hope for a better world?

Through our work, we are committed to speaking loudly. There is no place for anti-Blackness or racism anywhere. But saying that is not enough. We must take responsibility for dismantling practices that perpetuate oppression. We must continue to listen, educate and develop ourselves and New York Stage and Film. We must ensure our actions reflect this commitment. And we must hold ourselves accountable.  

We urge our colleague-institutions and individuals to join with us and stand in solidarity with the Black community - to take direct actions and engage in activism that make us a greater force of change however that may manifest. We have included a list of some educational tools, places to donate, and guides for activism.

Black Lives Matter.