Our Statement on Cultural Equity

 
 

To support a full creative life for all, Emerging Arts Leaders commits to championing policies and practices of cultural equity that empower a just, inclusive, equitable society.

DEFINITION OF CULTURAL EQUITY

Cultural equity embodies the values, policies, and practices that ensure that all people—including but not limited to those who have been historically underrepresented based on race/ethnicity, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, socioeconomic status, geography, citizenship status, or religion—are represented in the development of arts policy; the support of artists; the nurturing of accessible, thriving venues for expression; and the fair distribution of programmatic, financial, and informational resources.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS & AFFIRMATIONS

  • In Los Angeles County (and beyond), there are systems of power that grant privilege and access unequally such that inequity and injustice result, and that must be continuously addressed and changed.

  • We gratefully acknowledge that we operate on the traditional lands of the Tongva, Tataviam, and Chumash peoples – including the Gabrieleño, Fernandeño, and Ventureño; members of the Takic and Chumashan language families; and other Indigenous peoples who made their homes in and around the area we now call Los Angeles.

  • Cultural equity is critical to the long-term viability of the arts sector in Los Angeles, California and the country as a whole.

  • We must all hold ourselves accountable because acknowledging and challenging our inequities and working in partnership is how we will make change happen.

  • Everyone deserves equal access to a full, vibrant creative life, which is essential to a healthy and democratic society.

  • Artists and cultural workers from all backgrounds deserve the opportunity to access professional development and build thriving careers in the arts field.

  • The prominent presence of artists and cultural workers challenges inequities and encourages alternatives.

MODELING THROUGH ACTION

To provide informed, authentic leadership for cultural equity, we strive to…

  • Pursue cultural consciousness through substantive learning and formal, transparent policies.

  • Acknowledge and dismantle any inequities within our policies, programs, and services.

  • Commit time and resources to expand more diverse leadership within our Leadership Council, staff, membership, and advisory body.

FUELING FIELD PROGRESS

To pursue needed systemic change related to equity, we strive to…

  • Uplift the cultural leadership pipeline by creating and supporting programs and policies that foster leadership that reflects the full breadth of Los Angeles County. We will work towards this goal through the Protégé mentorship program and other projects and events that support future arts leaders in Los Angeles.

  • Encourage substantive learning to build cultural consciousness through our Creative Conversations series and by creating spaces for honest and open dialogue to occur.

  • Ensure that new generations place cultural equity and inclusion as a guiding principle throughout their careers and within their spheres of influence.

  • Support emerging talent from traditionally underrepresented communities through a network of like-minded, committed cultural workers.

  • Build partnerships with community-based organizations and academic institutions to reach a broader audience of people who wish to be part of the cultural sector.

  • Expand the geographic reach of our programming by holding meetings and events in different regions of Los Angeles County to ensure that all can pursue professional development opportunities in their communities.

  • Embrace and acknowledge the history of the land we reside in and the multiplicity and richness of the cultures that have and continue to share this space.

LAND AKNOWLEDGMENT

Emerging Arts Leaders/Los Angeles gratefully acknowledges that we operate on the traditional lands of the Tongva, Tataviam, and Chumash peoples – including the Gabrieleño, Fernandeño, and Ventureño; members of the Takic and Chumashan language families; and other Indigenous peoples who made their homes in and around the area we now call Los Angeles.

We recognize that we live and work on occupied territory of the Indigenous peoples who have stewarded this land for thousands of years, many of whom still call it home today. We further wish to acknowledge that Los Angeles is home to one of the largest Urban Native populations in the country, with an intertribal community numbering over 54,000 – many of whom settled here after being forcibly removed from or otherwise pushed out of their own homelands. As a step toward acknowledging and honoring these sovereign territories and the Native peoples on them, our organization pledges a commitment to cultural equity for all of our Indigenous neighbors.

As an arts organization operating in the entertainment capital of the world, we believe we have a particular responsibility to acknowledge the legacy of settler colonialism in our city. Los Angeles is home to a vibrant community of Indigenous artists and cultural workers, working across disciplines in both traditional and contemporary arts. Los Angeles is also the source of many of the destructive stereotypes that have afflicted generations of Native American and First Nations people – the “Hollywood Indians” that have long filled our stages and our film and TV screens. We recognize the need to fight actively against these damaging tropes by acknowledging our region’s past and leaning into learning from and about the Indigenous community.

We understand that achieving healing and reconciliation will require a long and sustainable commitment. This land acknowledgment is only a first step. But we hope it will help to raise awareness about histories that are often suppressed or forgotten, though very present all around us.

#HonorNativeLand