Equity & Belonging

We believe safe spaces that promote empathy, a sense of belonging, and humanity hold the greatest potential for innovation, creativity and collaboration across all art forms.

To ensure artists and those whose work supports artists are free to achieve their fullest potential, YoungArts is committed to creating spaces rich with diversity of imagination, celebrating and valuing all lived experiences, identities, ethnicities and cultures. Actively evolving as an anti-racist and anti-oppressive organization is, and will remain, a priority for YoungArts. We acknowledge our responsibility in confronting, disrupting and dismantling systems of oppression, systemic bias and institutional inequities in our organization and in the arts to ensure the inclusion of all people who have been historically excluded. We recognize this level of transformation requires ongoing learning, accountability, transparency, and is critical to change.

Our Commitments

Core Values

Excellence

Relentless pursuit of quality; maintaining a rigorous artistic practice; delivering the best in all we do.

Collaboration

Working together to create and elevate our shared potential. Trust, transparency and teamwork are all integral components of our interdisciplinary approach.

Inclusivity

The deliberate intention of creating and upholding safe spaces that promote equity, diversity and a sense of belonging. We celebrate and value all lived experiences, identities, ethnicities and cultures.

Experimentation

The willingness to explore, try new ideas, and remain flexible, nimble and open. We believe everyone needs space to explore and room to fail.

Respect

We value all voices and practice kindness, empathy and benevolence in all our expressions and actions.

Integrity

Prioritizing honesty, sensitivity and trust in all our actions. We believe in acting in accordance with our highest principles and upholding our values. 

Action Plan

YoungArts is committed to listening, learning and collaborating with artists, and to using its platform to advance equity, inclusivity and belonging within the organization and in the arts. 

View Action Plan

Land Acknowledgement

The YoungArts Campus is situated on the traditional homeland of Native nations, including the Tequesta, the Calusa, the Taíno and today the Miccosukee and the Seminole. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and future; and recognize their continued existence and contributions to our community. As an organization with staff, alumni, teachers, partners and donors located in all 50 states, multiple U.S. territories and countries abroad, YoungArts acknowledges that Indigenous peoples are the traditional custodians of all lands.

Pronouns

Why We Include Pronouns

You may have noticed pronouns listed on our email signatures and other materials here at YoungArts.

Example:

Riley Peters
Office Coordinator
305.377.1140 Ext. 1234
Pronouns: she/her/hers

Why do we use pronouns? Because we all already do—usually without giving a second thought. The use of words like he, she, and they in place of our given or chosen names is commonplace. And just like our names, pronouns are an important part of identity and contribute to self-esteem. We expect people to get our names right. The same is true for our pronouns. And, by being more intentional in our use of pronouns, we are creating a more welcoming environment for those whose first thought is often: is it safe to belong? Language has consequences for how we each live our daily lives—from our personal interactions, to professional opportunities, to the ways in which the law may protect us.

Using pronouns in introductions, in email signatures, etc. is one way to help establish an open and safe environment for talking about gender. Here are five reasons why we, as an organization, have chosen to add our pronouns to our email signatures, badges, zoom accounts and other materials, and why we hope you will consider doing the same.

  • Being misgendered is a damaging event to many trans and non-binary people. Sharing pronouns up front can prevent this and also help people to feel accepted and included. The easiest way to prevent accidentally misgendering someone is to simply ask for their pronouns.
  • Sharing and displaying your pronouns openly makes it easier for others to offer that information to you, relieving them of any stress they may carry about being misunderstood, disrespected, or even harmed for their identity.
  • In 27 states (including Florida), there are no anti-discrimination laws protecting LGBTQIA+* people from being fired, simply for authentically being themselves. This means their employment and livelihoods can be taken away simply for existing. By adding pronouns, we want to signal that all identities and genders are welcome here, as well as our commitment to upholding a safe, comfortable and equitable working environment.
  • When all staff members actively announce their pronouns, the burden is taken off of transgender and non-binary individuals to self-identify and explain. It actively creates a space for people to communicate more easily about how they want to be identified.
  • Using pronouns bucks the idea that pronouns are easily identifiable from looking at a person. Gender is not visual, but is rather a spectrum and something that should be (respectfully of course) asked about rather than assumed. It is not acceptable to call someone Samantha just because they look like a Samantha and the same applies to pronouns. By making space for people to teach us how they identify, we prevent accidentally projecting our own preconceived notions of gender onto others.

We are proud to take this small step towards creating an equitable space for our employees, artists and colleagues and invite you to adopt the practice as well. There are many more steps we can all take to support trans and non-binary people and uphold a comfortable work environment. While we are encouraged by recent federal efforts to add protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, the statistics remain a staggering reminder of how much more can and should be done. 2020 was the worst year on record for violence against trans and non-binary people—the majority of which were against Black and Latinx trans women—and 2021 has already set a record for the most anti-transgender bills in history with many targeting trans youth. We are committed to creating a safe space for all; honoring pronouns is one small way we can show our support and solidarity.

As we commit to creating a safe space for all, honoring pronouns is one small way we can show our support and solidarity. As always, we welcome your feedback and ideas and look forward to sharing more about initiatives like this with you soon.

The five reasons were adapted from a piece by Rebecca Fishman Lipsey, originally published by Radical Partners. Special thank you to Maven Leadership Collective for contributing to this piece and for their transformational work to build resilient communities that thrive in the face of crisis.

References:
Why Pronouns
Radical Partners- “Why we include pronouns in our signatures
AP News-US restores transgender health protections
TED Talk-A short history of trans people’s long fight for equality
Human Rights Campaign-BREAKING: 2021 Becomes Record Year For Anti-Transgender Legislation
Fatal Violence Against the Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Community in 2020

*lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, (questioning), intersex, asexual, and (agender)