DIVERSITY

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The Board of Directors and Executive Leadership at Yes Balloon (CSz Richmond) recognizes that our organization has not taken the steps needed to be actively anti-racist. We have been failing to fight systemic racism and must actively engage in the process of substantive change. Improv has been a white, straight, able-bodied, and male institution since its inception, and we are here to make a different choice than our history. 

 

Yes Balloon (CSz Richmond) values building and nurturing an inclusive environment where players, staff, volunteers, students, and teachers are empowered to share their experiences and ideas and can openly be their true and authentic selves. With these values, we will create a stronger and more creative environment that best reflects the “Yes, And” philosophy in all that we do. We are working to correct the errors of the past by ensuring a diversity of staff, teachers, and audience that reflects our community, including cultivating talent from Black, Indigenous, Hispanic, Latino/a/x, Asian, Pacific Islander, LGBTQIA+, disabled, and other underrepresented and marginalized communities. 

 

Yes Balloon (CSz Richmond) is committed to combating inequities within our community in all of our pursuits.  In order to embrace and promote an equitable and inclusive environment that welcomes, values, and celebrates all members, we are taking the following actions:

 

  • Expand the Board of Directors so that previously excluded voices can set policy and lead the organization toward its future goals. 

  • Enforce a policy to remediate and/or remove members of our Board, staff, teaching staff, students, performers, patrons, and volunteers who exhibit prejudiced behavior, bullying, intimidation, or harassment of any type, without retaliation for reporting. This includes, but is not limited to, racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, ableist, fatphobic, heterosexist, transphobic, and classist behaviors.

  • Strengthen and maintain our internal grievance policy and reporting system to provide performers, staff, students, and volunteers with multiple avenues to report concerns and policy violations, in order to ensure the safety of all parties involved. 

  • Recruit, hire, and retain teachers, staff, and players from diverse populations so that students and performers in our programs are affirmed and motivated by seeing themselves and their identities reflected in our leadership and staff. 

  • Engage students from diverse populations and offer classes and workshops for their continued development in improv training and performance.  

  • Make improv accessible and affordable through scholarships and grants. 

  • Partner with organizations that benefit diverse communities and offer protected space and programing for diverse populations. 

  • Routinely evaluate the accessibility of our spaces and our programming.

  • Engage with and support community events outside of our organization. 

  • Actively engage in meaningful discussions and educational opportunities on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) for players, staff, volunteers, students, teachers, Executive leadership and Board members.

  • Work alongside the CSz Richmond DEI Committee to support diverse voices within our organization, seek advice on policy, and establish courses of action that will further our goal of ensuring an equitable organization.

  • Require regular DEI Training for Executive Leadership, Board members, teachers, staff, and players. 


 

We, the undersigned Board of Directors and Executive Leadership hold ourselves accountable to the above statement and will evaluate our progress on the listed actions at least quarterly, and in collaboration with the CSz Richmond DEI committee.

 

Signed,

 

The Yes Balloon Board of Directors - April 2021

 

Elizabeth Byland

Rebekah Cowne

Cathy Garmon

Dave Gau, President

John Moon, Treasurer

Susan Scovill, Vice President

Jennifer Warriner

James Wasilewski, Secretary