We wish to acknowledge the trauma our country and many of our artists, staff, students, volunteers, audiences, and community partners are experiencing. At Trinity Repertory Company, Black lives matter. We commit to struggle together for equity, diversity, and inclusion. We stand in solidarity with and alongside those who are committed to fighting racism, oppression, and hate. Most specifically, to our friends, colleagues, and partners of color – we see you, we love you, and your lives matter.

Trinity Repertory Company’s mission is to reinvent the public square with dramatic art that stimulates, educates, and engages our diverse community in a continuing dialogue. To advance this mission, we publicly committed in 2017 to struggle together for equity, diversity, and inclusion.

As our community and country grapple with the trauma of centuries of racial injustice, groups like We See You White American Theatre and our own community of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) artists have told us that our initial steps have not gone far enough and that we have caused and continue to cause harm and pain, which we acknowledge. With humility, Trinity Rep thanks them for their labor in documenting and communicating important demands for our industry and organization. Their voices have been guiding our conversations in truly meaningful ways in recent weeks.

Trinity Rep acknowledges our complicit and too-often active involvement in upholding and benefiting from structures of racism and oppression. We are committing now to go further and take steps toward healing in our community. As this work is so vital to our mission, we will take the time necessary to be deliberate and center the voices of BIPOC individuals in reimagining what our theater and community can be as we rebuild our organization and industry back from the destructive effects of the pandemic.

We resolve to immediately and meaningfully place anti-racism at the center of our work. We are committed to developing, sharing, and holding ourselves accountable to short- and long-term goals, with full recognition that this work has no endpoint. We acknowledge that our goals and methods will evolve as we continue through this iterative process, though our intent is to complete the planning phase and foundational actions for this work by June 2021.

We begin now with the following action items and process commitments:

  • Charter a non-hierarchical and representative Anti-Racism Transformation Committee to lead this effort over the coming 10 months to gather input on how Trinity Rep has contributed to systemic racism in our community and to define the steps and timeline the organization will take to develop and implement a bold new vision for theater making, education, and community engagement for Trinity Rep, founded on the principles of genuine equity and anti-racism.
  • Retain an experienced firm or individual(s) by the end of September 2020 to provide consulting, training, and facilitation services for the continued advancement of Trinity Rep’s equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) and anti-racism goals and initiatives.
  • Establish mandatory formal anti-racism training and an expectation for continued learning for board, artists, and staff, including cultural competency and bystander training, while committing resources for intensive initial trainings and ongoing trainings to ensure the work continues.
  • Review and revise all current practices, policies, procedures, stated values, codes of conduct, systems, and structures to better align with anti-racist values. The review will include, but is not limited to recruiting, hiring, performance evaluation, and compensation; programming; funding; and the effectiveness of employee resources and benefits.
  • Host an EDI/anti-racism working discussion forum for board, artists, staff, students, and community members.
  • Engage all members of the board, staff, resident acting company, partners, patrons, students, and other community members in our process, including the creation and structural support of affinity groups, without placing the emotional labor of the work on our BIPOC staff and artists.
  • Develop a new EDI/anti-racism strategic plan, which will include specifically defining what it means for Trinity Rep to be an anti-racist organization with measurable goals, metrics, and reporting systems.

This is a living and dynamic process that will be updated and shared publicly based on our ongoing work and the feedback received from within and outside the organization. We invite input on these actions from any member of our community, which can be submitted below. We pledge to protect from retribution those who speak out or hold us accountable for this work. Updates on our progress and specific goals and actions will be published publicly at least once each quarter.

Thank you for holding us accountable and for joining us on this journey to move our community forward.

As of September 11, 2020

Last month, we announced our commitment to anti-racism and promised updates as we progressed through the journey. Here is our first update. We invite our community to provide feedback by replying to this email or completing the anonymous form at the bottom of this page.

Within days of the Board of Trustees voting to form the Anti-Racism Transformation Committee, the group was fully constituted and interviews were scheduled with potential consulting partners. The committee selected an incredible combination of consultants, who each bring unique expertise to our process.

We are looking forward to working with Michaela Pommells from CORAJUS (Coalition for Racial Justice); Karla Vigil and Carlon Howard from Equity Institute; and Kelvin Dinkins from Dinkins Consulting. The committee is meeting weekly and is beginning to gather information to conduct an audit of our current and past practices.

Anti-Racism Transformation Committee Members

Resident Acting Company
Daniel Duque-Estrada
Mia Ellis
Jude Sandy
Stephen Thorne
Joe Wilson, Jr.

Staff
Amanda Downing Carney
Curt Columbus, artistic director
Michelle Cruz
Kate Kataja
Tom Parrish, executive director

Community
Marta V. Martínez, Rhode Island Latino Arts
Theresa Moore, T-Time Productions
Sylvia Spears, vice president for equity and social justice, Emerson College

Board of Trustees
Lou Giancola
Sean Holley
Ken Sigel
Donna Vanderbeck

As of October 20, 2020

Trinity Rep’s work toward being an anti-racist theater continues. Since our October 2020 update, our Anti-Racism Transformation Committee has been meeting and laying the groundwork for the creation of the strategic plan, our consultants from Equity Institute/CORAJUS progress in gathering and analyzing data, and trainings began with our Board of Trustees and staff.

Committee Update
Due to the size of the Anti-Racism Transformation Committee, we changed the structure of the committee. After soliciting interest from committee members, our consultants selected a group to serve on a Core Team, plus additional advisors. This smaller, representative Core Team will work more closely with the consulting team to support and drive the work forward, reporting to and gaining feedback from the larger committee during the auditing and strategic planning process. The Core Team includes Amanda Downing Carney (staff), Mia Ellis (artist), Kate Kataja (staff), Jude Sandy (artist), Ken Sigel (board), and Sylvia Spears (community). Marta Martinez (community), Tom Parrish (leadership), and Joe Wilson Jr. (artist) will serve in advisory roles to provide feedback and input on strategies and tactics. The selection process included identifying at least one member of each stakeholder group represented on the larger committee (staff, leadership, artists, board, community). The consultants also considered racial, ethnic, gender, sexuality, and other identities to ensure having various perspectives and experiences represented. 

In recent meetings, the committee has heard the feedback and recommendations from our Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) resident artists and discussed preliminary top-level results of a survey of current and former staff, students, artists, and the community at-large.

In an effort to deepen Trinity’s capacity to become an anti-racist organization and to create spaces where people can grow their understanding and develop common understandings in a supportive environment, Trinity will be moving forward with the creation of affinity spaces. The Core Team will be working over the coming weeks to lead this effort.

Consultant Update
In addition to facilitating the work of the Anti-Racism Transformation Committee, our consultants are also developing a social justice glossary so that the organization has a reference that provides basic working definitions to facilitate shared discussions. The glossary will be a comprehensive, but not exhaustive, listing of terminology used in our conversations about racism and equity.

Trinity presented the consultants with documents, policies, and materials that they are in the process of reviewing as part of their discovery and auditing work. The Core Team provided the consultants with recommendations for one-on-one interviews and focus group participation, which will be occurring over the coming weeks.

Training Update
The Board of Trustees has participated in three workshops, all providing a foundation for the board as they consider what it means to be an anti-racist organization. Kelvin Dinkins led them on a two-part Scaffolding Change workshop in November and December. Sylvia Spears led a January anti-racism workshop to examine what anti-racist work is at the individual and organizational level, and begin to explore how anti-racist principles can inform and support Trinity Rep’s transformational aspirations.

A training for managers was held during the first week of February, focusing on recruitment, unconscious bias, and hiring practices. A full staff training that includes bystander training will be scheduled in March.

Timeline
The discovery phase will continue through the winter in preparation for the creation of an Anti-Racism strategic plan in the spring. After review and input from the core and full committee, staff, and community members, the plan will be submitted for approval by the Board of Trustees at the Annual Meeting in June.

As of February 8, 2021

Feedback Form

This is a living and dynamic process that will be updated and shared publicly based on our ongoing work and the feedback received from within and outside the organization. We invite input on these actions from any member of our community, which can be submitted below. We pledge to protect from retribution those who speak out or hold us accountable for this work. Updates on our progress and specific goals and actions will be published publicly at least once each quarter.

Please note that name and email fields are not required so that feedback may be shared anonymously, but if you would like a reply, please include contact information.