Anti-racism is not a one-day campaign or a letter of intent. It is a commitment we must make and reaffirm every day of our lives.
New Music USA stands against bigotry, violence, and oppression, and will continue to support and elevate Black voices. As a national cultural organization, we have the power and the responsibility to push for social change.
We are inspired by the contributions of BIPOC artists and composers in the new music community. We encourage you to join us in supporting their work. Support their work. Buy their recordings. Tune in to their performances online. Share the music that speaks to you.
We continue to work to create the community we wish to see, and to support BIPOC artists and organizations across all our programs. We cannot work toward more equitable representation in the new music world without evaluating where we are and acknowledging there is still so much more that we need to do. We commit ourselves to listening without defensiveness, holding ourselves and fellow organizations accountable for action and inaction, and strengthening our position as an inclusive and anti-racist organization.
New Music USA will take the following concrete and measurable actions to achieve change within our organization and to advocate for change across the music industry. We welcome and challenge our community to hold us to these goals and to tell us when we fall short.
- Embed equity and inclusion—and anti-racism action—at the heart of our strategic plan. As we plan our activities for the next three years, this commitment will apply to everything we do. We won’t single it out as an add-on priority.
- Transform the leadership of New Music USA to include more Black voices. People of color make up 20% of our board. We are striving to increase this significantly over the next 3 years.
- Prioritize identifying BIPOC candidates for forthcoming staff appointments. 30% of New Music USA’s staff are people of color. No current members of staff are Black. We will work hard to seek out BIPOC candidates for upcoming appointments, especially for any senior vacancies. This will better reflect the makeup of our music community and our home city.
- Budget for consistent and ongoing anti-racist training as part of our development program for staff and trustees. New Music USA began this process in 2019 with training and the establishment of a dedicated board/staff equity, diversity, and inclusion committee. We will continue to perform regular staff learning days, and program staff and board trainings—all of which will be driven forward by the EDI committee’s quarterly meetings.
- Sustain the inclusivity of our program council and independent grants assessors. Our current program council and pool of grant panelists is over 40% BIPOC. We will sustain this commitment to inclusivity while assessing, in more detail, representation of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian participants in our groups and ensuring rotation to make space for new BIPOC voices.
- Keep building on the accessibility of our grants programs to ensure equitable access. We are reaching a high proportion of BIPOC artists through our grants program. However nearly 50% of the artists and organizations we fund are based in New York because of restrictions imposed by our institutional funders. Over the next year we will work to identify ways to increase resources available to those based in other parts of the US, and we will pro-actively reach out to Black-led organizations and Black artists we are not currently reaching.
- Lead and invest in targeted programs which respond to entrenched historic inequities. Some inequities can only start to shift with pro-active, targeted programs and positive action. Our Amplifying Voices program, which focuses on the orchestral repertoire, is an example of this. We will adopt tailored approaches to other music genres and communities.
- Ensure regular promotion and amplification of BIPOC music creators and practitioners through our social media and NewMusicBox platforms. We will ensure that all creators can see the potential to be included in our work through a communications strategy that ensures equitable representation. We will diversify our NewMusicBox writers−with a particular focus on women of color, who we have not sufficiently featured in the past.
- Advocate for sector-wide change, starting with the constituency we are supporting and collaborating with. We will expect our grantees to be fully accountable as anti-racist organizations and we will ask for more information about the makeup of their leadership and programs when we make decisions about the organizations and projects we fund. We will only partner with organizations that share our values, and we will support other funders in their efforts to become more inclusive and equitable in their grantmaking activities.
- Improve our collection and monitoring of data to measure our progress toward these goals on an annual basis. Currently, 54% of our project grants significantly feature BIPOC artists. However, we do not have clear data on the makeup of the organizations we are supporting and the number of organizations which have Black leadership. We are changing this practice through the new applications platform we launched in 2020.