Inside the JEDI Process: The CCD Committee’s Thoughts, Evolution, and Plans for Action
Submitted by Morgan Sicklick, CCD Faculty Member, JEDI Committee Co-Chair, and Wonderbound dancer
As CCD’s JEDI committee continues to embark on our journey of weaving justice, equity, diversity and inclusion into the fabric of our community, we are exposed to new ideas, recommendations, and criticisms each and every day. We’d like to take you “behind the scenes” and share a little bit about the thoughts and processes that have evolved since our committee’s inception this past summer.
Our committee initially consisted of a few white and white-passing faculty, staff, and board members. While it was vital for us to take responsibility for educating ourselves and delving into the inner workings of the organization, we knew this was not enough to enact real change. We are incredibly grateful to have welcomed several students and parents to the committee in recent weeks. Their input, assessments, and candidness are invaluable. These individuals have graciously taken time out of their busy schedules to share their perspectives and honest opinions, call attention to the committee’s blind spots, and push us towards immediate implementation of proposed changes.
Within our dialogue, there are three significant questions that continue to arise:
- What type of school do we envision ourselves to be or desire to evolve into?
- What changes need to be made to ensure that we bolster BBIPOC, AAPI, and LGBTQIA+ peoples, welcoming them to their “place at the barre?”
- Are we evaluating each and every issue from the JEDI perspective?
There are no simple answers to these questions.
CCD is known for its top-notch ballet training, but if we are claiming that we are a conservatory of dance, how can we also bring our expert instruction in jazz, modern, contemporary movement, improvisational techniques, and various other styles to the forefront of our education? We are currently exploring ways in which to evolve our programming to make this a reality. Dance history is a vital part of this conversation, and we are eager to expand on the tremendous educational endeavor that faculty members Page Jenkins and Chris Harris have begun this year.
CCD also strives to be a leader in both the dance and non-profit worlds. However, both realms are still operating under a set of antiquated standards that do not do nearly enough to elevate and reinforce a truly diverse community. How can we steer and uphold that transition? Can we reimagine the ways we teach and engage with our community to better reflect their truth and experiences? We are highly aware of our need to expand our faculty, staff and board in a meaningful way in order to champion inclusivity. Moreover, we are evaluating the work that CCD produces and how our language and actions may have harmed and excluded many of the people we strive to provide a home for within our organization.
CCD is a privileged arts organization. Yes, we are a non-profit and COVID has challenged us in unimaginable ways, but there are individuals within our community that have experienced and will continue to face far greater struggles. The JEDI committee recognizes that it is our duty to advocate for those people and create an uplifting, healthy, and supportive atmosphere. We strive to help anyone who is a part of our community grow both as an artist and as a human being. Our plan of action: identify ways in which we have fallen short, understand how our internal biases and external environment have shaped our view of the world, and move beyond conversations into transformation. We have only just begun.
J = Justice
E = Equity
D = Diversity
I = Inclusion