Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

The Steering Committee developed working definitions of equity, diversity, and inclusion to guide our work in advancing arts and culture in the region. As overarching principles for all plan goals and strategies, they are working definitions to reflect the evolving nature of these ideas. These statements were adapted from materials developed by Americans for the Arts.


The principle of equity acknowledges that there are populations that have been and are systemically underrecognized and underserved, and that fairness regarding these unbalanced conditions is needed to assist equality in the provision of effective opportunities to all groups. Equity is the guarantee of fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement in the systems, protocols, practices, and policies that allow everyone to be treated fairly, while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups.


The practice or quality of including or involving people of different backgrounds, ensuring representation of all community groups and racial identities. These differences can be defined as race, ethnicity, age, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, mental or physical abilities, nationality, language, religious beliefs, socioeconomic background and status, learning style, and education, among other areas of identity.


The act of creating environments in which any individual or group can feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued to fully participate and bring their full, authentic selves. An inclusive and welcoming climate embraces differences and offers respect in the words and actions of all people. This can manifest in the intentional integration of diverse voices and perspectives within organizational and community conversations. Inclusion is closely tied to a sense of belonging for all members of the group.

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