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White Accomplices for Racial Justice Cohort

Banner graphic with purple gradient background, with circular and semicircular shapes in a lighter purple. Text reads: White Accomplices for Racial Justiceā€”A Learning Cohort to Dismantle White Supremacy in Community Arts Education. Logos for the National Guild for Community Arts Education and The Music Man Foundation are at the bottom.

The White Accomplices for Racial Justice Cohort was a space held from February 9–May 18, 2022 for 20 Guild members who self-identify as white to understand the hallmarks of our larger culture that prioritize whiteness, with a particular focus on how whiteness shapes individual behaviors and perspectives within the community arts education field.

The cohort was designed for independent teaching artists and cultural workers, administrative staff, faculty, and board members working in community arts education to collaboratively develop strategies for interrupting white supremacy culture behaviors in their personal and professional lives, as one step to reduce harm to Black, indigenous, and people of color, and towards building communities in which all people can thrive.  

Meet the Cohort

The cohort members worked together in 6 "buddy" groups throughout the program.

 

Group 1: Gahlia Greene-Kaufman (Lifetime Arts, Inc.), Sara Echaniz, Melissa Wenszell (MacPhail Center for Music)

Graphic with headshots of Group 1: Sara Echaniz, Gahlia Greene-Kaufman, and Melissa Wenszell

 

Group 2: Tim Gibbon (Carlos Rosario IPCS), Kyla McHale (ArtsConnection), Lissa Rosenthal-Yoffe (DC Arts and Humanities Education Collaborative)

Graphic with headshots of Group 2: Tim Gibbon, Kyla McHale, and Lissa Rosenthal-Yoffe

 

Group 3: Caitlin Daglis (John C. Campbell Folk School), Fred Mindlin, Alexander Morollo (Community Music Center of Boston)

Graphic with headshots of Group 3: Caitlin Daglis, Fred Mindlin, and Alex Morollo

 

Group 4: Melanie Doerner, Sara McDaniels, Melissa Wales (Stuart's Opera House)

Graphic with headshots of Group 4: Melanie Doerner, Sara McDaniels, and Melissa Wales

 

Group 5: Ro Adler (Fleisher Art Memorial, Allison Bret (Dallas Summer Musicals), Vaughn Garland (ART 180), Kathy Lindenmayer (Memphis Equity Through Arts)

Graphic with headshots of Group 5: Ro Adler, Allison Bret, Vaughn Garland, and Kathy Lindenmayer

 

Group 6: Jessica Altfillisch, Rachel Black (Greenwich House Music School), Ali Hoefnagel (Dreams of Hope), Noah Martin (Creative Action)

Graphic with headshots of Group 6: Jessica Altfillisch, Rachel Black, Ali Hoefnagel, and Noah Martin

Facilitators

Six lead facilitators coached, guided, and gave structure to the group, while also co-learning and holding multiple roles in racial justice conversations. All applications were reviewed by facilitators with support from Guild staff. 

 

 
We would also like to acknowledge the contributions of the following people in the early stages of planning the cohort: Indi McCasey, Jen Tremblay Chambers, Meghan, and Ivy Young.

Session List


Feb. 9, 2022: Getting to Know Ourselves and Each Other
Feb. 23, 2022: Understanding Our History
March 9, 2022: Understanding Your Organization
March 23, 2022: Moving Forward in the Field   
April 6, 2022: Tackling Power Dynamics at Your Organization
April 27, 2022: Anti-Racist Policies
May 11, 2022: Into Action
May 18, 2022: Final Reflection Session (optional)  

Each month, the cohort met as a full group with facilitators for deep learning around core themes. In between the full group sessions, participants met in smaller trios designed for extended reflection, learning, and relationship-building. Core themes included these topics:

  • The history of community arts education
  • Organizational power structures
  • Consequences of centering whiteness
  • Anti-racist policies and practices
  • Accountability to BIPOC communities

While collective liberation is a long-term process, each person who participated in the cohort was tasked with identifying one “small act of radical intent” (h/t EMC Arts) that they will begin to move forward, with support from this cohort, as part of their longer journey towards dismantling white supremacy culture in their community arts education organization and/or practice. 

Accessibility

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Closed captioning for cohort sessions was provided via Zoom. Facilitators and presenters were encouraged to verbally describe what was on screen and state their name before speaking.

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ASL interpretation was available by request only.

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This program was made possible through generous support from The Music Man Foundation.