Equity, Inclusion, Diversity & Accessibility at CACP

We see creativity as a tool to build healthy communities, bridge divides, envision a better future, and dismantle oppressive systems. To this end, Compass Arts as an organization strives to:

  • See diversity, inclusion, accessibility, and equity as critical to ensuring the well-being of our staff and the arts communities we serve.
  • Recognize that not everyone has had equal access to the services and resources we provide and continue to work to make our programs more accessible through a variety of avenues.
  • Evaluate, acknowledge and dismantle inequities within our policies, systems, programs, and services, and continually update and report organization progress. This is an ongoing process for our organization as we continue to not only decolonize ourselves as individuals, but understand how the history of oppression has dictated the way in which systems and policies have been created.
  • Question assumptions to help recognize those that interfere with inclusiveness.
  • Advocate for and support board-level thinking about how systemic inequities impact our organization’s work, and how best to address that in a way that is consistent with our mission.
  • Challenge assumptions about what it takes to be a strong leader at our organization, and who is well-positioned to provide leadership. Explore the ideas of shared leadership and seek out ways in which cooperative leadership models can be implemented throughout the organization.
  • Practice transparent communication in all interactions, both internally and externally.
  • Commit time and resources to expand more diverse leadership within our board, staff, committee, and advisory bodies.
  • Continue to work on paying fair wages to all employees, guided by the MIT Living Wage Calculator.

As a predominately white organization, CACP understands the need to bring a more diverse range of voices into the organization to truly be equitable, inclusive and representative of the community to whom we provide services. To this end, CACP is committed to:

  • Pursuing training and learning opportunities that help us better understand our positionality, especially as one of privilege, within the system and learn ways in which we can shift our awareness to the impact of our actions and be more intentional in our communication, policies, organizational procedures, and our hiring, promoting, and evaluting processes. We see this as an ongoing process that will evolve as we grow and expand our programs, services, and staff.
  • Develop relationships with community members, organizations, local businesses, and community groups to build trust and to gain an understanding of all community needs and desires so that we may focus resources to expand offerings and opportunities for underrepresented constituents.
  • Seek the funding and opportunities to make our teaching space fully accessible to folks with physical disabilities.

Though our dreams and goals are big, we are a small organization consisting of one full-time employee (our executive director), a few part-time employees, and an array of additional teaching artists. We also have a board of directors in accordance with state and federal requirements for nonprofit organizations.

One of our goals is establishing workplace democracy as a worker self-directed nonprofit: a system that allows for significant power sharing and contributions from all workers by seeking alternatives to a standard leadership hierarchy. Our models in this regard include Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) and the Good Work Institute (GWI) in Kingston.

We acknowledge the challenge of trying to create a workplace where power sharing is the norm when a majority of workers are part-time. This is an ongoing learning process.

Transparency and open communication are important to us. We encourage honest feedback and try to create unobstructed opportunities for dialogue. We understand that conflict is inevitable in a healthy democratic organization; together, we are trying to educate ourselves to navigate conflict in a healthy and generative way.

As a nonprofit, there are no owners of Compass Arts. Instead, it is generally understood that an organization such as Compass Arts “belongs” to the community it serves. That means we all have a stake in the organization and a responsibility towards its larger purpose of building community.