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This webpage is dedicated to transparency specifically around Taproot Theatre’s work towards racial equity and anti-racism. It is designed to foster accountability both within the organization and with our larger community. It’s a living document to be periodically updated in response to Taproot’s ongoing journey to learn, to grow, and to do better. We welcome your questions and your feedback as our partners in this journey.
Taproot Theatre Company is incorporated as both a non-profit theatre and a parachurch organization. A parachurch organization is a Christian faith-based organization which works outside of church oversight, and across denominations, while carrying out its mission. At Taproot Theatre, our core values listed above and our identity as a Christian community inform every part of our work. We strive to follow a long tradition of Christian churches and denominations who are actively at work in our world; loving God, loving people, and seeking to create spaces where all people can thrive.
Our commitment to pursue racial equity, true diversity, and greater inclusion within our organization is equally rooted in our Christian identity. We believe that each person is created and loved by God. It is this truth that compels us to change our own systems/structure as we pursue the radical love exemplified by Christ. For us, this work towards greater inclusion within our organization is just one of the many ways that we feel called to live out our faith. We do not do this perfectly; and when we fail, we are pledged to seek reconciliation, learn from our community, and implement change. As we strive to do better, we are grateful that we do not do this work in isolation.
As a historically white organization, Taproot acknowledges that we are complicit in the unjust and harmful system of white supremacy culture at work in our world. We commit to working toward being an anti-racist organization. As a part of this work, Taproot commits to:
WHERE WE ARE TODAY
Taproot continues to take steps to expand our understanding of structural racism and racial inequity. In 2020 we established an ongoing BIPOC Affinity Space and a White Learning Group as resources for Taproot staff. We’ve also implemented regular staff trainings, educational opportunities, and dedicated time for staff, artists, and board of directors to discuss what they have learned.
Staff Training and Education:
(divorcing) White Supremacy Culture. All Taproot staff are reading and discussing this series of readings created by Dr. Tema Okun.
Taproot all-staff training. Operationalizing Racial Equity and Understanding Institutional Racism with Tony Nabors
Talking Back series presented by artEquity. Taproot staff and other artists in the Taproot community gathered once a month to discuss the video episodes in this series.
Taproot leadership training. #StopAsianHate: Leading Anti-Racist Efforts in Organizations with Lily Zheng
Taproot leadership training. Decolonizing Theatre Basics with Groundwater Arts
Taproot leadership training. Finding the Keys: Antiracist Approaches for Radical Recruitment in the Arts by Sharifa Johka
Taproot leadership training. “Anti-Racist Theatre: A Foundational Course” by Nicole Brewer –sponsored by Seattle Theatre Leaders Group
Taproot all-staff training. The Foundations of a Social Justice Framework with Dr. Caprice Hollins, Co-founder of Cultural Connections
Equity and Inclusion in Casting with Kathy Hsieh with SIS Productions –sponsored by Taproot Theatre and open to Seattle theatre artists
Taproot leadership training. Centering People of Color in the Racial Equity Movement with Carmen Morgan (Founder and Executive director of artEquity)–sponsored by Theatre Puget Sound
Rehearsal Trainings. The John Perkins Center for Reconciliation, Leadership Training, and Community Development at Seattle Pacific University–customized trainings with Caenisha Warren and W. Tali Hairston
HOW WE APPLY THIS TO THE WORK OF TAPROOT THEATRE COMPANY
Specific actions and changes in practice and policy have grown out of what we are learning about ways to create a multi-cultural, anti-racist organization. Here are a few specific examples:
Working with the greater Seattle theatre community:
One of the first things we learned about the process of becoming an anti-racist organization is that we can’t do it alone. We are actively seeking partnership within the Seattle Theatre community to address shared inequities and create lasting, systemic change in the field of theatre.
GOALS FOR THE FUTURE
Taproot has much more work to do as we continue to acknowledge, understand, and change our role in the perpetuation of systemic racism. Here are some of the areas within our own organization that we are currently reviewing:
Interested in learning alongside Taproot Theatre?
Check out the resource page and find podcasts we’ve been listening to, videos we’ve been watching, and books we’ve been reading. We’ve included a downloadable list of terms defined throughout this article. We also encourage you to learn more about and support the amazing educators and organizations that we’ve link to on this webpage.
QUESTIONS? You can email us at email@example.com