Racial Equity Statement
The CAC’s equity goal is to create a sense of belonging that is so palpable, it is universally experienced. Pursuit of justice in this arena benefits everyone by taking a critical eye to systems of oppression – systems that undercut fairness across multiple demographics, conditions, and experiences. By prioritizing attention to racial equity, everyone will benefit because racial injustice is the most pervasive and entrenched form of injustice permeating the institutions and systems that everyone must access.
Land Acknowledgement from California Arts Council Member, Gerald Clarke
The California Arts Council acknowledges the original inhabitants of the lands now called California and that California continues to be home to many Indigenous communities. Generations of tribal communities developed deep understandings of the land and continue long standing relationships with the land, water, air, plant and animal beings through ceremony, culture, and stewardship. These communities are not only an important part of our history as contemporary Californian’s but are also important voices in our understanding of this place.
In acknowledging the violent history of the founding of the State of California, its support of state sponsored genocide, the misrepresentation of Indigenous peoples and their culture, and the erasure of their contributions to our shared history, we at the California Arts Council recognize our responsibility to these Indigenous communities and we are compelled to support tribes, tribal organizations and related organizations (including arts organizations) in their efforts to uplift Indigenous people and communities.
With these ideals in mind, we recognize today that the California Arts Council is a statewide organization with staff and council members residing in numerous occupied territories of tribal nations and its offices are located on the traditional homelands of the Maidu, Miwok, Nisenan, Patwin and Wintun peoples of the Sacramento region, and to also acknowledge and honor the Wilton Rancheria, the only federally recognized tribe in Sacramento County.
Racial Equity Statement
As California’s state arts agency, the California Arts Council is committed to racial equity.
- We are committed to ensuring that every policy enacted reflects democratic principles of equity and justice.
- We understand that enacting policy in a just and equitable manner considers critical issues of implicit bias and discrimination that requires concerted and purposeful action.
- We believe that bringing together Council, staff and other partners with differing backgrounds and life experiences will enhance our ability to increase opportunities for all arts service organizations to succeed.
- Policies, programs, and activities will be administered to identify and avoid discrimination and barriers to access, and to avoid disproportionately high and adverse effects on communities of color.
- Accountability to our grantees is of central importance to us. We understand the significance of evaluating the impact of our policymaking on grantees over time and utilizing this evaluation in the development of new policy initiatives. We are committed to the just and equitable disbursement of resources.
- We will obtain the following information when relevant and appropriate in order to utilize data to evaluate the impact of our equity goals: population served and/or affected by race, color, national origin, and income level, which will include diverse communities across the state such as: communities of color, racially and ethnically diverse individuals, tribal communities, immigrant and refugee communities, and communities that have principal languages other than English.
Building a race equity culture requires intention and effort. This CAC Racial Equity Statement should inspire greater collaboration in policymaking, strengthen public will and input, and develop policymaking that has a strong commitment to advancing equity. Led by our Racial Equity Statement, we will fully integrate race equity into every aspect of our operations and programs and work toward the dismantling of structural racism wherever we encounter it and improving CAC outcomes for all.
Why should government lead with race?
From the inception of our country, government at the local, regional, state and federal level has played a role in creating and maintaining racial inequity. Despite progress in addressing explicit discrimination, racial inequities continue to be deep, pervasive and persistent across the country. Government can implement policy change at multiple levels and across multiple sectors to drive larger systemic change. It is important to note that to achieve long-term impact, changes must be sustainable. Working for racial equity at the state, local and regional level can allow for meaningful education with community and other institutions that will ensure sustainability. (Source: Government Alliance on Race & Equity)