Statement on the Federation’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access Work

Passed July 16, 2021

The Federation of State Humanities Councils’ board of directors and staff are committed to furthering racial equity through diversity, equity, inclusion, and access work across our organization. 

In July 2019, the Federation board unanimously approved the following resolution: “the Federation affirms its commitment to address DEI by first developing and implementing a DEI strategy involving Federation board and staff and then assembling a task force to provide DEI leadership to councils.”

As the membership organization for the nation’s state and jurisdictional councils, the Federation of State Humanities Councils knows that our member councils exist to deepen our democracy by engaging the public with the humanities.  As the legislation that created the councils—the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act of 1965—states “democracy demands wisdom and vision in its citizens.” We also believe that building and strengthening democracy only works when diversity, equity, inclusion, and access are centered in that pursuit.

This belief, paired with the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and Tony McDade, and others, the Black Lives Matter Movement, and the disparities that have been exacerbated due to the COVID19 pandemic, are the catalyst for the Federation’s increasing focus on this work. The general responsibility for the Federation’s internal work will rest in the hands of the board and staff leadership of the Federation.

Our goals for this work include the following:

  1. Build a more diverse and inclusive organization whose board, staff, committees, and working groups reflect the diversity across our member councils and support councils as their work becomes more reflective of the communities where they are located.
  2. Commit to achieving racial equity by examining our own participation in maintaining systems of racial inequality as we draw on our own strengths and those of our partners and stakeholders.
  3. Identify and define our priorities and commit to learning through lenses of racial equity and decolonization where we will bring consistency between our stated values and practice.
  4. Encourage and actively support member councils, their executive directors, boards, and staffs to center diversity, equity, inclusion, and access in their strategic plans, policies and procedures, and programs.
  5. Actively support our member councils in their individual efforts to further diversity, equity, inclusion, and access by serving as a convener and a clearinghouse for ideas, best practices, questions, and discussion. The responsibility for the support of member councils will fall to the Federation’s Racial Equity Working Group, which is called upon to convene community members to connect them and support the energy and direction that emerges from participating councils.

In order to achieve these goals, the Federation board and staff will change its own structures, policies, and procedures so that as an organization it can live up to (and into!) its own ideals and commitments.