Racial Equity Statement

Statement of Purpose:

We recognize that within the current public pre-K-12 education system there is inequitable access to the arts. Particularly, African American, Latinx and Indigenous students experience significant barriers to access, participation and success in arts learning that are directly linked to pervasive racial inequities in our educational system[1]. We believe every student has a right to a well-rounded education that includes the arts and the benefits they bring. Our commitment is to work to address root causes of inequities, including elimination of policies, practices, attitudes, and cultural messages that allow detrimental outcomes to persist.

Why We Ground Our Work in Racial Equity:

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. Getting to the root causes of racial inequities reveals the underpinnings of other inequities related to income, gender, disability status and sexual identity. These inequities intersect and create formidable systems of oppression. We work for systemic change. 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. Even in times of societal challenge and hardship, the commitment to equity must remain strong – thereby interrupting a pattern detrimentally impacting those who are already most marginalized. 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[2]. The Alliance advocates for adherence to the California Education Code; and through its programs, works to ensure the state and every district is providing their students with a high quality, comprehensive education that includes a strong arts program, complete with instruction by credentialed arts teachers and by arts providers as well as arts integration strategies implemented across the curriculum. We will apply a lens of race equity to how we shape our internal operations and external programs.

The California Alliance for Arts Education was founded in 1973 in response to equity issues resulting from drastic cuts in both teaching positions and the availability of arts education. We have since expanded our partners in the fight for equity to include a broader set of stakeholders reflected in our Policy Council members. Our commitment to equity will continue to evolve as we advocate for high quality arts education for all students by providing policy expertise and by mobilizing a statewide network of advocates and allied partners. We continually expand our partnerships to work with other organizations who are working on racial equity. Through our collective efforts we work toward dismantling structural racism in its varied forms and improve outcomes for all.

[1] Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race & Ethnicity The Ohio State University

[2] Government Alliance on Race & Equity


The California Alliance for Arts Education is committed to a board-adopted Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Policy, which includes the following:

  • The Alliance commits to developing our programs so they are inclusive of advocates that represent many different perspectives, especially those from underrepresented groups.
  • Board members and executive leaders value diverse points of view as essential to establishing the Alliance as a leader in arts education advocacy and policy and to serving our entire state.
  • We are committed to increasing the diversity of our board and Policy Council to better reflect the demographics of the students in California public schools today.
  • We seek to expand our Policy Council to include the voices and perspectives of a more diverse range of organizations, beyond the traditional arts education stakeholders. 
  • Staff values ideas from individuals from a diverse set of backgrounds as essential to developing a successful arts education advocacy and policy organization.
  • The Alliance promotes a working environment that values fairness, openness, loyalty to our mission, and a commitment to excellence. We strive to be fair and inclusive in our hiring and promotion policies and practices for all positions.
  • We strive to create a working environment where we can discuss the opportunities and challenges around identifying a more diverse talent pool for staff and consultant roles. 
  • Advancing racial equity as we serve a diverse student body is central to our mission. We believe every student deserves to experience the arts and special efforts must be made to reach students in schools where a well-rounded education has not been provided.
  • We commit to ground our work in data-driven, evidence-based methods, that will guide our decision-making, program development and promotion of promising practices.
  • The Alliance supports the Declaration of the Rights of All Students to Equity in Arts Learning, and we are committed to promoting arts learning that embraces community resources, and that creates opportunities for students to contribute to the design of their learning. Our framework of racial equity provides intersections with and opportunities to disrupt additional layers of inequities named in the Declaration associated with background, culture, language or geographic location as well as with disability.
  • We strive to continue to refine this policy as we learn and grow as an organization. Board and staff intend to devote much more time and careful consideration to addressing these issues in a more comprehensive fashion and the statement and policies will be revised over time.