As we approach Juneteenth 2022, I am writing to update you on GBH’s ongoing commitment and journey toward being an anti-racist organization. We stand against racism and inequity throughout our society and particularly here at GBH. We are committed to advancing understanding, dignity and justice. We are committed to addressing issues of race, diversity and inclusion at GBH and making this a better workplace for our Black and other employees of color.
It is clearly not enough to simply state our anti-racist stance, it’s our mission to continue to build structural inclusion into GBH’s policies and culture. Our words must be backed up with concrete actions that will address issues regarding diversity and race within GBH. As a purpose-driven enterprise, we bear a special responsibility and opportunity to demonstrate this commitment not just in the work we create, but in how we do the work.
To that end, here are some updates to our commitment issued in 2020:
● In May of 2021, we hired Yemisi Oloruntola-Coates as GBH’s first Chief Inclusion and Equity Officer with authority and resources to map and implement diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives across GBH. She created the Office of Inclusion and Equity that advances diversity, equity, inclusion and access in our work and on our teams.
● We expanded upon our definition of diversity, equity and inclusion by adding accessibility, hiring Donna Danielewski as our first Executive Director of Accessibility and moving toward an intersectional diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA) framework.
● While we have improved on the recruitment, hiring and retention of Black and other employees of color, especially among our boards and senior production units, we recognize that there is still more work that needs to be done. In August 2021, we released for the first time data on race and gender of our staff and boards. An update of our data was published in the Spring of 2022. Our leadership team and senior managers are being held accountable for increasing diversity within our workforce.
● We established the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (IDEA) Council and the Structural Inclusion Steering Committee (SISC), drawn from colleagues across the organization, to inform and advise me and the GBH leadership team on practices, policies and initiatives that can advance our equity and diversity aim.
● We implemented new training programs for all employees, addressing issues of micro-aggression, implicit bias and other subjects in order to be proactive allies, respectful colleagues, managers and leaders.
● We have formed employee resource groups with Executive sponsorship including Catalyst for our staff members of color and the first LGBTQ+ employee resource group.
● We continue to examine and clarify the process for staff to report instances of racism within GBH and hold all staff accountable for their behavior toward others. We are examining our respectful workplace policy and training so that they can be clarified and strengthened to incorporate an inclusive and equitable workplace.
● In 2022, we issued a Cultural Assessment Survey to all staff and are reviewing the findings now across the organization and planning for initiatives that will help lay the foundation for the inclusive workplace we aspire to build.
● We are in the process of developing a foundation-wide DEIA strategy of collecting data across five diversity criteria in our content creation: topic, voice, maker, audience and community engagement, and staff.
● We have begun gathering data to better understand the diversity of our suppliers and inform practices that lead to greater supplier diversity.
● We continue to identify activities and resources that expand and widen our community outreach to diverse audiences and communities, including through our program, The State of Race, our partnership with King Bostonon the Embrace Ideas Festival and in our newsroom, through various listening sessions being held in local neighborhoods.
These commitments are building blocks from which we expect other concrete steps to emerge. Our vision is to be a public media organization that responds to, represents and includes the diversity of our community so that we can all thrive.
For a list of resources and programming related to Juneteenth 2022, visit GBH’s Racial Justice: Coverage and Context page.