In June of 2020, the Tenement Museum issued a statement committing ourselves and our institution to anti-racism work. In order to be transparent with our efforts, we committed to updating the public with an on-going progress report.
Tasked to lead the effort to actualize these anti-racism commitments was the IDEA Council, an already existing body of Tenement Museum staff who had come together to bring forward institutional change related to issues of Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility.
The first step the IDEA Council took was to connect with leadership from the People of Color Caucus and the White Anti-Racist Allies Caucus, who were instrumental in the crafting of the commitments. For the past five years, the caucuses have taken the initiative, often voluntarily, to lead anti-racist work at the Museum, creating tremendous change. After an initial meeting, everyone in the institution was invited to be a part of this process. Because this is ongoing work, collaboration and connection across the Museum is essential. Comprised of staff across departments and management levels, the IDEA Council has expanded in size and is prioritizing projects and initiatives directly related to the anti-racism commitments. We have divided our efforts into four working groups: Equitable Hiring and Retention, Training and Resources, Community Relationships, and Accountability.
The IDEA Council is working to support the fulfillment of these commitments with urgency, sincerity, and intention. Every three months, we will share a public progress report for each of the four Working Groups below.
After spending much of the first three months addressing the Museum’s anti-racism commitments goal setting and working to establish sustainable paths forward, we’ve focused the last three months prioritizing those goals and taking action in those identified areas. Led by our established working groups, we looked at where some of this work was already in progress (equitable hiring practices) and what felt most urgent (alternatives to using the police). In December, the Museum underwent additional staff reductions as we continue to respond to this unprecedented time, decreasing the numbers of staff members who were actively engaged in these projects. With that said, we recognize that doing the work to live up to our anti-racism statement and commitments is a long game and the Museum is committed to continuing to push forward.
Please click on the individual working groups to see our progress from the last three months: