WASHINGTON, DC – On Wednesday, at the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies hearing on the FY 2023 budget, Chairs Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and Shelly Lowe of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced their intentions to establish Chief Diversity Officer positions within their respective agencies. This move will help ensure a more equitable allocation of federal arts grants and support career opportunities in America’s creative economy for people from communities that are underrepresented in our industries.
Kimberly Butler-Gilkeson, co-chair of IATSE’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee said, “As working members in the arts, entertainment & media industries, we see first-hand how funding from the NEA and NEH can affect change and foster creative growth for an arts program in need of support. Our organization feels strongly that it is the duty of the NEA and NEH to bring this work to as many diverse sections of the population as possible.”
Liz Pecos, International Representative and co-chair of IATSE’s DEI Committee said, “Diversity in the arts, entertainment and media industries cannot be successful unless current systems of access are enhanced. As a committee dedicated to facilitating cultural change that intentionally values a diversity of perspectives, backgrounds, and beliefs, we applaud the NEA and NEH for taking steps toward fostering DEI in the arts and humanities. The establishment of Chief Diversity Officers was a key proposal in the DPE policy agenda for advancing DEI in our industries, and we acknowledge the importance of this progress.”
In February 2021, the entertainment unions of the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE) announced our joint Policy Agenda for Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Arts, Entertainment, and Media Industries. Our collective advocacy served as a driving force behind this change, as the DPE policy agenda was among the first to call for Chief Diversity Officer roles at the NEA and NEH.IATSE praises the leadership of NEA Chair Dr. Jackson and NEH Chair Lowe for acting on our recommendation and taking steps to foster a more inclusive and representative entertainment industry.
Equity and inclusion are essential, not only as a matter of doing what is right, but also for the long-term sustainability of the creative sector.