ATCA Statement of Action

Critics Support Anti-Racist Organization

By: - Jun 27, 2020

Artists, administrators and artistic institutions are being asked to recognize how they uphold and support systems of white supremacy within the arts. As members of The American Theatre Critics Association, journalists and critics who cover this industry, we include ourselves and our organization in this self-examination.

Some of our members and colleagues have made choices that uphold racist systems. Whether a critic or editor is a member of ATCA, we cannot move forward as a profession without acknowledging, addressing and changing these behaviors. We are committed to making ATCA an anti-racist organization. As members, we take responsibility for how we monitor ourselves internally and educate ourselves thoroughly.

We also acknowledge that ATCA has not always been a welcoming place for Black, Indigenous and POC journalists and critics. We are sorry we did not act sooner to address microaggressions and uncomfortable situations experienced by some of our members of color. We work to make ATCA an organization in which all theater critics and journalists can proudly claim membership. 

Under the leadership of ATCA’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee, ATCA has created extensive resources: a database of professional theater critics who are BIPOC, women and/or trans/nonbinary, which is open to all regardless of ATCA membership; a central list of resources on the coverage of race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, ability and mental health, and religion and beliefs. One of our goals is to offer resources for ATCA members and other theater writers at all stages of their careers in equity, diversity and inclusion to serve underrepresented communities with culturally competent coverage of their work.

However, this is not about the work we’ve done. This is about the work we still need to do to make ATCA an organization that fully represents our profession. We continue our efforts to diversify our membership, to promote equity in our leadership, and to invite new voices into our ranks. We commit to ongoing recruitment and retention of BIPOC members, and to collegial learning through seminars and convenings, to make our organization representative of the entire profession, and to envision a more equitable future.

We recognize that recruitment of BIPOC members is not enough. We commit to work to make those members feel welcomed, valued and heard. We recognize that allyship goes beyond saying the right things, and we pledge to create space for our community to hold us accountable in our efforts to make ATCA into a more equitable and anti-racist institution. We promise to listen and to learn from criticism in the spirit of growth and change, and not to deflect or excuse. — American Theatre Critics Association Executive Committee, June 18, 202