Webinars and Videos on Racial Diversity

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Building a Race Equity Culture in Classical Music Organizations

Presented by Kerrien Suarez, Executive Director of Equity in the Center

Webinar from Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Kerrien SuarezLearn about the Race Equity Cycle – a framework designed to support leaders as they build and expand their organization’s capacity to advance race equity. Kerrien Suarez talks through the seven “levers” that provide clear management and operational tactics to leaders as they develop a clear understanding of what is required to build a Race Equity Culture. 

Watch webinar


To accompany the webinar, below is a list of resources referenced and compiled by Kerrien Suarez that will aid orchestras on their journey to build a race equity culture within their own organizations.


Equity in the Center Resources


EiC’s Woke@Work Blogs Posts




Equity Tools


Resources to Support Equity Learning Objectives



  • Service Never Sleeps offers training on intersectional allyship and white allyship rooted in an analysis of structural oppression.
  • PISAB – “Undoing Racism” training focuses on “undoing” internalized racial oppression and understanding the role of organizational gate keeping as a mechanism for perpetuating racism.
  • Race Forward – Unlike “diversity trainings,” which primarily focus on interpersonal relations and understanding, the Building Racial Equity trainings emphasize how to challenge and change institutional racial inequities rooted in structural racism.
  • Racial Equity Institute does several different trainings for individuals/organizations. The workshops speak to the historical context of race/racism in the U.S., and are designed to help individuals and institutions practice reframing problems and determining solutions with a racial equity lens. Their approach is particularly data-rich and strongly recommended for board members and corporate audiences who need the “case” for race equity made.
  • Interaction Institute for Social Change provides a range of trainings on historical, structural and institutional racism, and how they manifest in organizations.


This webinar was made possible by generous grants from American Express, the Howard Gilman Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Image of Kerrien Suarez: Lydia Carlis/C-Suite Pics


Anti-Black Racism in American Orchestras

During our Online Conference 2020, Aaron Flagg, D.M.A., Chair of the League’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Committee and Chair and Associate Director, Juilliard Jazz Studies Program, leads this session that explores racism’s connection to orchestras, what orchestras can do about it, and how the League’s EDI Committee is engaging with and learning about racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion. Dr. Flagg was joined by members of the League’s EDI Committee of the Board. View the recording.

Conference Sessions: 2017 Detroit and 2016 Baltimore

Conference 2017 — Detroit Rising / Transformation in American Orchestras

The League’s 72nd National Conference took place in Detroit, June 6-8, 2017. Sessions included:

  • The 2017 Diversity Forum was the League’s third national convening of leaders from the field to address strategic priorities including a national diversity audition fund, national instrumentalist mentorship and audition training, field-wide board and staff diversity, and music education pathways.
  • Diversity and Inclusion in Action
  • No Sound Barriers: Sphinx at 20

Conference 2016 — The Richness of Difference

Nearly 1,000 orchestra administrators, musicians, trustees, and volunteers gathered in Baltimore for the League's 71st National Conference June 9-11. This year's conference focused on diversity, particularly as it relates to increasing the involvement of members of underrepresented communities in all aspects of our orchestras—on stage, in the board room and the executive offices, and in the audience.


Powerful address on diversity from The Honorable Elijah Cummings, U.S. Representative (MD-7)


Keynote speaker Earl Lewis, President of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation


Address from DeRay Mckesson, civil rights activist; Address from Dr. Monique Chism, deputy assistant secretary for policy and programs, OESE, U.S. Department of Education; Closing Luncheon Remarks and Panel



Case study of the nation's largest El Sistema-inspired program, OrchKids



Developing Your Diversity Plan




Session on Resourcing Diversity Work with Janet Brown, president & CEO, Grantmakers in the Arts; Susan Feder, program officer, performing arts, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Marian Godfrey, cultural advisor, Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation; Edwin Torres, deputy commissioner, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs


Session on Inclusive Leadership with Andrés Tapia, senior client partner, Korn Ferry Hay Group and author of The Inclusion Paradox - 2nd Edition: The Obama Era and the Transformation of Global Diversity.



Music Unwound: Connecting Underrepresented Communities to Orchestras through the Humanities



Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra/Cincinnati Conservatory of Music Diversity Fellowship overview