CYSO’s Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

After more than a year of hard work and input from CYSO families, staff, and board, CYSO is proud to share our new equity, diversity, and inclusion statement:
CYSO’s dedication to equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) is inseparable from our commitment to musical excellence. We value the unique role and contribution of every one of our musicians and recognize that we will only create world-class music when each member of the ensemble can participate to their fullest potential. CYSO supports the personal and musical growth of our students, honors all voices, and stands in solidarity with our students, families, and community members to dismantle the systems that create inequality in music. Students come to CYSO through their common love of music, but quickly learn that they have so much more than music in common. The experience of sharing the stage with a diverse group of peers equips them to excel as the next generation of leaders.
We know that the terms equity, diversity, and inclusion may mean different things to different people. For the purposes of CYSO’s work, here’s what we mean by each term, paraphrased these definitions from our friends at the League of American Orchestras.

  • Equity – a commitment to justice, impartiality, and fairness in the way CYSO engages and supports students. Ensuring equity requires that we consider each student’s unique situation and the root causes of disparities within our community. That means examining how and where power and resources live (and are absent) in our community.
  • Diversity – the differences within a group of people. Differences aren’t good or bad, but some groups have more power than others in our society. We celebrate diversity in age, differing bodies and abilities, education, ethnicity, gender identity & expression, geographic location, marital & family status, national origin & immigration status, race, religion, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status/economic background. No individual can be “diverse.” It takes many people to create a “diverse” group.
  • Inclusion –  making sure people from all backgrounds and identities can and do participate fully in CYSO. While a truly “inclusive” group is necessarily diverse, a “diverse” group may or may not be “inclusive.” Inclusion creates a sense of connectedness among all CYSO families.

This new statement will put our values at the center of decision making as we continue important EDI work moving forward. It is intended to be a living document and we anticipate it will be revised over the coming years as we learn and grow as a community.

CYSO staff attending a training with New Roots facilitators Yvonnie DuBose, Andrew Hong, and Sarah E. Dennis

An example of how students from one orchestra annotated the new EDI statement while discussing its meaning

This fall, CYSO has been working with facilitators from New Roots to provide an introduction to our EDI commitments and antiracist/antibias practices for all students, staff, and board members, as well as leading racial healing circles to give space and time to practice having important “color brave” conversations amongst staff, families, and the greater CYSO community. Stay tuned for more on these sessions soon.
For more information on this work and some of the projects CYSO has undertaken recently, visit the newly-launched Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion page on our website.
If you have thoughts or concerns about CYSO’s EDI work, please contact Karen Mari.

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