Preparing for Change
The cultural revolution of the last two years has sparked heightened awareness and demand for action around equity and inclusion in the opera field. To meet these demands, many opera companies have expressed a commitment to creating and implementing comprehensive EDI plans — but much like any change that addresses deeply rooted structures, opera companies must first take on the challenging task of self-reflection in order to develop realistic, shared expectations for equity plans. No one truly knows what this work requires until they are in the throes of it. Equity cannot be achieved through a neatly packaged manual, complete with comfortable instructions, comprehensive summaries, and a checklist. However, there are substantial steps to begin this work. OPERA America Social Justice Advisor Quodesia Johnson met with Andrea Joy Pearson, director of belonging and inclusion at Opera Omaha; Alina Santillan, director of Seattle Arts & Culture for Anti-Racism; and Marta Torres, manager of partnerships and transformation at Dallas Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation, to discuss the successful practices for engaging in the radical nature of social and racial equity work.