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Alternative Models of Leadership

ALAANA/BIPOC people in Chicago live lives that are hugely impacted by unseen decision-makers. Key decisions about funding, hiring, promotion and representation are made every day at arts & culture tables, but in a manner that obscures from the view of or fails to consider the people directly impacted.

Today, 71% of board and decision-making staff at foundations and 74% at arts and culture organizations in Chicago identify as white, while our city’s population is only 32% white (Portrait of Inequity). Furthermore, even organizations with ALAANA/BIPOC leadership still often operate within the constructs of white supremacy.

The arts and culture sector has started to listen to and center the voices of ALAANA/BIPOC artists, through actions such as creating affinity groups or sharing solidarity statements, but often no decision-making power is shared, reducing this conversation to lip service. 

“Part of othering is who gets to decide. When one group decides for another group, that’s marginalization, and most likely, othering.”

— john powell, Othering & Belonging
Institute at UC Berkeley

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