Indy Racial Equity Pledge

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

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OUR PLEDGE TO THE COMMUNITY

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis (TCM) values all people. TCM commits to creating a long-term Diverse, Equitable, Accessible, and Inclusive (DEAI) culture to help build the community we aspire to live in. The Museum is also committed to serving as a safe, welcoming, and engaging community resource, to working for justice and human rights, and doing its part to improve DEAI within its community, including a commitment to educate children and families about anti-racism. TCM is proud of the progress it has made. However, the Museum must do more!

PLEDGE 1

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Create a more racially diverse workplace and foster a culture that values, respects, and celebrates the differences of each individual.

Focus Area: Workplace, Prosperity

The Museum pledges to strengthen our efforts to source and hire diverse staff, volunteer, and intern candidates at all levels of the organization and increase racial diversity among our staff and volunteer groups. We have set the expectation that every staff member and volunteer will engage in on-going education about the value of diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion and the role we each must play to advance these values at the Museum.

PROGRESS

2021

The Museum promoted Jennifer Pace Robinson to the position of President & CEO in May of 2021. Jennifer's long-standing commitment to elevating unheard voices, including differing and representative voices in decision-making, and her commitment to ensure that the Museum is for and about all children and families made her the ideal person for this leadership role. She has repeatedly emphasized the importance of DEAI as one of her main priorities.

The Museum conducted a diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion (DEAI) staff survey in August of 2020. It then retained DEI consultant, Demetria Miles McDonald, to assist with staff DEAI listening sessions and small group debrief sessions in late 2020 and early 2021. The aggregate results from the survey and the listening sessions were shared with staff and trustees in May of 2021. In June of 2021, we vetted individual applications from staff and volunteers to create an inclusive and representative group to participate on the DEAI Task Force (comprised of 26 diverse individuals from across the organization).

At the advice of Ms. McDonald, the Task Force--with the support of the board of trustees and in concert with the Executive Team--analyzed the feedback from the staff and volunteer survey, the listening sessions, and small group meetings. From those results we identified 5 areas of focus for our initial DEAI work:

  • Sourcing, recruiting, and retaining diverse staff, volunteers, and interns

  • Internal inclusion and communication

  • Establishing a DEAI learning culture

  • Equity and accessibility enhancements

  • Purposeful inclusion of those that live and work in the neighborhoods surrounding the museum

Each member of the DEAI task force completed the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) and is working with our consultant, Demetria Miles-McDonald, to develop their own individual inter- cultural development plan to systematically increase their skills in understanding and navigating cultural differences. Each task force member will be assigned an accountability partner to work in pairs to ensure goal completion.

The museum created a dedicated staff position, the DEAI Talent Acquisition Manager, to refocus and invest in additional diversity sourcing and recruiting measures to attract and retain top talent (staff, volunteers, and interns).

Each division vice president, associate vice president, and director has accepted the charge to establish annual individual DEAI goals and measurable work plans in each staff member's work plan. The museum has set the expectation that every staff member and volunteer will engage in on-going education about the value of diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion and the role we each must play to advance these values at the museum. Directors and AVPs has begun to include topics focusing on diversity, equity, inclusion, and cultural awareness into their monthly meetings. For example, the group read an article about the characteristics of a white supremacy culture and identified how it is perceived that the museum holds up white supremacy and how it operates.

The museum rolled-out the use of personal pronouns within our email system, name badges, meetings, and our regular practices.

In the coming months, the Task Force will conduct a DEAI audit of the organization as well as short-term and long-term DEAI planning in concert with strategic planning.

PLEDGE 2

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Increase spending with Black-, women-, and minority-owned businesses.

Focus Areas: Workplace, Prosperity

TCM will expand its work with women- and minority-owned businesses, including Black-owned businesses, with an emphasis on locally owned enterprises. Partners and products that demonstrate a commitment to DEAI will be given priority. Projects over $1M will require diverse spending goals and will be a focus of both the primary contractor and sub-contractor for projects of all sizes. On projects larger than $3M, goal setting for minority- and women-owned businesses will happen in consultation with the primary contractor and diverse business community.

PROGRESS

2021

  • We have updated all job descriptions to ensure that we include gender neutral language, appropriate inclusive language, and necessary minimum requirements.

  • We have developed additional relationships for sourcing with HBCUs, diversity hiring partners, and neighborhood colleagues.

  • We are attending job fairs and intern recruitment opportunities at colleges and universities that are representative of those audiences to expand our resource pool. In doing so, we are expanding our work with women- and minority-owned businesses, including Black-owned businesses, with an emphasis on locally owned enterprises.

The museum continues to identify ways to engage and work with minority and women-owned businesses. For large-scale projects over $1M, we are committed to a diversity spend. For projects over $3M, we will work with a construction management firm to identify goals for contracting amounts with minority and women-owned businesses.

Beyond setting goals for expenditure, the museum is working closely with several construction management firms to engage minority businesses on projects of all sizes via our bidding and procurement process.

For services, our RFP process now incorporates questions related to DEAI initiatives and commitments for each firm, providing insight into their overall approach to DEAI both as an organization and in their work-product.

While these initiatives are newer in their implementation, we are already seeing an increased level of engagement and spend, as well as an assurance that we are working with companies who share in our vision of success as it relates to DEAI.

PLEDGE 3

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Provide extraordinary family learning experiences that educate our community about systemic racism.

Focus Areas: Education

As an international leader in the field of family learning, it is incumbent upon The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis to do its part to improve DEAI within its ever-expanding community. This includes an ongoing commitment to creating extraordinary family learning experiences that address both historical and current issues of systemic racism and encourage intergenerational conversations about the importance of diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion.

To accomplish these initiatives and make lasting change, The Children’s Museum is willing to embrace new ideas, confront our own biases, have authentic conversations, invest resources, and acknowledge it’s okay to feel uncomfortable while doing so.

PROGRESS

2021

As an international leader in the field of intergenerational learning and education, TCM works hard to acknowledge and respect challenges in under-served communities and to help every family and every voice be heard. The museum created an interpretation program that shares ways families can express their feelings and have their voices heard through the act of peaceful protest. This program is an extension of our Power of Children exhibit, which features youth who suffered horrendous prejudice, bigotry, and life threatening challenges. Anne Frank used the power of WORDS, Ruby Bridges used the power of ACTION, Ryan White used the power of VOICE and Malala Yousafzai is using the power of EDUCATION to inspire change (note that the four create the acronym WAVE, which is part of the museum's waves of change initiative). TCM also features blogs that address the making WAVEs offerings.

The museum recently opened the Baseball Boundary Breakers exhibit. This exhibit highlights stories of athletes who faced adversity and discrimination, yet were able to succeed at the highest levels of America's favorite past time. From the first women and Black athletes to play professionally, to those who overcame physical challenges, visitors learn about incredible people who became trailblazers on and off the field in this new TCM exhibit.

Another important exhibit addresses the ongoing needs and interests of our community. Stories from Our Community currently features The Art of Protest. It focuses on the August 2020 creation--and subsequent vandalism--of a piece of public art in Indianapolis by 18 local Black artists in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Through this exhibit, families discover how artists' creations can evoke empathy and understanding of others' experiences by communicating stories, messages, and emotions that words alone cannot always express. Each of these exhibits and associated programs addresses historical and intergenerational issues of systemic racism and provides safe spaces in which families can have important conversations about what they can do to share the importance of diversity, equity, accessibility.

Join us in the important work of creating racial equity in Central Indiana.

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