DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION AT RTA
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
As an organization that works extensively with incarcerated people, we stand in solidarity with all people of color and all those oppressed by institutional inequality. As an arts organization, we are committed to telling the story of our shared humanity.
While structural racism and inequality are ingrained in every aspect of our society, these forces are particularly destructive in the criminal justice system. While RTA is not primarily an advocacy organization, we do have a role to play in countering racism and inequality.
Shifting the system from punishment to rehabilitation - The current prison system in the US is based on punishment, with roots in a slavery-era society. Through our creative arts program, we work towards and advocate for an approach based on human dignity rather than punishment.
Changing the narrative – We believe creating community support is an essential precursor to changing policy. We strive to create a platform for our alumni and incarcerated members to share their voices and for our community – participants, alumni, teaching artists, supporters, audience members – to challenge long-held assumptions about each other.
Reflection and change – We recognize that no one, and no organization is immune from the impact of institutionalized racism, and we are committed to holding ourselves to the highest standards. We offer regular DEI trainings for our staff, board of directors, and teaching artists, and we are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion at all levels of our organization.
The land upon which we gather is part of the traditional territory of the Lenni-Lenape, called “Lenapehoking.” The Lenape People lived in harmony with one another upon this territory for thousands of years. During the colonial era and early federal period, many were removed west and north, but some also remain among the continuing historical tribal communities of the region: The Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation; the Ramapough Lenape Nation; and the Powhatan Renape Nation, The Nanticoke of Millsboro Delaware, and the Lenape of Cheswold Delaware.
We acknowledge the Lenni-Lenape as the original people of this land and their continuing relationship with their territory. In our acknowledgment of the continued presence of Lenape people in their homeland, we affirm the aspiration of the great Lenape Chief Tamanend, that there be harmony between the indigenous people of this land and the descendants of the immigrants to this land, “as long as the rivers and creeks flow, and the sun, moon, and stars shine.”