New York -- Actors' Equity Association, the national union representing more than 51,000 professional actors and stage managers working in live theatre, released the following statement in regards to the news that the National Endowments of the Arts (NEA), will create a chief diversity officer for the first time in the agency’s history. 

“This is thrilling news for the future of the NEA, and we are grateful they heard the voices of the workers who asked them to create this role,” said Al Vincent, Jr. executive director of Actors’ Equity Association. “The NEA already does so much to serve communities in every congressional district of the United States and having a chief diversity officer will ensure there’s a stronger eye on equity in their allocations. The NEA is key to ensuring Americans from all backgrounds have opportunity to experience art locally and earn a living creating it. We look forward to working with NEA leadership to help drive inclusion further in their grantmaking process.” 

Background: Earlier last year, Equity joined with arts, entertainment and media industry unions to release a federal policy agenda for inclusion in the arts, which included a call for the NEA to hire a chief diversity officer to drive inclusion in the grantmaking process. Actors' Equity has also pushed for Congress to increase funding of the NEA to $1 per capita, or $331 million. 

Equity has also published several reports on diversity and inclusion in the industry, including one on how state and local arts agencies can incentivize DEI initiatives. 

ACTORS' EQUITY ASSOCIATION, founded in 1913, is the U.S. labor union that represents more than 51,000 professional actors and stage managers. Equity endeavors to advance the careers of its members by negotiating wages, improving working conditions and providing a wide range of benefits (health and pension included). Member: AFL-CIO, FIA.  #EquityWorks  

June 8, 2022