Statement from the Resounding Joy Board of Directors, passed December 19th, 2020. Includes diversity, equity, inclusion and access.
Resounding Joy (RJ) commits to championing policies and practices of equity that empower a just and inclusive society that lives up to its promise and ideal. These policies and practices align with Resounding Joy’s mission “to enhance the human experience through therapeutic applications of music.” Systemic and individual racism is in direct conflict with Resounding Joy’s core values, and the organization is committed to becoming part of the solution. We must all hold ourselves accountable, because acknowledging and challenging our inequities and working in partnership is necessary for meaningful action. The company is addressing racial equity from three perspectives: professional, organizational, and service-centric.
Systemic racism in the United States unequally grants resources and access, and perpetuates injustice. Equity is critical to the long-term viability of the music therapy profession and the nonprofit world. In an effort to ensure that music therapists receive the proper training to address the emotional, physical, and cognitive health of clients, organizations such as the American Music Therapy Association and Certification Board of Music Therapists require an approved bachelor’s degree (rarely offered at public colleges) and a six-month full-time internship, followed by a written exam (available only in English). RJ acknowledges that these financial and language barriers perpetuate underrepresentation of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) music therapists in the field.
- The RJ Staff will make a minimum of four presentations annually to local high schools and/or public colleges and/or their students to advocate for the inclusion of music therapy degrees or inform students of music therapy career options.
- The RJ Staff will continue to advocate to make the music therapy internship accessible to students of color and will seek host family housing options and offer free grant editing whenever possible.
- The RJ Staff will learn from organizations such as the Black Music Therapy Network, promote their available resources, and amplify their voices on social media networks and other marketing channels.
- The RJ Staff will participate in and promote virtual music therapy conferences, which offer a more accessible option to disadvantaged students and professionals.
- The RJ Staff will promote education about the BIPOC experience from BIPOC voices and awareness of how this experience could shape an effective music therapy session.
Resounding Joy supports policies and actions that promote justice, fairness, and respect for all people everywhere. To provide informed leadership for diversity, equity, and inclusion, we strive to pursue cultural consciousness throughout our organization through substantive learning and transparent policies that ensure all people are treated with dignity—including, but not limited to, those who have been historically underrepresented based on race/ethnicity, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, nationality, citizenship status, or religion. The Board of Directors is actively expanding and diversifying its board and advisory bodies to represent the communities that the organization serves.
- RJ will take corrective action to address all instances of bias, inequity, and discrimination in the organization. RJ will acknowledge and dismantle any policy, program, and service that perpetuates or fails to counter inequity, and report progress to our Board of Directors.
- RJ will maintain a policy that each board member make an individual donation significant to them, not requiring a set minimum donation amount. The Board of Directors will conduct meetings virtually to increase accessibility, when possible.
- The Chief Executive Officer will dedicate staff time and education to equity training. This opportunity is provided through an employee’s annual continuing education. The Music Therapy Team will periodically examine the field’s standards and practices for preconceptions and biases and share any learning amongst one another.
- The Advocacy Committee will include one staff member and one or more community representatives drawn from client populations. We will advocate for public and private-sector policies regarding music therapy that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- RJ will include the Kumeyaay Nation‘s preferred indigenous land acknowledgement in our Music Wellness Center location information.
- The Board of Directors will support diversity, equity, and inclusion in their strategic planning, not only including the racial equity goals in this statement, but also LGBTQ+ populations, people with disabilities, women, and other marginalized groups.
Resounding Joy seeks to make music therapy sessions accessible and familiar to BIPOC. We aim to make our sessions a safe space for any client to freely express their emotions and concerns, and meet them with validation and support. RJ recognizes that equitable access to music therapy requires not only lowering or eliminating financial barriers, but also outreach to marginalized communities to create partnerships and collaborations.
- RJ Staff and the Board of Directors will intentionally pursue networking with local organizations that show a commitment to racial equity.
- The Marketing Team will adapt its online presence to Spanish speakers, including developing a Spanish-language landing page for the website.
- Music Therapists will continue to translate (or seek translations) consent forms and privacy policies to other languages, including Spanish and Arabic.
- Program evaluation surveys will be offered in Spanish and specifically invite comments on ways the organization can improve racial equity.
- The RJ Staff will collect racial demographic information from clients, and take action to address any disparities as compared to published population data.
- RJ will seek community partnerships and grant funding opportunities to expand access to music therapy for BIPOC communities.
- Clients will have a choice between telehealth and in-person services (in accordance with COVID-19 regulations) to ensure the highest level of accessibility.
Resounding Joy will use these perspectives to improve racial equity within the field of music therapy, at the organizational level, and as a service to our clients. This effort will compound with the Staff and Board of Directors’ pursuit of accessibility for all marginalized communities with special attention to intersectionality. RJ believes that every person deserves access to music therapy services that are sensitive to their perspectives, needs, and goals, and the Staff and Board of Directors has a responsibility to perform the introspective and educational work to ensure that clients receive just that.