OMEA EQUITY ACTION PLAN

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Statement

The Ontario Music Educators’ Association (OMEA) prioritizes equitable and accessible music education. We recognize the deeply ingrained inequities within instruction, resources, and policies throughout the Ontario music education landscape. We acknowledge our position of privilege and are committed to interrogating and dismantling oppressive systems, and to replace them by creating learning spaces that champion music education for all. Together, we are redefining what music education means to our organization.

In June 2020, the OMEA released a statement in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, which included a commitment to critically examine our own institutional structures, view the ways in which our organization impacts equity and accessibility in music teaching and learning environments, and create sustainable systemic change. In accordance, the OMEA created the role of an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Director, and struck an EDI Committee composed of membership and Board members.

We are also committed to moving forward towards creating a just and equitable society through music education. We profoundly believe in the power of music education as a force for activism. We support our educators as they continue to work with and inspire their students to be agents of change through music.

Goals

1. Centre equity, diversity, and inclusion in facets of decision making, planning, and policies of the organization. The OMEA’s current focus is on- but not limited to- anti-racism, decolonization, and accessibility.

2. Build trusting relationships as the foundation of our work.

3. Create space to listen and learn from each other (our members/non-members), and amplify marginalized voices.

4. Centre transparency, sustainability, and accountability at the forefront of our work.

Accountability Framework

This framework is reflective of the OMEA’s current plans and will be updated as we make progress and identify room for further action.

Policies and Procedures

GOAL: Revise the OMEA ByLaw, Policies and Procedures, the ‘rules’ that drive our work, to be anti-oppressive, and to promote accessibility and inclusivity.

Actions Taken Thus Far:

  • EDI Policy and Procedure Advisory Committee worked with the OMEA legal committee to begin the process of updating the OMEA ByLaw (January 2020)
  • The OMEA Board and EDI Committee reviewed and revised the updated OMEA ByLaw (March – June 2021)
  • Elections Committee was established to revise the OMEA elections processes (initiated: May 2021)
  • New ByLaw was presented to the OMEA Board for adoption in principle, allowing a consultation with OMEA Membership to begin (June 2021)

Actions Planned:

  • Make all policies and procedures available to the OMEA membership in a centralized location on the OMEA website (ongoing, posting beginning in Summer 2021)
  • Craft and share a written Membership Policy (October 2021)
  • Ratify ByLaw at the Annual General Meeting (November 2021)
  • Craft a written Nomination, Elections and Terms Policy (September 2022)
  • Conduct a holistic review of all OMEA policies and procedures (ongoing, prioritized by group)

Intended Outcomes:

  • Ensures transparency of ByLaw with all members
  • Allows for the ongoing review and update of the OMEA procedures (ex. operationalizing of the ByLaw) in accordance with the new ByLaw, centring equity and accessibility
  • Aligns with legal requirements for a federal not-for-profit organization and Canadian charities
Partnerships and Affiliations

GOAL: Form sustainable and reciprocal relationships with local, provincial, and national organizations that have a vision for inclusive and accessible music teaching and learning.

Actions Taken Thus Far:

  • Partnership sub-group of the EDI Committee was formed to examine partnerships through the lens of equity, diversity, and inclusion (August 2020)
  • Affiliate Network meeting with a focus on EDI (March 2021)
    • Purpose: share ideas, perspectives, and plans for joint initiatives in a shared commitment to cultivating a more equitable, inclusive, and diverse music education landscape
  • Affiliate processes were reviewed and update to ensure accessibility and transparency (initiated: March 2021)

Actions Planned:

  • Make the revised affiliate process available on the OMEA website (Fall 2021)
  • Expand the scope of the our Affiliate Network to be inclusive of diverse music teaching and learning (Initiated: April 2021)
    • Use the strength and deeply-rooted commitment of our existing affiliates to collaboratively expand our collective network
    • Identify gaps in the kinds of partnerships that the OMEA currently has and work to meet the needs of those not yet involved
    • Connect with local, provincial, and national organizations to build holistic relationships of trust as the foundation of all of our partnerships
  • Collaborate with affiliates to offer EDI-specific music resources, learning opportunities, and more (ongoing, initiated: March 2021)

Intended Outcomes: 

  • Facilitates the creation of a network that values diverse voices and partners in all conversations; not exclusively those surrounding equity
  • Challenges the dominant narrative and redefines what music education means to the OMEA and how that is reflected through the relationships we are building
Resources

GOAL: Provide culturally responsive resources and learning opportunities to the OMEA membership, which are accessible through multiple entry points (eg. professional development, written resources, resources catered to various learning styles and experiences).

Actions Taken Thus Far:

  • Resource sub-group of the EDI Committee was formed to review all OMEA resources through the lens of EDI (August 2020)
  • Implemented regular EDI learning opportunities and action items at the OMEA Board Meetings (January 2021)
  • Received Secondary grant funding from the OSSTF and solicited the creation of more EDI-specific and culturally responsive membership resources (January – March 2021)
  • Received grant funding from the Canadian Music Educators’ Association for the creation of EDI-specific and culturally responsive elementary resources (March 2021)
  • Applied to grant funding to invite guest speakers and leaders to host professional development and learning opportunities for the membership (March 2021)
  • Launched an OMEA EDI Resource Creation Project for nine written resources (July 2021)

Actions Planned:

  • Collaborate with partners and affiliates in making diverse resources available to members (ongoing, initiated: March 2021)
  • Continue to review written resource content, formats, and resource creation processes in order to centre equity, decolonization, and diverse ways of knowing and doing (ongoing, initiated: July 2021)
    • Examine assessment methods, pedagogy, genre and culture-specific representation, etc.
  • Create and share a guiding document for resource selection that can support members in choosing appropriate resources based on their specific context (Fall 2021)
    • This tool can also be adapted for use in the process of reviewing and creating resources
  • Host a series of learning opportunities that are specific to EDI (ongoing, initiated: August 2021 with future dates and times TBD)

Intended Outcomes:

  • Provides members with tools to reflect on their practices and resources through the lens of equity and anti-oppression
  • Offers learning opportunities that cater to the diverse experiences and positions of our members
  • Includes and celebrates diverse musics in various areas of music education and performance
  • Avoids the use or creation of resources that engage with diverse musics and identities in ways that may cause harm (e.g. tokenism, cultural appropriation, etc.)
Communications

GOAL: Ensure transparency, inclusion, and accessibility in all areas of communication.

Actions Taken Thus Far:

  • Formed Communications sub-group and Publications sub-group of the EDI Committee to promote EDI goals in all communications and marketing materials (January 2021)
  • Created an EDI-specific section of The Recorder that acts as a space to amplify articles, reflections, and resources that relate to EDI topics (February 2021)
  • Built an Equity Action Plan and Accountability Framework (initiated: March 2021)
  • Established a branding toolkit for the OMEA that prioritizes accessibility (May 2021)
  • Shared Equity Action Plan in Spring issue of The Recorder (May 2021)
  • Posted Equity Action Plan and Accountability Framework to OMEA website (October 2021)

Actions Planned: 

  • Review website structures in order to ensure organization and accessibility (initiated: May 2021)
  • Post new and revised teaching resources and professional development opportunities to the OMEA website (ongoing)
  • Review scholarship and award applications to ensure inclusive practices (November 2021)

Intended Outcomes: 

  • Prioritizes accessible and clear communication
  • Ensures timely and transparent communications with the OMEA membership through various channels (ex. E-notes, social media, etc.)
  • Centres and amplifies diverse voices and topics in The Recorder
Conferences

GOAL: Host conferences with the integration of all EDI goals (as seen above).

Actions Taken Thus Far: 

  • Conference sub-group of the EDI Committee was formed to collaborate with the OMEA conference committees in ensuring the infusion of EDI practices in all future conferences (August 2020)
  • The EDI Committee collaborated with the Con Fuoco 2021 Clinicians Committee in the review of accepted clinicians (February 2021)
  • Review of Conference Planning Guide and practices (Summer, 2021)

Actions Planned: 

  • Involve EDI Committee members in future conference planning committees (ongoing, initiated: March 2021)
  • Examine conference accessibility for all members (ongoing, initiated: July 2021)

Intended Outcomes:

  • Provides multiple accessible entry points for conference participation (ex. attendee, workshop presenter, etc.)
  • Ensures that the conference is culturally responsive and is an accurate reflection of our membership and their music teaching and learning environments
Advocacy

GOAL: Champion intersectional advocacy that amplifies systemically underrepresented voices in the advancement of music education for all.

Actions Taken Thus Far: 

  • Published article in Recorder around SEL’s (socio-emotional learning skills) with the music curriculum (Katie Tremblay, Laura Lee Matthie, Isaac Moore, Summer 2021)
  • Connected with FNMIEAO (First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Educators Association of Ontario) and Indigenous community partners to collaborate on Indigenous music resources and decolonial music teaching and learning resources (ongoing, initiated: August 2020)

Actions Planned: 

  • Prioritize equity and accessibility in COVID-19 response (ongoing, initiated: March 2020)
  • Expand and develop the EDI portion of The Recorder with resources (ongoing, initiated: March 2021)
  • Develop EDI focused lessons and advocacy materials (ex. resource for Grade 7&8 on Indigenous/2-Spirit musics) (ongoing, initiated: May 2021)

Intended Outcomes: 

  • Ensures that all advocacy is an authentic reflection of the diverse population of learners in Ontario
  • Advocates for diverse approaches and broader perspectives in music education that challenge hierarchies, colonial practices, and inaccessibility
  • Builds community relationships to strengthen mutually beneficial approaches to music education
  • Examines and responds to needs in music education that are present in various facets of the education system including, but not limited to, public schools, post-secondary institutions and community-engaged music teaching and learning environments
Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee

GOAL: Offer a critical lens to examine the structures and practices within the OMEA, and work collaboratively in guiding future change.

Actions Taken Thus Far:

  • Established the OMEA Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee (June 2020)
  • Established sub-groups that are organized into various facets of the organization (August 2020)
    • Each sub-group works alongside corresponding Board Members and stakeholders
  • Collaborated with the Board of Directors in creating the call for an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion director (November 2020)
  • Nomination and Election Process to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Director (November 2020)

Actions Planned:

  • Regular meetings and support in the structures and practices of the OMEA (ongoing)

Intended Outcomes:

  • Responds to needs as they arise in a firm yet fluid commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion
    • This may take many forms and evolve over time in order to be responsive to the music education landscape in Ontario
  • Creates and sustains a culture in which the OMEA EDI Goals are embedded across all aspects of the organization
    • This is done with the recognition that our commitment to this work is a commitment to a moving finish line

Call for The Recorder“Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Music Education”

The Recorder is looking for contributions to an ongoing series highlighting “Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Music Education.” We welcome all types of submissions for this section including (but not limited to): short articles or sections of larger papers/assignments, opinion pieces, book reviews, resource reviews, community events, and reviews of workshops, professional development sessions, and guest speakers. We also want to include space for you to share your personal experiences working with EDI in the classroom, including “aha” moments and ideas about teaching music through an equitable lens. If you would like to submit for this section, please email The Recorder editor Jane Saunders recorder@omea.on.ca and quote the call for “EDI contributions” in the subject line. You can submit at any time, there is no closing date for this call. Looking forward to hearing from you!

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