In recent years across the Americas heightened awareness of systemic and global inequalities has catalyzed social movements; and the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed new and existing social and sectoral fault lines. In its January 2021 Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government, the Biden-Harris Administration stressed the need to address entrenched disparities in public policies. For the purposes of the Executive Order, it defines the term ‘equity’ as:
Towards a sustainable, equitable and inclusive future
the consistent and systematic fair, just, and impartial treatment of all individuals, including individuals who belong to underserved communities that have been denied such treatment, such as Black, Latino, and Indigenous and Native American persons, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other persons of color; members of religious minorities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) persons; persons with disabilities; persons who live in rural areas; and persons otherwise adversely affected by persistent poverty or inequality.¹
In alignment, the National Endowment for the Arts (USA) will develop a future strategy grounded in principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.
As co-hosts of the Americas Cultural Summit 2021 (ACS 2021) with the International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies (IFACCA), the National Endowment for the Arts invites delegates from across the region to join an online program to address how we can collectively lay foundations for a more sustainable, equitable and inclusive future for the Americas, and beyond.
The ACS 2021 will create space for delegates to address social and cultural fault lines that exacerbate inequities in the region; consider social and cultural equity as a shared responsibility; explore new and diverse practices for making more inclusive cultural policy; examine how we can strengthen and reinvigorate cultural access and participation across the full spectrum of society, as we rebuild our sectors in a post-COVID context; and demonstrate the potential for the arts and culture sector to provide leadership by example to other sectors.
During ACS 2021, a diverse range of participants will share their voices, experiences and ideas and invite each other to reimagine their roles in the cultural ecosystem and how their influence can help rebuild more vibrant, sustainable, open, and inclusive societies for our shared futures.
The program will include plenaries, response panel sessions, and moderated breakout sessions for group discussion. It will also include a series of creative interventions from artists and cultural practitioners; as well as opportunities to hear from national and international leaders on their vision for arts and culture in the Americas.