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.
Delicia Raveenthrarjan first joined the Ontario Music Educators’ Association’s (OMEA) Board of Directors in 2020 as the inaugural director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. Delicia’s lived experience, understanding, leadership, and vision helped her guide the OMEA board and its members through the process of creating documents that would help propel the organization forward in examining practices, policies, and revising our thinking around equity, diversity, and inclusion in our organization in order for us to better serve our music students in Ontario. Delicia’s grassroot work has been foundational as we move forward in continuing to grow in our understanding of supporting all our students.
As a result of the solid foundation Delicia set, we are 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.
For more information about all of the actions the OMEA, the EDI Director(s) and the EDI Committee have completed since the Equity Action Plan’s inception in June 2020, please see this document.
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.
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’ and ‘ways of doing’ that drive our work, to be anti-oppressive, and to promote accessibility and inclusivity.
- Director Travel and Expense Reimbursement Policy was crafted and adopted by the board. A written policy was made available on the OMEA website. (revised June 2023)
- Revised OMEA values to reflect ever-developing understanding of anti-oppressive, accessible, and inclusive policies and practices in music education (ongoing)
- Conduct a holistic review of all OMEA policies and procedures
- 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
Connections 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.
- Regular feedback sought from Affiliates for Board reports
- Expand the scope of 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
- 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
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).
- Creation of Resource Editor (Katie Nicholl) who ensures any resources that are out-of-date are archived. They review existing resources to ensure they meet Equitable and Inclusive Resources Selection Guidelines. The creator(s) of those resources that do not meet this standard is contacted to adapt the resource to maintain compliance with guidelines.
- Created a resource selection guide: “Equitable and Inclusive Music Education: Resource Selection Guide” and accompanying webinar (September 2022)
- EDI Speakers Series (funds from the CMEA to support our learning)
Initiated: Spring 2022; future dates TBD
- Review written resource content, formats, and resource creation processes in order to centre equity, decolonization, and diverse ways of knowing and doing
- 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.)
GOAL: Ensure transparency, inclusion, and accessibility in all areas of communication.
- A request for submissions is routinely included in The Recorder
- Please email email@example.com for more information
- Ongoing promotion of EDI-specific section of The Recorder, a space to amplify articles, reflections, and resources that relate to EDI topics
- Post new and revised teaching resources and professional development opportunities to the OMEA website
- Prioritizes accessible and clear communication
- Ensures timely and transparent communications with the OMEA membership through various channels (eg. E-notes, social media, etc.)
- Centres and amplifies diverse voices and topics in The Recorder
GOAL: Host conferences with the integration of all EDI goals (as seen above).
- 2 EDI committee representatives sat on 2022 conference committee
- Term CLINICIAN evolved to Workshop Presenter for 2022 and future conferences
- EDI Committee members involved planning all future conferences
- Examine conference accessibility for all members
- EDI Subcommittee member to review conference planning manual to ensure any/all considerations are flagged and revised, if necessary
- 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 membership and their music teaching and learning environments
GOAL: Champion intersectional advocacy that amplifies systemically underrepresented voices in the advancement of music education for all.
- Advocacy Issue of The Recorder (Spring 2023)
- Social media infographics highlighting Advocacy points and strategies for teachers
- Attended conferences on Advancing Indigenous Representation on Turtle Island (BCMEA and CMEA also present)
- Published EDI Book Review in the Recorder and additional articles with EDI focus and/or inclusion
- Refocusing our Advocacy strategy to include:
- moving from a reactive stance to a proactive one where we start the conversation about the importance of music education rather than putting us in relation to other issues
- moving to an additive mindset instead of a scarcity or adversarial one, working together with everyone to advocate for music education
- focusing on more on interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches to music education, including supporting generalist teachers
- decentering of Euro-Centric music practices to prioritize multiple ways of knowing in our music classrooms
- Examines, responds, and brings awareness 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
- 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
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.
- Three Interim Directors chosen to co-facilitate the EDI Director role – March 2023
- All three have accepted renomination for Interim Director positions through to AGM in November 2024
- Update Equity Action Plan on OMEA’s website to ensure it reflects current practices and initiatives (Dec. 2023)
- Distribution of Self-Identification Survey to collect demographic data about OMEA’s membership to ensure equitable, diverse, and inclusive programming in future conferences, resources, and other initiatives
- Creation and sourcing of EDI content for The Recorder
- Regular meetings and support in the structures and practices of the OMEA
- Propose, develop, and/or support EDI-focused resources, PD, and speakers
- 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
- See other portfolios for additional information about specific work done as it relates to areas across our organization
- This is done with the recognition that our commitment to this work is a commitment to a moving finish line
- Email Alycia Pindar for information on how to join the EDI Committee and have a say in shaping your OMEA.
NEW Equity Resource: “Equitable and Inclusive Music Education: Resource Selection Guidelines (Guide / Companion Webinar)”
This document and companion webinar aims to support music educators in the selection and use of resources by centering equity, diversity, and inclusion. Educators will be encouraged to consider their and their learners’ identities and positionalities in order to ensure the creation of responsive and relevant music education environments. We invite educators to extend the application of this framework to other aspects of education and music-making practices.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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