Racial Equity

Grantmakers in the Arts (GIA) is committed to addressing structural inequities and increasing philanthropic and government support for African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, and Native American (ALAANA) artists and arts organizations. Racial equity is a lens through which GIA aims to conduct all of its work, as well as a specific area of its programming.

Since 2008, GIA has been elevating racial equity as a critical issue affecting the field. To actualize this work within the sector, GIA published its Racial Equity in Arts Philanthropy Statement of Purpose in 2015. Through webinars, articles, convenings, and conference sessions, GIA provides training and information to support arts funders in addressing historic and structural inequity.

When referring to issues of racial equity, GIA uses the racial and ethnic identifiers African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, and Native American. GIA does not ask that anyone self-identify with or use any term other than ones they prefer. We use African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, Native American – represented using the acronym ALAANA – because we believe the term, “people of color,” conflates together entire groups of people and as a contrast to white. This results in a continued centering of whiteness as the norm and the standard from which other identities deviate.

Similarly, GIA does not refer to organizations that are founded by, led by, and feature the work of ALAANA communities as “culturally-specific,” as we believe this term also centers whiteness as the norm from which other organizations deviate.

The term “ALANA” emerged from institutions of higher learning. Dr. Donald Brown, director of the Office of AHANA Student Programs at Boston College, developed the acronym which now is used at over 50 colleges and universities including Brown, Vassar, and Colgate.

“The term AHANA [ALANA] is not degrading, inaccurate, or stereotypical,” stated several undergraduate students to the Boston College Board of Trustees in 1978. “It is creative, unique, and symbolic of pride. AHANA [ALANA] was not developed to segregate its members from the remainder of the Campus community. It was developed to unite its members for the good of all and to inspire cultural awareness and destroy the void among students of different racial backgrounds. We do not want to feel ‘minor’.” The students argued that “minority” was an offensive and unacceptable term when applied to people of color.

At Canisius College, with the substitution of "Latino/a" for Hispanic, AHANA became ALANA. This change resulted from the fact that many people consider themselves Latinx rather than Hispanic. In the 2000s, GIA added a fourth “A” to include Arab Americans.

Our hope is that the terminology African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, and Native American (ALAANA) is received as naming and honoring every racialized group in the U.S. GIA recognizes that no terms are perfect. We do not seek to impose language on members of any group and respect the manner in which anyone prefers to self-identify.

March 9, 2010 by admin
The following is an excerpt from “Cultural Awareness in a Time of Crisis,” an introductory essay published for the conference “Bridging the Divide Between the United States and the Muslim World Through Arts and Ideas: Possibilities and Limitations,” presented by New York University Center for Dialogues, June 6–7, 2009. Read More...
February 26, 2010 by Abigail
April 2010, 224 pages, ISBN 978-0-9815593-5-3. New Village Press, PO Box 3049, Oakland, CA, 94609, 510-420-1361, www.newvillagepress.net Read More...
November 12, 2009 by Steve
On May 12th, more than 60 artists and creative organizers engaged in civic participation, community development, education, social justice activism, and philanthropy came together for a White House briefing on Art, Community, Social Justice, National Recovery. Read More...
November 12, 2009 by Steve
2010, 16 pages, The Urban Institute, 2100 M Street NW, Washington, D.C., 20037, (202) 833-7200 http://www.urban.org Download:    Arts and Non-arts Partnerships (2.1Mb) Read More...
November 12, 2009 by Steve
Independent Sector and the Foundation Center have partnered in developing this research, resulting in a quantitative study of social justice funding by 1,000 of the largest private and community foundations in the U.S. Read More...
July 13, 2009 by admin
2009, Americans for the Arts, 21 pages. Americans for the Arts, 1000 Vermont Avenue NW, 6th Floor, Washington, D.C., 20005, (202) 371-2830, www.artsusa.org. Download: Read More...
April 30, 2009 by admin
All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem. —Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Strength to Love, 1963 Read More...
April 30, 2009 by admin
Claudine Brown wants us to shore ourselves up with knowledge and examples of how much arts and culture are linked to everything we do. With this in mind, she offers us her own kit bag of reasons for sustaining arts and culture programs—and it's a big bag. Read More...
April 30, 2009 by admin
When presidents and CEOs of foundations try to balance a range of equally justifiable social agendas, where are the arts? Sponsored by GIA, six foundation leaders spent a day and a half together discussing just this topic in the summer of 2008. The relevance of their conversation and the preliminary conclusions they drew are perhaps even more urgent today than they were then, as foundations face increasingly serious questions of priority. Read More...
September 30, 2008 by admin
2008, 326 pages. Published by New Village Press, PO Box 3049 Oakland, CA, 94609, 
(510) 420-1361, www.newvillagepress.net Read More...