Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee

Statement from DEI Committee Chair, Christine Toy Johnson:

Christine Toy Johnson

“In 2017, I proposed that the Guild form this committee as an official extension of core principles that were already in action. I saw that the committee’s work could not only take the opportunity to publicly express the Dramatists Guild’s commitment to these issues, both within our membership and within the entertainment industry at large, but to also focus and organize our goals and ensuing actions pertaining to expanding the landscape of American storytelling.

Our first impulse was to create something that would express ‘best practices’ for producers/artistic directors/actors/marketing departments/critics/writers to use when doing a culturally specific work. We decided that a broader tactic, coming through an arguably more productive, positive and less judgmental lens would be to develop a ‘tool kit’ instead; giving our members resources from which to draw when creating a culturally specific work. But how and what could be the most efficient/effective way to do this? After talking through many scenarios, the committee decided that we needed to go forward with an accessible, tangible and fluid form of it: less preachy and more interactive in a very immediate way. And so – we are now in the process of creating ‘The Dramatists Guild Community Think Tank Podcast’, in which we can hold interviews illuminating case studies, experiences, and lessons learned by writers and other creative artists, and share them easily, some with the industry at large, and most only with our own membership. The intention is to start with talking about DEI issues, then expanding the podcast to explore other topics relevant to our membership’s needs and concerns. I’m eager to see how using this method of sharing information and inspiration – especially in this time of short attention spans and social media – can be a proactive tool for us.”

DEI at the 2019 AWP Conference

AWP Conference panelists, from left, Randy Reinholz, Chisa Hutchinson, and Amy VonMacek.

In March of 2019, members of the DEI Committee traveled to Portland, Oregon to host a panel for the Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference entitled “Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion–Build a Toolkit.” To view a copy of the panel’s accompanying PowerPoint presentation, click here.