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    THE UNUSUAL SUSPECTS HEALTH EQUITY COMMITMENT

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    For 29 years, The Unusual Suspects (US) has partnered with communities across Los Angeles to provide youth, families, and communities with the opportunity to celebrate their unique voices and talents through theater. 

    In the fall of 2021, our Teaching Artists brought it to the organization’s attention that there is more work to be done to nurture and serve the well-being of our students, families, Teaching Artists, and Staff. US is taking the actions necessary to look inward at our own operations, communications, and decision-making. The need to elevate and honor voices in communities of color and to incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of our operations has become one of our main priorities.

    Our Board, Staff, and Teaching Artists are working with a shared commitment to create action steps —to center our communities in all aspects of our work and better integrate anti-racist, anti-colonial, and abolitionist practices across all departments —that we believe will lead to an exciting and comprehensive organizational transformation and the ability to more holistically serve our communities.

    Looking ahead to 2022 and beyond, The Unusual Suspects is committed to elevating and honoring voices in communities of color and incorporating diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in all aspects of our operations. US has a comprehensive action plan —all to center our communities in all aspects of our work and to integrate anti-racist, anti-colonial, and abolitionist practices across all departments —that we believe will lead to an exciting and comprehensive organizational transformation and the ability to more holistically serve our communities.

    Our mission remains to effectively promote positive, healthy youth development that enables our young people to grow and flourish throughout life. This focus on the future will enhance that work, allowing US to elevate our participants’ authentic, unfiltered voices, while ensuring that our organization grows healthy and more vibrant in step with our communities.

    Please visit the pages below to learn more about the transformative steps being taken by our Staff and Board of Directors.

    LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: 

    We at The Unusual Suspects acknowledge the Tongva, the Keech, the Chumash, and the Pakoivitam, as well as all Indigenous Peoples of the unceded land upon which this organization operates and serves. We recognize that Indigenous Peoples are still here and commit to uplifting their stories, culture, and community. We acknowledge that many of the institutions that make up our society, and that we benefit from, were founded upon exclusions and erasures of many Indigenous Peoples.

    We are committed to the process of dismantling ongoing legacies of settler colonialism through the intentional actions of our organization and ourselves.

    WE ARE COMMITTED TO: 

    ANTI-RACISM

    An anti-racist is someone who is supporting an antiracist policy through their actions or expressing antiracist ideas. This includes the expression of ideas that racial groups are equals and do not need developing, and supporting policies that reduce racial inequity (https://www.racialequitytools.org/glossary)

    ABOLITIONISM

    a person who favors the abolition of a practice or institution, especially capital punishment or (formerly) slavery.
    (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abolitionism)

    ANTI-COLONIALISM

    defined as the active resistance against colonial powers, and a shifting of power towards political, economic, educational, cultural, psychic independence and power that originate from a colonized nation’s own indigenous culture. This process occurs politically and also applies to personal and societal psychic, cultural, political, agricultural, and educational deconstruction of colonial oppression. (https://www.racialequitytools.org/glossary)

    • Anti-Racism

      “In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.” – Angela Y. Davis

    • Abolitionist

      “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
      – Harriet Tubman, abolitionist, former slave

    • Anti-Coloniolism

      “The worst thing that colonialism did was to cloud our view of our past.”
      ― Barack Obama, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance

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