A Message to Our Audience
As the world reacts to the senseless killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others, the Met is taking a long, hard look at how our organization functions and what we can do to combat racism, increase diversity among our ranks, and be a more racially equitable institution. We understand the need to take concrete steps and have heard from some of you in recent days inquiring about what the Met is doing. As such, we want to share with you the memo that the Met’s General Manager Peter Gelb sent to the company on June 10.
Dear Members of the Company,
Further to the message that was sent last week, this is about specific next steps the Met is taking to move forward as an anti-racist organization that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive. We acknowledge there is much work to be done within our organization and in the overall world of opera and classical music to fully accomplish these goals. But we are firmly committed to identifying and addressing systemic and structural inequities across all areas of our company, including but not limited to our senior management and administrative staff, our creative teams, our backstage and front of house personnel, our guest artists, and our full-time performers and musicians.
- Hiring a Chief Diversity Officer
We are creating a Chief Diversity Officer position, which will be part of our senior management team. This person will work with all areas of our institution, including but not limited to Artistic, Human Resources, Marketing & Communications, Education, and Development. Our Chief Diversity Officer will help us build an equity, diversity, and inclusion program, which will include our audience development efforts and decisions related to artistic casting and programming.
The specifics of this program will be developed and guided by the expertise of the individual brought into this position, but we are committed to an approach that is driven by our entire community.
We are finalizing a job description and plan to begin the recruiting process now.
- Listening sessions
With the help of an outside facilitator, in the coming weeks we are going to arrange virtual listening sessions and provide other confidential and safe forums for members of the Met and opera community—including artists, employees across the organization, and audiences—to share experiences with and perspectives on belonging, inclusion, equity, diversity, and the associated barriers they have faced at the Met.
- Senior management training
Yannick and I, along with the rest of the Met’s senior management team, will be attending additional anti-racism training as soon as practicable, given the public health crisis, and we commit ourselves to ongoing learning and listening.
We also commit to expanding the anti-discrimination training our Human Resources team had begun facilitating for our employees shortly before we closed, focusing on topics like equity, power, and microaggressions.
- Paid internship program
We are going to relaunch our internship program in 2021–22 as a paid internship program, with the goal of recruiting a more diverse group of applicants. We also are going to continue to enhance the education and enrichment offered to Met interns to help foster the next generation of arts administrators.
Thank you for your partnership and participation in this important and ongoing process.