DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION
A MESSAGE FROM OUR PRESIDENT AND CEO
When the WNYC signal first hit the airwaves in 1924, we called ourselves “the voice of New York.” At New York Public Radio this has always been our aspiration—to amplify the voices of our many communities, and be a forum for our city to speak, listen, and be heard.
As a public media organization in one of the most diverse cities in the world, our mission is to serve our audiences with excellent and representative journalism, conversation, music, and cultural programming. To fully do so, we must create a healthy, equitable, and inclusive culture that not only reflects the demographics of our city, but empowers staff of color to thrive, lead, and set direction across the organization.
At NYPR, we are actively engaged in this work, and it is not just a discrete area of focus. It is our most urgent priority as an institution, and it will inform every decision we make moving forward.
I’m grateful to everyone in our community who has shared visions for the organization we must build together, and to the many who have been prioritizing diversity and equity for years—in our workplace and our work.
Change is never done, but the 2021 Race Equity Action Plan is an important step forward. I am proud of the efforts that are currently underway, and I pledge ongoing, collaborative action.
Where we are. Where we’re going.
Over the more than two decades I have been with New York Public Radio, it has been an honor to play a part in the organization’s continued expansion—of our impact, ambition, and service to the people of our region. And over the past several years, it has been incredibly gratifying to lead our efforts in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), as we work to create an organization where the backgrounds, cultures, and experiences of our teams are as diverse as their skills, passions, and interests.
NYPR has been in the process of a broad organizational transformation since 2018. Over the last three years we have made important strides by increasing the diversity of our on-air hosts, tracking the demographics of the guests on our shows, engaging our staff in unconscious bias training, and instituting a number of other initiatives. And while these efforts brought NYPR forward, there is still more to achieve.
In the spring of 2020, eight months into her tenure at NYPR, our President and CEO Goli Sheikholeslami set a focused DEI practice as one of three strategic priorities for the organization. Last summer, as our employees joined colleagues across the country calling for changes in the workplace, senior leadership heard the call and responded with a number of concrete steps to further accelerate our efforts.
One of those steps was the formation of the Race Equity Culture Working Group, a diverse cohort of 22 peer-nominated staff, plus four members of the executive team. From July-December 2020, this group met to inventory the most immediate needs for the organization, and developed a Race Equity Action Plan, with concrete goals and a roadmap for how to achieve them. This plan comprises 19 tangible commitments for advancing racial equity at NYPR, thoughtfully and with haste, for calendar year 2021. At the end of the year, we will draft a new plan with revised commitments and goals, based on our progress and guidance from our staff. Moving forward, this will be an annual process.