Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at NECCA


Dear NECCA Community:

On behalf of the NECCA Board of Directors, I want to let you know that after a year of reflection and careful consideration, we adopted the following Statement on Diversity Equity and Inclusion at our Board Meeting last Monday night, April 26, 2021. The work that will unfold as a result, is driven by the promise of our mission to enable a diverse and inclusive community to realize their dreams through the transformative power of circus arts. This statement will have a permanent home on our website, and serves as the starting point for a deeper DEI initiative.

In the coming weeks, the Board Governance Committee will solicit NECCA board members, staff, and students to be part of a DEI Task Force to develop and guide this work within our organization and the greater community over a multi-year period.

Those students and community members interested in volunteering for this work should consider the time and emotional labor involved. All may submit an application to the Executive Director and the Board. Once the Task Force has recruited Board, Staff, and Students, it will examine which other key stakeholders should have representation in order to fulfill its charter.

Please know that we do not undertake this work lightly. We believe that education, a thorough examination of current culture and a carefully developed work plan with clearly articulated goals and measures of success will make NECCA a more equitable and inclusive organization–to the benefit of all.

We also know that as a primarily white-led, cis gender able-bodied organization, we have a great deal to learn, and we will make mistakes along the way. We are committed to using those mistakes as opportunities for learning and improvement.

We are grateful for all the ways that you support NECCA already, and we are excited to share our progress in this work with you.

Elizabeth Wohl, Board Chair

NECCA Board of Directors 2021
Elizabeth Wohl
John Hatton
Jerry Stockman
Maggie Luther
Patrick Noyes
Valentine Talland
Scott Kaltenbaugh
Cynthia Platero
Jim Verzino


NECCA’s mission demands that we place diversity and inclusion at the forefront of our work. As we examine the American culture in which NECCA and American circus have developed, we recognize that the culture has not been one of equity. Specifically, American culture has long privileged certain groups and disadvantaged others. Without active evaluation,
identification, and remedy, these structural imbalances will remain in place.

Therefore, the NECCA Board commits to creating and empowering a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Taskforce that will report to and be supported by the Board Governance Committee. The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force will include students, staff, board members and other necessary stakeholders, as identified by the Task Force and approved by the Board.

The work of the Task Force will include:
A. Identifying education necessary to the NECCA community
B. Creating a workplan for NECCA to use to (1) examine potentially discriminatory practices; (2) propose policy change to improve practices; and (3) evaluate whether remedial steps to repair harm are necessary.
C. Determining the need for, and recommending to the Board outside resources or consultants to support NECCA in this work.
D. Identifying community partners in the local, regional, national, and international circus communities who can collaborate to support mutual goals.
E. Providing quarterly (at minimum) reports to the Board Governance Committee and an annual report to the Board of Directors.

The Responsibility of the Board of Directors shall be:
A. To integrate the work of the Diversity Equity and Inclusion Task Force into the Strategic Plan, and support the Executive Director in developing processes to ensure that all work at NECCA is conducted through the lens of equity.
B. To make ultimate determinations, in consultation with the Executive Director regarding NECCA’s priorities, where competing interests must be balanced, with an eye toward the long-term sustainability of the institution.