Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion | Diversity, Equity, & InclusionKalamazoo Symphony Orchestra
HomeAbout UsOur Commitment to Values of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

Our Commitment to Values of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

As the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra celebrated its 100th season and turned our focus to the future, we convened a task force composed of board members, musicians, staff, and community members to develop an action plan to address the organization’s steps toward actionable change around Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Defining Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion


The Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra recognizes that diversity encompasses all the ways in which people differ, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, age, national origin, religion or creed, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, military service, language, and physical appearance, and recognizes that everyone and every group should be valued. The KSO embraces diversity as all-inclusive and commits to increasing diversity across all areas of the organization.


We commit to the fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all people while working to actively create an environment where all community members are welcomed and supported. We seek to identify and remove barriers that have discouraged or deterred individuals or groups from engaging in Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra programs and events. Equity is different than equality, in that being equitable means acknowledging and addressing structural inequalities, historic and current, that advantage some and disadvantage others.


We commit to creating and fostering an organizational culture and environment in which each individual, patron, staff or board member, musician, student, or partner can feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued. We understand that an inclusive and welcoming organization embraces differences, and we seek to empower authentic participation from diverse groups and individuals in the community.

Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression:

We condemn racism, racial injustice, and oppression of any kind.  The KSO actively opposes racism by thinking, acting, and advocating for measures to remedy the injustices caused by institutional racism. We are committed to examining all KSO systems, policies, and programs and to enacting the changes necessary to promote an anti-racist organizational culture and community.

Building an Anti-Racist Organizational Culture by Institutionalizing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra is committed to being an anti-racist organization. We are putting diversity, equity, and inclusion at the core of our organization in daily practice and embodying these values in our actions and behaviors. We believe that music can heal and unite, inspire, and create change. KSO’s concerts, community programs, and educational programs are opportunities to bring people together to connect through the arts. We celebrate the differences that make our work and collaborations richer.

We acknowledge that the systemic inequities that underpin our community have created immeasurable suffering. Inequitable access to the arts is an entrenched issue of class and race in our community and across the country. We understand that symphony orchestras have played a role in systemic discrimination.

The KSO is committed to furthering its work in a way that acknowledges the harms caused by racism and oppression and establishes and nurtures spaces that honor belonging, dignity, and justice. We are committed to providing a welcoming environment of mutual respect through our programming, musicians, staff, board, mission, and strategic goals.

Commitments must drive actions, and in 2020, we formed a board-level Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force to develop a charter for change and chart a path to building an organization that reflects the diverse community we serve. We also launched a staff-level Anti-Racism Task Force to convene intentional education and discussion about racism and becoming an anti-racist organization.

We recognize that this is the foundation for continuous work that requires ongoing engagement from the immediate and extended KSO community. It includes each of us, working together to create a space where listeners and performers from all backgrounds and cultures can thrive.

We commit to the following actionable changes in our determined effort to achieve our goals. While the items listed here represent some of our next steps, we know that meaningful institutional change will be a broad and intentional effort over time.

Equal Opportunity Employer Statement

The Orchestra shall recruit, hire, upgrade, train, and promote in all job titles, without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, weight, height, handicap, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, or marital status.

All personnel actions shall be administered without regard to any of the protected characteristics listed above.

Employment decisions will be based on the principle of equal employment opportunity and with the intent to further the Orchestra’s commitment to this policy.

Non-Discrimination Policy

At the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, we are committed to providing an environment of mutual respect where equal employment opportunities are available to all applicants and teammates without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, pregnancy (including childbirth, lactation, and related medical conditions), national origin, disability status, marital status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local laws. Candidates from all backgrounds and walks of life are encouraged to apply.

We are proud to partner with the following organizations as we push forward our Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion work:

THRTThe Catalyst Fund Sphinx Organization