At its core, the National Association of Teachers of Singing is a service organization dedicated to supporting and educating its membership, which includes the essential topics of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Anti-Racism, and how these areas inform their work.
Designed especially for members, NATS has launched a new I.D.E.A. toolkit containing educational videos, a glossary of I.D.E.A. vocabulary, slideshow presentations, suggested readings, and more.
NATS leadership and a group of more than 35 NATS members collaborated with diversity strategist Theresa Ruth Howard and consultant Alejandra Valarino Boyer to create this toolkit. The first module is available now to all members.
“We encourage you to make NATS the best association it can be!” says NATS President Carole Blankenship. “By viewing this first module created for NATS members, we may all learn to create belonging for all members and students and to advocate for them. The information in this module on Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Anti-Racism is the responsibility of all members of NATS and crucial for NATS leaders. NATS urgently needs you and your energy, your spirit, and your voice.”
Blankenship explains that this first module lays the groundwork for common understanding of the overall I.D.E.A. work for NATS. She says even more content is on its way.
“Future modules will offer more specific application of these principles to our work as an association and as voice teachers in our daily interactions with our communities,” she adds.
NATS will send out notifications in the coming months when more modules are added to the toolkit. NATS leadership also plans to coordinate breakout discussion groups to facilitate reflections and responses to this material. It will be important for members to talk about how they are internalizing and applying these learnings to real scenarios — in their NATS activities, in their studios, and in their planning.
“Our hope is that all members consume these resources as soon as possible and begin to implement them in their daily lives immediately,” says NATS Executive Director Allen Henderson. “We recommend that region and chapter leaders encourage their circles to watch the videos, do the exercises and talk with each other. NATS aims to inspire intentional inclusion and foster welcoming behaviors and actions. This work is imperative, and the time is now.”
In addition to the toolkit, NATS offers the I.D.E.A. Best Practices Guide. It provides written guidelines on how to create and maintain a welcoming and supportive community as well as a culture of diversity and inclusion. The guide shares strategies for communicating across cultures. It gives examples of how to demonstrate value and validation in community along with ways to build inclusion for all identities.
We thank NATS D&I Focus Group members for their time, feedback, and commitment to ensuring that all voices within NATS are valued and heard in an inclusive environment with equitable treatment for all.
Alexis Davis-Hazell, Amy Yeung, Anna Lantry, Darryl Taylor, Eiji Miura, Elizabeth Benson, Elizabeth Eschen, Ellie Escher, Emily Martin, Gregory Brookes, Greta Pope, Hannah Murray, Holly Bewlay, Isai Jess Munoz, James Martin, Jeremy Blackwood, Jessica Usherwood, Joey Holland-Garcia, Jonathan Walker-Vankuren, Katherine Jolly, Katie Tupper, Kayla Gautereaux, Lily Guerrero, Loraine Sims, Marcía Porter, Marisa Naismith, Michael Preacely, Michael Walsh, Paulina Villareal, Rae-Myra Hilliard, Rebecca Pieper, Sam Handley, Stephen Ng, Sylvia Stoner, Tricia Toledo, Triniece Robinson-Martin, and San-ky Kim.