The Yard takes stand against racism

Arts center will continue to promote Black, Indigenous, and people of color artists.

The Yard is making a commitment is making a commitment to continue highlighting the many talented Black, Indigenous, and people of color artists on the Vineyard. Here, Camille A. Brown and dancers perform at The Yard in 2017.

The Yard is taking a stand in support of equity, diversity, and inclusion, and is making  a commitment to continue highlighting the many talented Black, Indigenous, and people of color artists on the Vineyard and around the world, according to a press release.

The nonprofit artist residency and dance center will invest in anti-racism and cultural competence training for all staff and the board of directors, and will also be changing their employment practices where necessary to ensure they promote equity and a sense of belonging throughout the organization. 

According to the release, The Yard will continue to commission, present, and engage Black, Indigenous, and people of color artists, and explore new ways of providing them a platform to make their voices heard. 

As The Yard looks at reimagining their programs, they will also be looking at new ways to educate the community — both young and old.

The release states that The Yard will continue to educate youth and adults in diverse dance genres, and partner with guest teaching artists to ensure they are taught with authenticity.

Interim executive director for The Yard, Chloe Jones, told The Times the COVID-19 pandemic has been a difficult time for the organization, but has also created an opportunity to expand partnerships with arts and culture organizations locally, regionally, and nationally.

“Amplifying the voices of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color artists has been central to The Yard’s programming,” Jones said. “We are looking to continue that and make those connections even stronger.”

She noted a number of offerings that exemplify the immense talent of the Black, Indigenous, and people of color arts and culture community, such as professional break dancer Raphael Xavier, and the online East African dance class that is running through August. 

As for the cultural competence and sensitivity training The Yard will be undergoing, Jones said the organization is looking at ways to sustain that training and make it an ongoing education for staff and board members. Jones said The Yard is participating in a course offered by the Cultural Equity Learning Community, an organization that seeks to promote equity within the arts and culture sector.

Jones said one huge value to this training is that it connects members of The Yard to other folks in the arts sector who are addressing the same internal and programming questions.

Going forward, Jones said The Yard will continue to promote equity and diversity for all.

“As an organization, we are really trying to figure out what the best training match is for us in order to make this education sustained, and will continue to flesh out what our educational offerings will be this fall,” Jones said. 



  1. How does Darwin not get criticized in any of the BLM campaigns?. Read his works. Talk about a racist.

  2. “The Yard will continue to promote equity and diversity for all.” Does this mean we’ll see some Irish step dancers this Summer? Never mind, I know the answer.

    • Black lives matter, d2 and BS, and none of your manipulations and machinations can change this reality.

    • hey Bs — did you look at my video link about “Irish step dancers”? do you have some kind of problem with that kind of dancing ? or are you just some kind of intolerant privileged white guy, that does not tolerate anything but “American” dance moves? perhaps you have a problem with the “Irish” ?
      come on Bs, just be open and try to defend your racism.

  3. BS, what makes the island so wonderful is the diversity. There are wonderful polka dancing troupes, great clogging competitions, and do not forget the American Indian Tribal dancing….we are so fortunate to have so many possibilities and people who understand the true meaning of diversity.

  4. I wonder when some of you folks will wake up to the fact that the BLM inspired rioting and looting in Chicago last night was not a peaceful protest. What would BLM have to do for you to say ”this is not ok”?

      • 21 african americans shot in DC last Sunday in one group. 1 dead, another in critical condition and others still shot. All Black. Not a peep out of any of you. Diversity and Irish dancing only. Leftist Chicago Mayor now concerned this has gone too far. When are all you enlightened going to see that ordinary Americans are bewildered that our cities are in chaos and violence is running rampant with little or no end in sight. Its all about Andrew and my bet with dondondon and spreading more fear about children in schools. What kind of reservation are you living on?

        • That’s because it’s an article about dancing and diversity! You and drive2 brought up the BLM organization, not the Times. You’re upset that we don’t all consider the word Black to be joined at the hip with crime and wanted to actually talk about a positive hobby?

          • You dont do it even in relevant posts. Yes this post was about something else but some of you folks wont comment. It either isnt bad or it isnt happening or its a lie. You dont want it to be true so you wont comment.

        • Andrew, nothing is about you until you insinuate yourself, your off-topic rants, and your obscene wagers on human death tolls into a conversation. Be an adult and pay the consequences of your bad behavior on here. Don’t whine when people notice hypocrisy, bias, and lies.

          • No, Andrew. You either missed those posts or that’s a lie. I have talked about crime. Don’t tell me what I won’t do or say. I have never once in my life run away from addressing any topic head on, and I wouldn’t start with this. You have NO idea what I think about the riots or how we as a nation got here. It is true that I have never voiced the full extent of my thoughts on the matter here, nor am I required to, but it’s not because I’m in denial. There is an entirely different reason. If you asked me directly, “how do you feel about the riots?”, I would’ve answered you.

            FYI, I don’t believe I’m enlightened because I don’t think there is such a state of mind. I just know that holding racist beliefs is everything-I-need-to-know-I-learned-in-Kindergarten wrong. That’s the place I am coming from.

        • Andrew thank you bringing this to our attention.
          What is a solution that a majority of Americans can support.

        • You see, Andrew, when you behave as badly as you do on here, even the smartest, kindest, most respectful and thoughtful commenters will not tolerate your false statements, wrong assumptions, biases, and whining, dictatorial blather. Demanding that people cave to your wishes, and then crying when you don’t get your way, is how spoiled 2 year olds behave. Stop lying, stop dishonoring truth, and pay your debt. You’re not even close to being boss on here.

  5. If you go to The Yard’s website, it only takes a moment to learn that in addition to East African dance, they currently offer Pilates, yoga, and contemporary, which is a blend of many dance elements and influences, both modern and classical. They work with children, seniors, and people with disabilities. They brought a movement program to Windemere. Teachers from different backgrounds are pictured and come from across the globe. Anyone can volunteer or sign up. This all sounds like the epitome of true diversity to me. Their list of offerings may be shorter than normal due to coronavirus, but variety is more than evident. I believe they would include Irish dancing if the community expressed interest. Maybe they already have in the past. Absolutely no reason to assume otherwise.

    It’s sad that something so positive became a target for insinuation. Sadder still is that some interpret any mention of inclusivity to mean exclusivity and react from there. These replies would not exist if we were discussing ballet. There is plenty of unavoidable negativity in the world. No need to conjure up more. Someone who genuinely wants people — all people — to thrive would support programs like this one. I’m not trying to sell the Pollyanna vibe, but at least investigate before making rude, biased remarks.

  6. Patricia Nanon, founder of The Yard, would be thrilled to see how far her dream of bringing dance to this island has come.

    • Yes. Patricia was awesome. We are very fortunate. Not every community has access to such diverse talent and programs.

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