ASHLAND, ORE.: The Oregon Shakespeare Festival has announced the hiring of Anyania Muse as the company’s director of inclusion, diversity, equity, and access (IDEA), effective April 12. This newly created role adds Muse to OSF’s leadership team, from which she will design, communicate, execute, and monitor programs and initiatives promoting and fostering an inclusive culture, integrating IDEA into all facets of OSF’s operations.
“As OSF continues to emerge from the COVID crisis, there is immense opportunity for organizations across all industries and disciplines to lay the foundation of anti-racist structures, systems, and processes,” said executive director David Schmitz in a statement. “We are thrilled that Anyania Muse, with her deep background, passion, and dedication to this incredibly important field of work, will be joining us as director of IDEA, and as a key leader and voice in this ongoing, industry-wide conversation.”
Muse’s work in equity and inclusion is known throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, most recently in her role as director of equity for Marin County, Calif., where she led initiatives aimed at dismantling systems of oppression within the county. She helped to build and evolve anti-racist frameworks across 22 departments with more than 2,700 employees. Muse’s work includes partnering with Marin Community Foundation to create the first Universal Basic Income Demonstration, which provides participants with $1,000 per month for 24 months. Additional efforts include advocating for equity data collection in health and human services programs, ensuring ongoing communication and engagement with Marin’s communities of color, and initiating the application of a racial equity lens to the COVID response.
“I have been inspired by Jean Wiley, Dr. Shakti Butler (founder of World Trust), Sonali Balajee (founder of Our Bodhi Project), Daphne Muse, and Dr. VeVe Amasa Clark,” said Muse in a statement. “These incredible titans have all paved the way for me to do work that I love, to bring passion, clarity, authenticity, and the ability to call out racism without fear. They each impart the wisdom to break through artificial barriers, and center the voice of the oppressed as the catalyst for change in systems ranging from academia to government. I stand on their shoulders and forge ahead excited about what’s to come.”
The new position Muse steps into was created from the foundational work done by OSF consultant Carmen Morgan, founder of artEquity, whose community organizing framework led to the institution adopting social justice as a core value and aspiration. This groundwork led to the hiring of Sharifa Johka, who joined the company in 2011 and worked as interim director of equity to structure and modify the company’s policies, daily practices, and methodologies based on her vision for building an anti-racist, radically inclusive, and social justice-focused community.
“Anyania’s presence in a role created for someone with her breadth of experience and expertise further acknowledges the importance and prioritization of respect and transparency for artists and theatremakers in their workplaces,” said artistic director Nataki Garrett in a statement. “As a foundational leader for equity, diversity, and inclusion in the American theatre, OSF continues to expand this groundbreaking work through the director of IDEA position. It is yet another critical step toward ensuring all of our artist-centric spaces are truly transformed.”
Muse earned a B.A. from Mills College, as well as an M.A. in educational leadership, nonprofit/public/organizational management, and an Ed.D. in organizational leadership and change management. Her career has been dedicated to targeting strengths, issues, and opportunities surrounding the development of strategies and plans for engagement that allow organizations to break down barriers to becoming anti-racist. Muse’s work also includes the overseeing of the Sankofa Scholars program at California State University, East Bay and the founding of S.A.V.A. Rising, a self-investment advocacy community action group operating in multiple cities and states.
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