In 2016, the Phantom Regiment Board of Directors began to give earnest attention to how our own organization may be failing to live up to our publicly posted mission, vision, and values. We realized then, as now, that it is not enough to simply accept people of all colors, creeds, orientations, and genders as part of our programs.
Drum corps, while influenced by many cultures of the world, is largely an American art form. As such, it is not immune to America’s challenges. And neither is Phantom Regiment.
We have always been willing to have the sometimes difficult conversations that continually push us toward eliminating the systemic bias inherent in our organization and the marching arts activity as a whole. Recent events have emphasized the importance of our work to improve and increase our efforts.
We are proud that our marching members, instructional staff, administration, and board of directors have taken an active role in standing up for each other and for their fellow Americans outside of the Phantom Regiment organization.
As a result of conversations with our phamily-at-large, here is how we are taking action today:
- We are establishing an Equality Committee to promote transparent dialogue across all levels of the organization and oversee the adoption of policies and procedures to ensure acceptance, diversity, and inclusion. This committee may include representatives from the marching membership, instructional staff, administration, board of directors, and third-party individuals.
- We are committed to developing existing and new programs that bring the life-changing experiences provided through performing arts education to a more diverse audience – starting with our hometown of Rockford, IL. This includes partnering with local school districts, arts organizations, and non-profits to identify needs, as well as rethinking how programs such as Rockford Rhythm and PR Academy can fill the gaps for our local community. While this work has always been in our objectives, we are now accelerating the deployment of these programs.
- We are thinking beyond what we can give to the world in 10 minutes on a football field, to how our organization can support broader relief and outreach efforts within our communities. We are starting with a donation of all pre-purchased, unused food meant for the 2020 tour to the Rockford Rescue Mission. We will be continuing to develop this program throughout the year to identify ways we can utilize our equipment, people, and resources to create a positive impact.
We recognize the broader role that Phantom Regiment plays in the marching arts community. We strive to be a place of inclusion, where all are equally welcome as part of our phamily. We are listening, and we pledge to do better.