Equity & Inclusion Timeline

MacPhail Center for Music Steps Toward Social Change

MacPhail Equity & Inclusion Commitment: Diversity, equity and inclusion are vitally important to MacPhail’s mission and vision. MacPhail is committed to ensuring the creation of policies, practices, programs, and opportunities that embed diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the organization. 

July 2020

In response to the murder of George Floyd, the DEI Committee came together to address our current stance and how to move MacPhail toward becoming a more diverse, equitable and inclusive learning community.  

The DEI committee developed 5 Action Areas: 

  1. Develop and Implement Community Support Initiatives to Share Resources
  2. Diversify MacPhail Leadership, Faculty and Staff 
  3. Provide Resources for Professional Growth to Support an Increasingly Diverse Community 
  4. Create and Share Inclusive Music Education Curriculum for Students of All Backgrounds
  5. Develop, Fund and Launch New MacPhail Programs & Initiatives 

Progress & Activity Timeline by Action Area

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Area One: Community Support Initiatives


National Night Out Event was developed by the DEI Committee.


MacPhail Weekly Faculty/Staff Newsletter to regularly contain educational equity & inclusion content

MacPhail’s Back to School Supply Drive, organized and led by Jakkee Phillips (Student Services Assistant Manager, DEI Committee member and former Ascension student/homegrown here) and other members of our Student Services Team provided resources to neighbor organizations requesting assistance. 

The Minnesota Music Educators Association (MMEA) Back to School Clinics MMEA reached out to MacPhail given our expertise in Online School Instruction to ask for guidance in navigating this upcoming virtual school year. Our Faculty presented over 13 Zoom sessions averaging around 150 participants each session.

Launched All Employee Lunch Social Hour (every Fridays on Zoom, 12:00 – 1:00)

Faculty/Staff social time, DEI topics are presented monthly

MacPhail Family Support Group via Facebook New group page for families who work at MacPhail and especially during this time of Covid. Led by DEI Committee Members and Program Leaders, this group will support one another, share our joys and struggles and just offer a place to relax.


Cultural Heritage Group celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Musical Message for George Floyd:

Development of the new Equity and Inclusion Groups: 

  • Cultural Heritage Group – made up of MacPhail employees that work together to promote various ethnic and marginalized groups, highlighting music, arts, cultural traditions, histories, and contributions to civilization. These are important markers in time and place that can help us to understand some of our own cultures and identities, as well as others at MacPhail. 
  • DEI Professional Development Group – This group helps guide employees to reach their fullest potential in building diversity, equity, and inclusion awareness. Those employees who chose to take the Intercultural Development Indicator (IDI) assessment will receive customized resources and recommendations based on their IDI assessment results. 
  • DEI & Human Resources 101 Group (still in development) – MacPhail employees can learn more about HR systems and processes (hiring, performance evaluation, etc.) and how they interact with DEI.

Sing Play Learn with MacPhail® (SPL) develops multiple projects to help MacPhail become more culturally responsive and relevant to our communities through teaching strategies and activities:

  • The SPL faculty are researching current and new teaching material — collecting and sharing culturally relevant, authentic resources such as songs, children’s books, listening selections for use in their curriculum revisions and future development.
  • SPL/GMI project – Creating video tutorials for MacPhail teachers to learn songs from historically excluded and marginalized communities and MacPhail’s teaching artist of color community to elevate voices and build an understanding of these cultures. The videos will include a children’s song (1-2) sung by the teaching artist, as well as an interview including background information on both the community it has come from and the song itself. The project is in a pilot phase. First round of videos will be completed by fall of 2021.

Healing Collage – This project was created in response to the current social justice and pandemic environments which left many people feeling alone; one person sitting in isolation surrounded by uncertainty. MacPhail requested submissions of original works that speak to current circumstances that our communities and the world face.

Juneteenth – New MacPhail Holiday

We invite you to join us in reflection, please take a moment to view a musical message by MacPhail faculty, JD and Fred Steele: https://www.macphail.org/recognizing-juneteenth-at-macphail-w-jd-an

Celebrating Pride- MacPhail hosts a booth at the Twin Cities Pride Festival

MacPhail’s 2nd Annual School Supply Drive

Cultural Heritage Group celebrates Hispanic Heritage month.


Suzuki – Activities and education article about Black History Month published in the Gavotte Newsletter for Suzuki families.

Suzuki Book Club reads So You Want to Talk about Race by Oluo Ijeoma.

National Association for Music Education Conference in Washington, DC. Dr. Roque Diaz, Sr. Director of DEI at MacPhail and his research partner Dr. Sarah Minette present, “Black and Brown Lives in White Spaces: No-White Students’ Perceptions of a Music Education Program at a Hispanic Serving Institution”


The Suzuki department publishes Black History Month activities and education articles in the Gavottee newsletter for Suzuki families.

MacPhail celebrates Black History Month

MacPhail celebrates Women’s History Month

The third GMI Collage kicks off: A Hero Collage

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Area Two: Diversification of MacPhail Leadership, Faculty and Staff


Jakkee Phillips, Student Services Assistant Manager


Michael Cain, Electronic Music Recording Arts Program

Christopher Rochester, Director of MacPhail Global Music Initiative

Roque Diaz, DEI Learning and Engagement Leader 

Chi-Chi Bestmann, Artistic Director, MacPhail Northside Youth Orchestra 

Krysta ”K.Raydio” Rayford, EMRA Faculty 

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Roque Diaz, Senior Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Mikalia Bradberry, Student Services Assistant -2021; Marketing Coordinator 2021-Present

Kevin Xiong, School Partnerships Teaching Artist

Area Three: Personnel Assessment, Training and Support


Implemented the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) for All Employees

  • 70% of employees completed the assessment
  • Results presented to the organization

Roque Diaz and Kristen Blue received their Qualified Administrators Licenses to administer the Intercultural Development Indicator (IDI) throughout MacPhail. Work begins to provide individualized IDI/IDP feedback to all employees. 

The Bridge Event: An all-employee professional development event, this key component focused on the organizations continued work on the MacPhail Strategic Plan in relation to the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative. This event provided an overview of DEI Initiatives with information about goals and steps moving forward; and created a forum of information sharing and discussion about incorporating DEI concepts into our practices of work and teaching.

In observance of Juneteenth, MacPhail will recognize the date as an annual holiday. This will be a day for our faculty and staff to educate and connect on the significance of this moment in Black history and we encourage our students to do the same. (For 2021, since June 19th falls on a Saturday, buildings will be closed on both Friday, June 18th and Saturday, June 19th.)

During the summer of 2021, the Suzuki faculty works to expand the classical repertoire to include more diverse offerings. Teachers meet in sub-groups to explore new ways to introduce a variety of musical styles and composers in group classes.

Suzuki faculty attended a 5-hour workshop with guest speaker, Chenoa Murphy, entitled Diversity from the Inside Out, which shed light on beliefs, habits, and thinking patterns that could prevent music teachers from having a culturally eclectic studio. Chenoa presented part of her course, The Lives of Black Classical Composers, and shared ways to introduce diverse composers into the Suzuki repertoire.

  • Intercultural Conflict Styles (ICS) Inventory assessment starting in 2021
  • Last year MacPhail implemented the IDI assessment as a DEI resource for all employees to develop a better understanding and knowledge base in how MacPhail as an organization view cultural differences. This year, MacPhail has taken another step forward in having internal qualified administrators’ (QAs) positions created to help assist in delivering individual debriefs for every employee. MacPhail now has a total of nine 9 qualified administrators: Tamara Gonzalez, Chi-Chi Bestmann, Christopher Rochester, Jessica Nagel, Cheryl Berglund, Melissa Falb, Paul Babcock, Kristen Blue, Roque Diaz
  • Anacrusis Event: Anacrusis is MacPhail’s beginning of the year event where all-employees come together for professional development sessions. The James E. Ericksen Keynote speaker, Garrett McQueen presents Communities Speak – Building Rapport Through Narrative Affirmation
    • Engaging new communities as music educators and advocates has never been easy. Contemporary socio-economic challenges, a global pandemic, and a heightened awareness of police brutality has made many aspects of community engagement even more difficult. To combat these challenges, musicians must engage not only a community’s individuals, but the narratives that drive them. Garrett McQueen will offer insights on how he has engaged new communities by affirming their stories and perspectives through content creation, musical programming, and collaboration.

Music Therapy collaborates with Dr. Natasha Thomas to increase cultural awareness and self-reflective learning among faculty members through individual and group development experiences to provide a 21st century music therapy experience for our clients.


Sing Play Learn with MacPhail® (SPL) discusses gender identity at this month’s department meeting.

SPL discusses pandemic kids and issues on how it has affected children and families living in economic hardship and how MacPhail and music educators can support them in their learning.

Sexism and Gender Identity: Professional Development Session for MacPhail Employees

Entire Suzuki faculty meets to discuss Oluo Ijeoma’s So You Want to Talk about Race?


Sing Play Learn with MacPhail® (SPL) faculty discuss trauma informed care at department meeting

Cultural Humility: A Professional Development session for MacPhail employees

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Area Four: Create Inclusive Music Education Curriculum and Tools

  • Equity and Inclusion Education Toolkits
  • Pedagogical Advisory Committee (PAC)

A key component of the Global Music Initiative, the PAC will provide guidance and support to MacPhail’s faculty, staff and community partners regarding programs, curriculum and faculty development.

The PAC is composed of predominantly BIPOC experts in music styles and related pedagogy from non-dominant cultures in and outside of the Eurocentric canon.

Members of the PAC will provide advice and guidance on the innovation, development, and delivery of MacPhail’s programs to become culturally relevant to reflect the diversity of the communities we serve. 

PAC is a resource for MacPhail faculty and staff, as well as for community partners, regarding teaching and performing music of many cultures. PAC will seek and utilize additional experts and resources to support efforts.

PAC will guide innovation efforts for the development of new programs.

PAC will assist programs with the review of existing curricula. PAC will provide guidance and assistance to MacPhail faculty in the development and delivery of new curricula.

New DEI resources available for community on MacPhail’s new website 

The SPL faculty works to develop culturally relevant resources (see Group One)

SPL faculty attends a retreat to learn and share Spanish children’s songs

MacPhail Music for Life: This program is looking at curriculum and will be working to make sure it is inclusive and find ways to bring in other multicultural components.

Sing Play Learn with MacPhail® department meeting continues to pull marganzlized songs, rhymes, books, etc from curriculum. They begin a Global Children’s video project Children’s Songs from Black America with Ivory Doublette.


Sing Play Learn with MacPhail® (SPL) faculty member Sarah Hruska Olson shares Guatemala children’s songs and provides resources.

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Area Five: Develop, Fund and Launch New Programs at MacPhail


Roderick Cox Music Initiative Scholarships
RCMI began in 2019 as a program to nurture the next generation of musicians and conductors. Scholarships are granted for three year periods to youth of color in the Twin Cities. Each scholarship is given to a student who aspires to have a future in classical music. Two students from the MacPhail Northside Youth Orchestra were awarded the RCMI Scholarship in the 2019-20 school year.

  • MacPhail Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee Founded
  • Established new partnership with Walker West Music Academy with Sing Play Learn programming
  • Sing Play Learn focuses on Culturally Responsive curriculum through series of professional development activities and a complete review of all music materials used in the SPL curriculum
  • Developed a five-year relationship with Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community

MSAB Arts Access Grant – increasing participation in MNYO and MCYC


MacPhail K-12@Home
Developed as supplemental music education in response to the switch from in-person to online eLearning. MacPhail School Partnership program is pleased to continue providing custom designed online music instruction for students studying at home at no charge.


Providing a catalyst for collaboration/fusion/exploration through the latest music creation and recording technologies.

MSAB Arts Access Grant (calendar 2020)– Developing Culturally Relevant Programming with North Minneapolis Partner Northside Child Development Center


Global Music Initiative (GMI)

The GMI Artist-in-Residence Program offers 8-month residencies at MacPhail Center for Music to foster cultural change in our communities through passion and creativity in music. Believing that supporting and investing in diverse voices challenges current ideas of music education pedagogy. 

MA Cargill Philanthropies Project Planning Begins

The School Partnership Team begins working on a multi-year project in collaboration with Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies. This project’s multiple components seek to uplift the voices of students and teaching artists from historically excluded populations by creating innovative and relevant music education opportunities. The initiative’s first project will bolster available music lessons for Minneapolis and Austen students by providing residencies for (primarily) BIPOC teaching artists in middle and high schools. 

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