Equity & Global Resources

Meeting Community Need

This is extraordinary time in our history. Being in the center of historic global events such as COVID and a revolution for Justice and Equality for Black Lives brings us into a new reality. We have been given time for reflection and reconnection to life priorities and values as we stayed home, and it has become clear not everyone is safe or feels safe in their home or community. This monumental revolution has highlighted the need for understanding, learning, and being part of creating a future of equality, restorative equity, access and meeting the common desire of safety for ourselves, friends, and family. LEAF advocates for equity. LEAF is committed to creating diverse and equitable events and programs.
We walk this journey with eyes wide open.

Equity & Inclusion

LEAF Values Equity . Moving beyond being inviting and inclusive to creating an equitable organization that is a message for anyone to bring their culture and values and engage in truly mutual relationships. Giving space and opportunities for various communities to express their VOICES in their ways. At LEAF we seek to include people from a vast array of neighborhoods including those not very “seen”, and ensuring that these communities are able to use their gifts and values in meaningful ways. Striving towards being equitable is a journey, and one that we will continue to be aware of and openly learn and seek understanding. In this path we seek the outcome of when an organization is truly equitable then together there can with transforming of the organization, the work and the communities with openness. Different groups share power, shape the culture and leadership and results.

In addition, we believe having Equity Guiding Principles  is essential to LEAF’s Equity journey. This is a continuous journey of growth, reflection and recalibration to shift to be a positive PART of creating more equity and access in our community.

This document was created by Board and Staff in 2019. The process was led by Dr. Eric “Big E” Howard and Marsha Almodovar
LEAF has been on an intentional Equity Learning Journey since 2015, and we understand this is a life long continual dedication.

  1. Eliminating inequities begins with us. 
  • All staff & board have a base onboarding of equity training when joining LEAF. LEAF provides (self-guided) resources.
  • See things through the equity lens–everyone take reputable training. Demonstrate that we are taking self-ownership and want to be equitable
  • LEAF’s strategic plan incorporates these elements.


2. Treating everyone with dignity, respect, and non-judgment.

  • What matters is that we are ALL on the journey not WHERE we’re at in the journey. It needs to be handled and viewed from a place of love and acceptance. No judgment.


3. ***All LEAF ambassadors (staff, board, teaching artists, team leaders, partners etc..) are represented in the communities we serve across the organization. 

  • PROCESS & HIRING >> formalized process to go seek representatives from the communities we serve 
  • PARTNERSHIPS >> Establish mutually beneficial relationships between students, staff, family, and community members and ensure those voices are at the table when making decisions. > Sharing of Power > mutual influence
  • Teams collaborate to increase instructional capacity, analyze data, and design culturally responsive student-centered and evidence-based instruction. (Working schools incorporating literacy and math with the Arts)


  1. LEAF examines systems within the organization to ensure equitable learning and participation.

Curriculum and instruction are aligned with LEAF’s core values and mission and is developed based on individual learning differences and delivered in a flexible learning environment.  

  1. Policies, procedures, and funding are aligned with LEAF’s core values & mission.
  • As we look into bigger and more corporate partnerships we need to ensure they are a match. Establish our guidelines, when we say yes and when we say no.
  • Language and how we communicate is so powerful. Language can empower, Inspire and unite.


LEAF staff are dedicated to continual learning. We hosts engaging conversations by the local community and LEAF teaching artists  for an opportunity to expand our worldview and share perspectives from local thought leaders. A safe learning environment  is created  for open and curious conversation and exchange.

A guided conversation that is curated through research and intention. The topic of each Learning Journey is connected to LEAF’s monthly themes which correlate to national equitable dialogue and internal mission driven goals. Themes include:  Black History month, Cultural arts appreciation, Pride month, Juneteenth, Volunteerism to name a few. 

 After the panelist or guest is chosen the LEAF leadership is invited to participate in a conversation to expand our understanding and growth. At LEAF, we are committed to be on a continual Learning Journey. If you would like to engage or present please contact globalarts@theLEAF.org.

Learning Journeys with LEAF Staff & Board started intentionally in 2015 led by the Board of Directors Equity Focus Committee who included Reggie Tidwell, Ashley Cooper, C.D. Daniel, River Guerguerian and Joanne Badr. A few highlighted sessions are:

Cultural Competency– Principal Chief Richard G. Sneed of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Nation.

Latinx Leaders– Ponkho Bermejo- From BeLoved AVL, Luis Serpio- Descubre, Paulina Mendez- Department of Equity & Inclusion & Vanessa Guerrero- ALAS

Community Collaboration- Shonda Harper- Eddington Center

History & Community at Smooth’s Do Drop In Barber Shop- Slim and Barron Kincade

Equity and Women’s issues– Marta Alcala Williams – Racial Equity Collective, AVL City Schools

George Floyd- Covid and the Arts– with Teaching artist Nex Millen, Jenny Pickens, Tarah Singh & Otto Vazquez

Rwandan & East African Language & Culture– David Kwizera, LEAF International Rwanda Culture Keeper

What are LEAF Schools & Streets Program Youth Learning– in 2017, each month’s learning journey was with a LEAF Teaching Artist including Lisa Zahiya, Imhotep, Santos, Erinn Hartley, Nina Ruffini & others.

African American Non Profit Leaders– Keynon Lake – MDTMT, Anthony McPherson –Boys & Girls Club, GO- Dewayne Barton.

1st Learning Journey was Exploring the African American History of AVL– with Al Whiteside, Marvin Chambers and Fred Meyer.

& many other extraordinary conversations & panels.

World Music

Music is an essential part of cultural preservation. Since inception, LEAF has been dedicated to presenting artists from around the world representing their country and culture. These musicians are often not widely known, yet they hold and help preserve so much of their authentic roots through their music. Creating a platform for these unheard voices bearing traditions is a vital part of LEAF’s mission. Discovering these artists is a journey. Here are a few supportive resources and friends:

Mundial Montreal

World Music Aficionado Derek Andrews’s Top Pics:
Canada’s CBC Radio w/ 15 World Music
Radio Paradise in San Francisco
World Music Charts Europe
Trans Global Music Charts
Global Cafe

World Music Aficionado Tom Pryor’s Top Pics:
World Music Central
Froots Podwireless (podcast)
Transpacific Sound Paradise/ WFMU
Tom Schnabel’s Rhythm Planet/ KCRW

Mayani is a Maasai boy from longido Arusha. He went to boarding school at 6 years old and lost his Maasai language and tradition. Since joining the LEAF program, he has learned to sing Maasai songs, practiced the ‘jump’ tradition and wear Maasai shukas (traditional clothing). Mayani is extremely happy and is currently teaching other youth the culture.