New from NASAA: Inclusive Language Guide

July 28, 2020

As state arts agencies continue to strive toward greater equity for all, it’s important to be sure the language we use with grantees, partners and legislators—and each other—is accessible and inclusive. Constituents who may be coping with acute social, financial and health related struggles appreciate respectful, bias-free interactions, both spoken and written.

As an agent of state government, your agency can be a standard bearer of welcoming and inclusive language. NASAA’s Inclusive Language Guide can help! Along with general principles, the guide offers language guidance and resources regarding race and ethnicity, ability, age, gender and sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status. A final section, Framing for Change, contains toolkits, examples and approaches to crafting messages that put forward your agency’s equity objectives.We hope you will make use of these rich resources in your daily work, whether it be:

  • developing important policy documents, like grant guidelines or strategic plans,
  • conducting field work,
  • leading meetings, in person or online,
  • developing curricula or training programs,
  • describing your agency’s programs for underserved communities,
  • crafting newsletters, social media posts, annual reports and other communications, or
  • reporting your accomplishments to your legislature.

Your constituents and partners may benefit from these resources as well, so feel free to share! Because respectful language changes as sensibilities change, NASAA plans to update the Inclusive Language Guide regularly. Please contact me at if you have questions or comments.

P.S.: Be sure to check out many other helpful tools on NASAA’s newly configured Diversity, Equity and Inclusion resource page!

Photo: GIRL Shakes Loose at Penumbra Theatre (photo by Allen Weeks)