AGMA to Launch Demographic Census in 2022

Published December 13, 2021   |  By Musical Artists  |  Post in All Areas

This announcement was originally published in AGMAzine on page six.

AGMA is set to distribute its first demographic census in its 85-year history in early 2022.

In January 2021, members of AGMA staff and leadership met with the Facilitators of the AGMA Black Caucus, who offered several suggestions as to how AGMA can begin to redress racism and racial disparities union-wide within AGMA, signatory companies, and industries. A demographic census of AGMA’s membership was recommended.

Approved by the Board of Governors and born from the resolution Directing Immediate Action on Anti-Racism and Anti-Discrimination Initiatives, this demographic census will allow AGMA to better analyze and understand the impacts of racism, sexism, harassment, and other forms of discrimination on its members - including ableism, body shaming, and ageism - so that AGMA can work to find and implement solutions.

A Census Working Group (CWG) composed of a diverse subset of AGMA Governors (including three members of the AGMA Black Caucus) was formed and tasked with making a recommendation to the AGMA Board of Governors by the May 2021 meeting on an initial demographic census of AGMA’s members. In May, the CWG proposed a third-party outside of AGMA be brought on to facilitate and manage the Census. 

During the CWG’s presentation, they shared that a major benefit of using a third party is specialization. There are dedicated businesses that exist as thought leaders in that area and spend their working lives creating and administering censuses and surveys. They explained that a census expert would go beyond just gathering basic demographic information and help AGMA frame the Census questions in the best way possible.

The use of a third party would address any legal, technical, or administrative concerns related to administering a demographic census and maintaining voluntary self-identification data. This ensures responses to this census (unless where otherwise explicitly noted) will be kept confidential and anonymous, and answers will only be reported in the aggregate. Identities/Identifying characteristics within the confidential portion of the Census will not be shared with AGMA. 

The CWG specifically recommended AGMA partner with Savanta. Savanta, a BIPOC-run data, market research, and advisory company with vast experience with working on projects involving DEIA, specializes in the creation and management of censuses, surveys, and more. 

The Board approved the use of Savanta’s services, and the work got started. Over the next few months, the CWG worked directly with Savanta on drafting the Census.

Though the Census will be a deep dive into the sensitive and important topics addressed at the start of this article, the Census will also collect various demographic information including race, national origin, gender and sexual identities, and religion. There are also sections on mental health, the impacts of the pandemic, and space for members to provide feedback to the Union on AGMA-related topics.

Following the distribution of the Census, participants will also have the opportunity to voluntarily participate in a limited number of “deep dive interviews” with a member of Savanta’s team for a more comprehensive look at what the Census covered.

For each completed census, AGMA will make a charitable donation to the AGMA Relief Fund, to help AGMA Artists in need. AGMA will share more information soon on this history-making initiative. 

Members of the Census Working Group:

Michael Belle, Aleta Braxton, Helena Brown, Antuan Byers, Cosmo Clemens, Keith Craig, Blanche Hampton, Megan Marino, George Scott, Matt Woodbury