DEIAB Information & Resources

NMEA cares about creating classrooms and experiences that:

  • Provide a safe place for students, a space that ensures belonging for all
  • Raise voices of composers and artists from historically excluded communities

What is Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Access, and Belonging?

In 2020, NMEA created the DEIA ad-hoc committee to review policies and past practices to develop procedures and best practices to help promote DEIAB in music programs across the state. In 2021, the NMEA membership voted to move the DEIAB Committee from ad-hoc to standing committee status. The committee meets regularly to fulfill the aforementioned goals. The purpose of the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Access, and Belonging (DEIAB) Committee seeks to advance the NMEA mission and Diversity Statement by providing guidance and recommendations for actions to achieve diversity, equity, inclusion, and access goals and needs of our organization members and students.

Diversity - The presence of a variety of lived experiences within a given setting.

Equity - Equity refers to an approach that ensures that everyone has access to the same opportunities. It recognizes that advantages and barriers exist and that, as a result, everyone does not start from the same place. It is a process that begins by acknowledging that unequal starting place and works to correct and address the imbalance. Equity ensures that all people have the opportunity to grow, contribute, and develop, regardless of their identity. Basically, it is the fair and just treatment of all members of a community.

Inclusion - Intentional, ongoing effort to ensure that diverse people with a variety of lived experiences are able to fully participate in all aspects of the work of an organization, including leadership positions and decision-making processes.

Access - Access/accessibility refers to giving equitable access to everyone regardless of human ability and experience. It refers to how organizations encompass and celebrate the characteristics and talents that each individual brings to the organization. It is about representation for all.

Belonging - Organizations that create a culture of psychological safety so members can thrive simply by being who they are every day.

What has NMEA done to include best DEIAB practices?

We shared our work at the 2021 NMEA Conference. Roundtable Discussion shows what we’ve worked on 2020-21; Boots on the Ground shares ideas to incorporate DEIAB into your classroom.

  • Developed guidelines for selecting repertoire for honor ensembles to ensure diversity and balance
  • Developed guidelines for selecting clinicians for honor ensembles to reflect diversity and inclusion
  • Reviewed and edited the session proposal and evaluation process and developed initiatives to encourage new presenters to apply to give a session at conference
  • Sent a survey to all Nebraska music teachers to solicit input on which topics and presenters would be relevant at conference and how best to support teachers
  • Reviewed and edited the rubric for performing ensembles for conference to promote equity and transparency in the process
  • Developed an anti-bullying/harassment policy in order to protect students attending honor ensembles and NMEA events

2024 DEIAB Committee Members

  • Hannah Fisher
  • Brendon Gibbons
  • Debbie Martinez
  • Katie Morris
  • Paul Niedbalski
  • Lance Nielsen
  • Esly Ovando
  • Aida Soria


Databases of Repertoire by Underrepresented Composers

NMEA DEIAB Committee Blog

  • Oct. 27, 2022 Blog Post: Selecting Diverse Repertoire: The Institute for Composer Diversity by Sara Cowan
  • May 5, 2023 Blog Post: Vlog: Surviving Your Music Education Program and Your First Year of Teaching by Hannah Fisher
  • Oct. 14, 2023 Blog Post: Decolonizing the Music Room by Sara Cowan
  • January 21, 2024 Blog Post: What is Advocacy? by Paul Niedbalski