June 1, 2020

In the face of ceaseless intolerance, hatred, and violence against African Americans in our country, historically and currently, we are impelled to reaffirm that we value all Black lives.

#TakeTwoKnees, Anthony Mcgill, May 28, 2020

Our colleagues of color—and many communities served by the orchestras we represent—are living with deep pain and fear, subjected to the threat of police violence, to the risks inherent in serving as essential workers in a time of crisis, and to ongoing oppression in a society scarred by racism. There is an urgent need for White people and predominantly White organizations to do the work of uprooting this racism. We recognize that for decades, in our role as a national association and voice for orchestras, we have tolerated and perpetuated systemic discrimination against Black people, discrimination mirrored in the practices of orchestras and throughout our country. And while we have called the field’s attention to the need for change and provided resources (PDF) to support that work, we struggle to move as quickly as we should to align practices with our stated beliefs. 

There is a gap between our espoused desire to serve communities and our readiness to confront racism. Closing that gap must be our work going forward. And as such, we are committed to dismantling our own racism and our role in perpetuating the systems of inequity that continue to oppress Black people. We stand ready to listen, learn, take action, and support you, the network of orchestras, as you continue to advance this work through your actions and artistry. We salute the many musicians who have raised their voices, including New York Philharmonic Principal Clarinet and League Board Member Anthony McGill, for his musical demonstration, #TakeTwoKnees.

Jesse Rosen, President and CEO
Douglas Hagerman, Board Chair
Aaron Flagg, Chair, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee of the Board

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