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Posted by the Music Library Association:
We, the Music Library Association, express our support to the families of Mr. George Floyd, Ms. Breonna Taylor, Mr. Ahmaud Arbery, and to Black people all across the world who struggle to enjoy universal human rights. There is power in coming together to directly oppose racial injustice and police brutality. Therefore, the Music Library Association stands in solidarity with our members of color–most particularly with our Black members–and with our colleagues and patrons as they face the violence and systemic racism continually perpetrated against them.
In order to fulfill our mission to “support, preserve, and enhance equitable access to the world’s musical heritage,” we must also support our members whose voices are vital in fulfilling that mission authentically. We believe that it is essential to express our condemnation of systemic racism against Black people in the United States.
As an organization that is disproportionately White, we all have a responsibility to educate ourselves in the ways racism creates an inequitable society with effects that extend to our own organization and to those we serve. As we state in our Code of Conduct, we stand in “opposition to any persons or groups who espouse racism, hatred, bigotry, and violence of any kind.” Further, we are “committed to developing and maintaining communities of practice that are inclusive, diverse, equitable, and that encourage the free exchange of ideas and information.”
We are nowhere near the realization of these ideals, and solidarity alone is insufficient, so each of us must stand as an agent for a more just and equitable society. This work cannot be delayed.
We will begin scheduling discussions for our organization to continue frank conversations around these issues and ask that every member recognize their responsibility to listen to our members of color so that we may improve the culture of the association. This cannot be the work of the Board alone, nor may it fall to our members of color to lead the way; all members—particularly those who have enjoyed privilege–must take ownership of our power and participate in solutions.
What We Believe: Black Lives Matter
As a nation, we are hurting again. Still.
Racial injustice is real, and ongoing, and increasingly evident as COVID-19 disproportionately affects Black communities, and as we are again seeing videos of Black lives ending.
We see it. And we reiterate: Black Lives Matter.
We are listening. As teachers, we hear our students’ pain.
As the National Association for Music Education, we know that music is important in student lives–and we know that listening to music and making music are things that people do when they are experiencing strong emotions, including grief and anger. We know that the relationships we form in and through music mean that sometimes students turn to us when they are hurting. And we can say: I see you. I know this is wrong. If you want to talk, I am here.
Martin Luther King, Jr., in his letter from the Birmingham Jail, cautioned against preferring “a negative peace (the absence of tension) to a positive peace (the presence of justice)” and went on to say “shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.”
As an association, we are a community, cut from the same fabric, and collectively-human. We will strive for Dr. King’s “positive peace” through non-violence and courageous conversation. We are committed to learning more about racial injustice, standing in solidarity, and supporting justice within music education and our country. We invite each of our members to join us in listening and learning.