On June 1, as demonstrations protesting the death of George Floyd and racial injustice took place nationwide, the League of American Orchestras issued a statement of solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter. On June 2, the League suspended all public events, including sessions during its current National Conference, to honor #BlackoutTuesday.
League Statement on Racial Injustice, 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. 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 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
Email sent to all League of American Orchestras members on June 2:
Conference sessions today are postponed
In solidarity with those throughout our country responding to racial injustice, the League of American Orchestras is suspending planned public events and communications today in order to provide our staff and community of stakeholders an opportunity for reflection and personal action.
We will soon be in touch on plans for rescheduling two League Conference sessions scheduled for today, and are evaluating how the League’s future programs, convenings, and voice can best support the long-term work of addressing systemic inequities.
As we stated in the League of American Orchestras Statement on Racial Injustice on June 1, 2020, 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.
President and CEO
League of American Orchestras