317 Main is Listening.
We are shaken by the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police and deeply moved by the force of the public outcry for change.
Black Lives Matter.
317 Main Community Music Center’s Board, staff, and teaching artists grieve for George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Chance David Baker, and so many others whose lives have been stolen.
This latest tragedy has us all reflecting on the endemic racial inequities in our society, and we realize it is not OK to just sit with it quietly and lament. As an organization that calls itself a community center, we must work harder toward shared goals of diversity, inclusion and equity.
We say with humility that 317 Main has more work to do.
While 317 Main strives to create inclusive programming and equitable access to music education, we have not done nearly enough. We need to engage with and listen to all of our community members, especially those in the Black community. We need to educate ourselves about the issues of systemic racism and be open to ideas and opportunities for change and positive improvement. We need to be mindful of the history of the music we play and teach, and celebrate the contributions of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color that are often overlooked and even erased. We need to work on the composition of our board, staff, and roster of teaching artists with an eye toward ensuring the organization’s leadership is diverse and inclusive.
This work is a high priority for our Board governance committee. We have formed a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion task force to define what these terms mean to 317 Main, and to review our policies, procedures, and programs to identify opportunities for change and ongoing improvement. We have budgeted for professional services to help guide the conversation and provide the training and ongoing support necessary to affect lasting change.
Music is a common denominator that brings people together. It can also be a powerful agent for change and transformation.
As an organization with mostly white leadership, we must do this work, no matter how hard it is. We cannot possibly fulfill our mission when so many are denied the basic freedom to live and reach their creative potential.
Please be in touch with us with any thoughts on how 317 Main can live up to its responsibility to be the best possible community center.