Dear members of Bach Society and the wider community,
In these times of tragedy and uncertainty, we hope that you are safe and healthy.
As a community, we mourn the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many more who have lost their lives and suffered every day under the cruel injustice of racism. We stand in complete solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and the ongoing peaceful protests and campaigns. We from the Bach Society unequivocally denounce systemic racism, anti-Blackness, and police brutality; we are sickened by the continued misuse of force against the Black community. We are saddened and frustrated by violence against and misrepresentation of peaceful protestors who strive to create systemic change.
As a campus organization, Bach Society will enact change within the Columbia community. We are committed to promoting an environment of inclusivity in every aspect of Bach Society, from auditions to rehearsals to performances. As a student-led music ensemble, we are dedicated to fostering an open and welcoming space on campus for musical performance, expression, and appreciation.
Today, so many music genres (jazz, hip-hop, gospel, to name a few) have their roots in Black culture. Yet, the same society that derives enjoyment from these genres in our day-to-day lives continues to perpetuate racism. The classical music world is not immune either: as an example, see here for anecdotes from opera performers who have experienced blatant racism in the auditioning and casting process. Clearly, we as musicians have a unique and important responsibility in raising awareness and combating racism. We on the executive board recognize our role in auditioning and admitting musicians, and will continue to actively eliminate and condemn all forms of discrimination in all of our club activities and daily lives.
Peaceful protests and social media are at the forefront of the current movement against racism, but each and every one of us can do more. Start by educating yourself on Black history and anti-racism. Reflect upon instances in the past when you have witnessed or made judgments based on racial stereotypes. Ask questions and engage in conversation in your daily lives.
Below are links to resources through which you can actively support the Black Lives Matter movement, including donations if you are financially able. Together, we can move forward in supporting the Black community and promoting an anti-racist society.
The outrage that has erupted across the nation (and indeed, the world) has had a real impact on policies (for example, all 4 cops involved in George Floyd’s death have now been charged), showing that our words and actions have real power and consequence. But this is just the start. Each and every one of us needs to continue to fuel this movement against racism and police brutality even when social media hashtags and protests inevitably no longer make the headlines on our favorite news outlets. The institutionalization of racism did not happen in a single day -- centuries of oppression brought our society to where it is today -- analogously, we cannot allow our fight to fade.
With love and in solidarity,
The Columbia Bach Society E-Board