On Tuesday, June 11, the League of American Orchestras issued a Statement on Racial Discrimination expressing how the League is coming to grips with its history of racism, reflecting on the impact of racism within the League and the wider community of orchestras, and committing to sustained action. As a complement to the Statement, the current issue of Symphony magazine features “Anti-Black Discrimination in American Orchestras,” an article by Dr. Aaron Flagg chronicling the history of persistent discrimination across centuries. In addition, the League has created a third document, “FAQs and Guide to Additional Resources,” to further support engagement with and understanding of the Statement. These materials build on the League’s learning, programs, and convenings over the last several years, and on the League’s June 1 Statement on Racial Injustice.
Drafting of the Statement began in December 2019 by the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Committee of the League’s Board of Directors; following many conversations and iterations, on June 25, 2020, the full Board, and both current President and CEO Jesse Rosen and incoming President and CEO Simon Woods, enthusiastically and unanimously adopted the Statement on Racial Discrimination.
The League has scheduled two online events in the coming weeks to continue to engage around these issues. The first is a virtual forum for League members at 1pm Eastern on August 26, facilitated by League Board and staff members. Register for this event. The second event, for orchestra trustees on September 30 at 1pm Eastern, features Cathy Trower, chair of the nonprofit organization BoardSource and former research director of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, leading a discussion on the role of nonprofit boards in addressing racial equity.