Dear NWKE community,
George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. Three Black lives that were tragically lost due to police brutality. Their deaths are direct results of our country’s failure to address systemic racism. These losses have struck grief in communities across the country and around the globe. We feel deeply for the families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor and communities who are most impacted by the tragedy. We offer our deepest heartfelt condolences for their loss.
To the Black members of our organization, we offer our solidarity. We see you and we acknowledge that our society heaps more upon you than you should have to bear. We acknowledge that you have felt this trauma deeply and that you carry heavy burdens in the midst of this immense loss and hardship. Please know that we are with you. We see you and we care about your hurt.
As music teachers, we have a responsibility to honor their deaths with action. We acknowledge that our organization is not perfect, however we are committed to educating ourselves on racism, injustice and institutional inequalities. It is up to all of us to look at our teaching and work to dismantle racist and hurtful practices. We must look at everything from how we run our classrooms, to the music we use. As teachers who believe in researching music, it is up to us to stop perpetuating black trauma through music no matter how perfect it is for teaching sixteenth notes or how much kids love the game. We must care for our neighbors and our community enough to hold each other accountable. We must ensure representation of people of color in our leadership, and work to center voices of color. We must put the interests of our community and of our students first. This is all our work.
To that end, NWKE will be posting resources for learning, causes to support and things to think about throughout the month of June. We know that it can be hard to know where to start in racial equity work and would like to provide you with resources as starting points. If you are not on social media, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will create a mailing list for you to receive the postings via email.
George Floyd. Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. Their lives mattered and we say their names to honor them and acknowledge the great tragedy of their deaths.
Music brings us together in community and our shared values anchor us. NWKE is ready to support you. No one is perfect, we ALL make mistakes and we all come to recognition at different points in our life. We are calling people in to do the work of racial equity, no matter where you are in the journey. As Maya Angelou said, “When you know better, you do better.” Let’s do better.
The members of the NWKE Board