We, the Music Library Association, express our support to the families of Mr. George Floyd, Ms. Breonna Taylor, Mr. Ahmaud Arbery, and to Black people all across the world who struggle to enjoy universal human rights. There is power in coming together to directly oppose racial injustice and police brutality. Therefore, the Music Library Association stands in solidarity with our members of color–most particularly with our Black members–and with our colleagues and patrons as they face the violence and systemic racism continually perpetrated against them.
In order to fulfill our mission to “support, preserve, and enhance equitable access to the world’s musical heritage,” we must also support our members whose voices are vital in fulfilling that mission authentically. We believe that it is essential to express our condemnation of systemic racism against Black people in the United States.
As an organization that is disproportionately White, we all have a responsibility to educate ourselves in the ways racism creates an inequitable society with effects that extend to our own organization and to those we serve. As we state in our Code of Conduct, we stand in “opposition to any persons or groups who espouse racism, hatred, bigotry, and violence of any kind.” Further, we are “committed to developing and maintaining communities of practice that are inclusive, diverse, equitable, and that encourage the free exchange of ideas and information.”
We are nowhere near the realization of these ideals, and solidarity alone is insufficient, so each of us must stand as an agent for a more just and equitable society. This work cannot be delayed.
We will begin scheduling discussions for our organization to continue frank conversations around these issues and ask that every member recognize their responsibility to listen to our members of color so that we may improve the culture of the association. This cannot be the work of the Board alone, nor may it fall to our members of color to lead the way; all members—particularly those who have enjoyed privilege–must take ownership of our power and participate in solutions.