We write to share in the grief and anger that has moved protesters around the country and the world to protest against the Black racism and violence that is pervasive in our society. Together, we mourn the life of George Floyd, and the lives of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Tony Robinson, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Philando Castile, and so many others whose lives were wrongfully cut short. We demand justice. Black Lives Matter.

The Berkeley Music Department is fully aware that this critical moment in U.S. history demands more than words. Therefore, we pledge to examine the ways in which structural racism has shaped our own institution, informed our curriculum, and shaped our pedagogies, research, and labor practices. We will use the tools of the arts and education to teach antiracism, center and recognize the labor of people of color, and highlight the histories that have brought us to this point and the structures that have to be dismantled. As musicians, as scholars, and as educators, we can make sure that our creative work and our teaching explicates histories and structures of complicity (starting with our own), calls out systemic oppression, and promotes discourses of racial justice. We acknowledge that this is challenging work: it demands continuous care, time, and an enduring commitment to education on the part of faculty and students. The Music Department commits to working hard to dismantle these structures in order to make our campus and department community more inclusive and equitable for all people. 

As a first step, we commit now to host a Town Hall in the Fall semester of 2020 where we will accept proposals from students and faculty on how to confront racial injustice within our Department. If you would like to get involved in the organization of this event, please contact the Department’s Equity Advisor, Maria Sonevytsky, at msonevytsky@berkeley.edu.


David Milnes, chair, on behalf of the Music Department