Message to the Yale Bands Community: A Call to Action

August 2020

Dear members and future members of the Yale Bands,

We write now about the killings of George Floyd, Ahmed Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Rayshard Brooks, and countless others. We are angry, frustrated, and hurting from these tragic events. We encourage you to take the time to listen to and engage with anti-racist efforts, resources, and conversations.

We cannot pretend that racism does not exist at Yale. As students in a historically predominantly White institution, we are part of a university with a history of exclusion and institutional racism. Because of this, it is crucial that we critically evaluate the Yale Bands’ role within the Yale and greater New Haven communities. Yale Bands is committed to addressing issues regarding discrimination, racism, and the denial of opportunities for BIPOC in the long-term. We are taking action right now to implement concrete, lasting changes.

• In an effort to assure a more inclusive repertoire, the Yale Bands will program more pieces by composers and artists of color, and will add more Black artists to its roster of guest talents, teachers, and speakers.

• For ten years, the Yale Bands will commit no less than 10% of its library and program budgets to add the music of Black composers to its libraries and concert programs.

• For ten years, the Yale Bands will contract 25% of its music commissions to composers of color, and commits to the dissemination of that music beyond the Yale community.

• We will emphasize the historical context and influence of Black composers in concerts and rehearsal time to encourage further meaningful dialogue about the role of race in music.

• We are committed to maintaining an environment in which open discussion is regular and welcomed. We will create an online feedback form to collect comments on how the Yale Bands can be a more inclusive and welcoming space for everybody.

Lastly, we encourage you to donate through YaleTogether GoFundMe as your circumstances permit, sign petitions, contact your local representative, and get involved with local organizations promoting justice and equality.

Join us in fostering a community where everyone is safe, included, and heard.

Sincerely,

The Yale Concert Band
The Yale Jazz Ensemble
The Yale Precision Marching Band