Jazz Arts Project
Commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Access
As an organization, Jazz Arts Project stands against racism in all its permutations and disguises, and against all forms of suppression whether it be economically, educationally or by disenfranchisement. We remain steadfast in our commitment to diversity and inclusion on our board, our staff, in our hiring practices and in all of our concert presentations, education programs and community outreach.
Jazz Arts Project has always honored the vast cultural gifts that have been pioneered by so many cultures and especially by African Americans. As expressed in our overarching philosophy it informs our mission and philosophy:
Jazz music is a uniquely American art form. It is a pure expression of individualism within the confines of social (and musical) structure. It is an amalgam of several disparate cultures blending into one swinging melting pot. Born of hope and freedom, Jazz celebrates American values and portrays clear democratic ideals, even though it was pioneered and performed largely by those who were routinely denied the full extent of the American dream. At its origins, it is the cry of a race of people transplanted against their will to American soil, a reaction to the oppression and the horrors they endured, and an expression in music of that which could not be openly said. Over the years this music has been celebrated and performed by people of every race, and culture. It is arguably America’s greatest and most welcomed export. It is America’s “Classical Music.” We believe and in fact we have seen how music can change lives.
These challenging times in our country require that our actions be deliberate, transparent and overt to counter the systemic oppression that has resulted in an imbalance of power in our organizations. While we take pride in years of dedication to promote diversity, equity and inclusion, we know that we can always do better and we can do more. As a result, the work towards equity, diversity and inclusion has become more central in our growth and development on the board, has become a focus for capacity development with staffing and hiring throughout the organization, and has become a primary goal with our outreach and recruitment for our various youth programs.
We believe that we, in doing our small part, are helping to support communities who have the power to change the status quo. But change is hard fought, and we are committed to remain supportive, aware and vigilant towards positive change.