The past days and weeks have, once again, shone a spotlight on the tremendous injustices that continue in our society. We stand in solidarity with our friends, neighbors, families and our performing artist brethren who are voicing anguish, anger and deep frustration with systems that oppress and devalue the lives of people of color.
As an organization, Jazz Arts Project has always honored the vast cultural gifts that have been pioneered by African Americans. We remain steadfast in our commitment to diversity and inclusion in all of our presentations, our education programs and our community outreach. As expressed in our overarching philosophy it informs our mission:
Jazz music is a uniquely American art form. It is 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. 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.
We stand against racism in all its permutations and disguises.
We stand against all forms of suppression whether it be economically, educationally or by disenfranchisement at the polls.
We stand against police brutality in all forms.
We stand against a criminal justice system that disproportionately targets Black Americans.