Skip to content


June, 2020

The Department of Music expresses solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, in response to the senseless murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tony McDade, and to the many other tragedies like theirs that have become public—and to countless others over the past weeks, months, years, and decades about which we will never know. Every one of those tragedies—and all the deep and scarring injustices inflicted on Black people over the past four centuries—are a product of racial oppression, violence, and exclusion. Many of us have either ignored or underestimated the prevalence of systemic racism in our nation for far too long. We must do better.

Music has an impact on our minds, hearts, souls, and communities. Music is uniquely personal and shared, powerful and empowering, and thus carries with it the ethical responsibility to focus on equality and inclusion in everything we do as musicians, music researchers, and music educators.

As a music department, we must acknowledge that most of the composers we study, the repertoire we program for our ensembles, and the practices in music theory we deem essential to understanding music have thus far reinforced white normativity and fallen short of engaging other musical ways of knowing in a truly meaningful way. Our music industry program must do more than acknowledge and celebrate the central role of Black culture in shaping the popular music we enjoy today: we must reckon with our complicity in supporting a multi-billion dollar music industry founded on the systematic exploitation, appropriation, and erasure of Black creativity. We also must reckon with the ways in which the fields of music history and ethnomusicology are implicated in colonialist and imperialist pasts and presents. Until we actively address systemic racism within our research, pedagogy, and community, we will remain complicit.

We are witnessing new energy in a powerful movement toward the only kind of change that matters—deep, structural, systemic change that will end the discrimination, displacement, and violence facing our BIPOC colleagues, students, and neighbors. What are we going to do to add our muscle to all those who are fighting for change? How do we as learners, educators, performers, and scholars better model the equality we say we believe in? Beyond that, how do we create a vibrant, collaborative community that transforms society through musical expression and understanding? We don’t have the answers, but we are committed to seeking them out. 

We will bring a new urgency to this conversation and commit to putting what we learn into action. 


Daniel S. Godfrey, Professor and Chair
on behalf of faculty and staff in the Department of Music

Committee for Social Justice and Anti-Racism in Music — Francesca Inglese, Rebekah E. Moore, Kelli Alvarez, Sam Rosario, Blythe Serrano