June 6th, 2020
Dear Mason Music Students,
Our School of Music stands in solidarity with our Black students, faculty and friends as we do our part to confront the systemic racism so pervasive throughout the country. We are committed to equality, justice and freedom for all members of our School of Music community and our world, through our collective voice, our creative energy and our love for music. Our music faculty and staff affirm our full support and endorsement of the joint statement put forward by Dr. Anne Holton, Interim President, and Dr. Gregory Washington, President-Designate of George Mason University. We are dedicated to living up to our Mason mission to be an “inclusive academic community committed to creating a more just, free, and prosperous world.”
As a School of Music, we are united against intolerance of any kind. Our School of Music’s mission is to “guide our students to find their best musical voices … and graduate dedicated, responsible musical citizens possessing the highest levels of idealism, passion, and distinction.” As an inclusive community of artists, scholars, and educators, we pledge to uphold this mission statement and live this motto to the fullest.
The diversity of our community is only meaningful if all of our voices are heard and if we listen to one another. We want to gather as a community of artists and to acutely listen to concerns and issues expressed by our Black students, colleagues, and recent alumni of our School of Music. Our goal to create new opportunities for dialogue in hopes of healing and solace. As a result of the listening sessions, we hope to have some actionable items to move forward for the upcoming year within our School of Music. Please know that our music faculty is dedicated to fostering a more inclusive repertoire in our academic classes and concert programming. We are also hopeful there may be interest in the formation of a Black Student organization within the School of Music for the upcoming year.
We propose to convene several listening sessions in the upcoming weeks for meaningful dialogue with our Black student artists, friends, and recent alumni of our School of Music. We’d like to schedule Wednesday, June 10th at 12 noon, as our first of several listening sessions in a safe and supportive environment (please RSVP here).
CVPA Dean Rick Davis speaks for all of our faculty in his statement, “As artists and educators in CVPA, we acknowledge and commit to the hard work in front of us: to create communities that are anti-racist, truly free, and fully just for all. Saying it out loud is only the first step. The real work begins now, with both reflection and action: in our classrooms and studios, on our stages, in our galleries and digital spaces, and most importantly in our own hearts, minds, relationships, and daily practice.” The School of Music’s first action step is to attempt to gain increased understanding via these listening sessions.
Dr. Linda A. Monson
Director, School of Music