ASTA Statement on Violence against
the Black Community

June 10, 2020

ASTA condemns the continuing acts of violence against the Black community. We denounce racism, hatred, and violence in any form and raise our voices in support of our Black members and our Black string students. Black Lives Matter.

ASTA acknowledges that racism has impacted issues in education and string education specifically. We commit to advancing the conversation, to engaging in deep reflection, and to doing the internal and external work necessary to effect change. We will come together to create a more just society in which everyone is safe, and where diverse voices are heard, treated with respect and dignity, and celebrated. We affirm diverse voices, diverse music, and diverse ideas as a means to create a more equitable future for the students we teach.

We stand ready to listen, learn, and work together to encourage equity, inclusivity, respect, and compassion for one another.

Many of you have spoken out, and we have heard you. One of our members shared,

“As musicians, we along with our students are empowered to explore and express the whole range of human emotion and sensibility. This expression can resonate in transcendent ways—both within our ensembles and out into the audiences and communities we exist within. The string classroom is also a place to confront systemic oppression. We can make clear to the students that the very enterprise of string playing has a history steeped in power dynamics that operate to the exclusion of the non-white, the non-male, the non-heteronormative. We can get our students to confront that reality, while finding ways to work within our medium to engineer a more inclusive narrative—to provide a literal sounding board for silenced voices. Those voices can be represented in the music we play, in the students and communities we serve, and within the teaching force itself.” (Dr. James Ray, Assistant Professor, Instrumental Music Education, Western Washington University)