We, the Radcliffe Choral Society, stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Movement. We unequivocally condemn the systemic racism and police brutality that has plagued our society, and we grieve for the loss of innocent lives like those of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and countless others. Black lives matter. This is an irrefutable truth.
We acknowledge our privilege as an organization at Harvard, an institution that has benefited from the marginalization of minority groups and people of color. The classical and choral music scene has historically been, and in many ways continues to be, complicit in the systemic racism and suppression of Black voices as composers, singers, and writers. Although part of our own organizational and artistic mission is to empower women’s voices, we have failed to empower all women’s voices. We must be more intentional about the role that we play in this system and must hold ourselves accountable. Not only must we do these things, but we will.
We understand that in order to create real change, our beliefs must be backed by concrete actions and ongoing anti-racist work as a group. In addition to ongoing conversations within our community on how to overcome racism and prejudice, members of our choir have been actively participating in the Harvard Choruses fundraising campaign, and we encourage anyone who reads this message and can do so to send your donations to the donation-matching programs of other student organizations compiled here. We will use our social media to highlight Black composers and Black voices that have historically been marginalized. We are committed to empowering Black voices in the arts community in the long run through future commissions, collaborations, and performances.
We invite all those who are involved with RCS--members, alumni, and community members who listen to our music--to get involved with this conversation. While we normally take pride in making ourselves heard, now is also the time for us to make space for others, to learn, and to listen. We welcome thoughts, questions, feedback, and ideas through this anonymous form from the RCS community to inform the ongoing process of protecting, honoring, and celebrating Black lives as a choir. We also urge our community to use this list of resources compiled by the Harvard Black Student Association, which includes materials for reading, donation, and more. It is only through action that we can overcome the injustices that have permeated our country and our culture and enact meaningful change.