AMFS president: We can do better

During this one-of-a-kind experience of pandemic, something we share with the whole world, we in this country are also experiencing a series of terrible events stemming from something that is sadly all too familiar: We as a society have never treated people of different races equally or equitably.

In our small but important community of people who love music in Aspen – those who come to study, rehearse, and perform; those who make possible that work; those who contribute by joining one of the most loyal and discerning audiences anywhere — we cannot be silent about all this. Part of our mission is to make possible the achievements of those traditionally underrepresented in music.

Women still are not supported or represented equally in many parts of our field. We are especially mindful of this as we commemorate the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage. As coronavirus sweeps around the world, there has been an upsurge in ugly hate incidents directed against Asian people. Hatred of people because of their religion or religious background continues, and we must be vigilant about it. Above all, it is of paramount importance to address the fact that our profession and our culture have not been open and encouraging to people of color. Everywhere, there is work to do to keep doors open and make communities inclusive of all because of their differences.

In the face of extreme racially motivated hatred, we are called to witness what is happening, and why. To be silent is truly to be in the middle of the problem, and we add our voices to those saying we must do better—all of us. One day, this new illness will be over, or we will have learned to live with it. One day, the current convulsion of anger and fear about race will have subsided, as it has done in the past. But on those days, our unrelenting commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion will still be a work in progress.

Alan Fletcher

President and CEO, Aspen Music Festival and School