The Department of Music condemns all expressions of hate, discrimination, xenophobia and violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI). In this time of great pain, we reach out in support to the families and communities affected by the tragic murders of Soon Chung Park, Hyun Grant, Suncha Kim, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Delaina Ashley Yaun Gonzalez, and Paul Andre Michels. Less than a year ago, the world gathered in protest and vowed to never again let racially-motivated violence destroy lives. As white-led violence continues to threaten our collective way of life, we must not grow weary or give up the fight. As musicians, we draw awareness to the right for freedom and equal rights around the world. We use music to connect to our shared human experience. We reaffirm our commitment to humanist expressions of kindness and compassion. We concur with the statement issued by our department’s Jazz Program, which can be read below. Together, we vow to work with even greater commitment to create a safer and more inclusive world for all.
Sending Love to AAPI Families
In response to the devastating events over the past week in Atlanta, the Pitt Jazz Program denounces the racist murders of members of the Asian, Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. We stand in solidarity and send our condolences to our AAPI friends and family. We are beyond angry and horrified to witness the continual racist violence and killings fueled by the destructive anti-logic of systemically condoned white supremacy throughout the U.S, which has kept Black communities and communities of Color in a state of trauma, dismay, and anger.
We recognize that the AAPI community has been increasingly and unfairly targeted and scapegoated during the pandemic. The AAPI community deserves acceptance and equity without discrimination; this has not yet been achieved in the U.S. and continues to be a struggle. We see that struggle as intimately connected to Black, Indigenous and all People of Color's struggles for equity and freedom. In American society, our differences should be celebrated, not attacked. We realize that there is much work for all of us to do to appreciate the unique distinctions between our struggles and to truly be 100% behind each other.
This statement is coming from an elite university, so the words are to be heard in context of a system that has not yet dissolved its perpetuation of racism. We recognize that this statement is not enough to erase the pain, but also recognize that silence is worse. Therefore, we state: As individuals in the Jazz Program, we are here for you, we care, and we will continue to engage in friendship and to utilize our roles at the university to create and sustain educational environments where cultural knowledge and empathy are celebrated and expanded.
Jazz, as a globalized African American freedom vehicle, has been a music of resistance to injustice and has served as a historical force for multicultural engagement. We realize that the more we can come together through music to celebrate differences through the collaboration of our contrasting cultural identities, the more we can understand and support each other. The closer we can all walk together, the better our possibilities to achieve real and tangible human rights together.
Nicole Mitchell GanttThe PItt Jazz Program
Below are resources for support: