A Message from The Stonewall Chorale
As the nation's first LGBTQ chorus, the Stonewall Chorale stands as a literal affirmative voice for the inclusion and acceptance of our historically maligned and legally oppressed community. We have encountered and endured lengthy political and legal struggles to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and identity. This struggle is still imperfect and is in genuine danger of reversal. In this context, we look with horror at our country's continued institutionalized racism, as shown in stark terror again and again by the murders of people of color at the hands of police officers and other American citizens. These vicious acts include violence against peaceful protesters perpetrated by police and paramilitary forces, with explicit encouragement from many of those elected to serve all of us. Unfortunately, this is something we have encountered and endured far too many times in the past when it comes to fighting for equal rights.
In searching for a solution to these pervasive racial inequities, we must state directly and firmly that Black Lives Matter, and reflect upon how, with our own attitudes and conduct, we have fallen short of affirming this tenet.
We of the Stonewall Chorale often grapple with the hard reality that our realm of classical music shockingly under-represents people of color. As members of the LGBTQ community, we know first-hand what it is to suffer from blatant discrimination and utter disregard. However, like our country, we also grapple with our communal racism. It's at times like these when we need to incite change not only individually but in our private social communities. We need to acknowledge, recognize, and speak up when one hears insensitive statements, even when they might come out of our own mouths. Positive change against inequality is never silent.
Our Commitment to Action
In the spirit of actionable change, we recognize that it is not enough to acknowledge racism and inequality. We must, as an organization, devote ourselves to becoming an anti-racist organization, amplifying Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) voices, and supporting anti-racist groups. We know this work is not a singular event, but a process. The Stonewall Chorale will explore biases within our organization and in its repertoire and outreach. We vow to make conscious efforts to shape future repertoires that amplify BIPOC composers. As a first — and by no means last — step, we will be participating in Give OUT Day not to solicit donations but to use our network to support organizations whose work has a direct impact on New York City's BIPOC LGBTQ community. We will be donating a total of $1,000 to the following organizations:
Griot Circle, whose Buddy-2-Buddy Program is designed to bring LGBTQ elders the care, companionship, and community they need in relationships of mutual respect and support.
The Sylvia Rivera Law Project, which works to increase the political voice and visibility of low-income people and people of color who are transgender, intersex, and gender non-conforming
To our friends and supporters: we are, as always, grateful for your support of the Chorale. This year, we encourage you to consider donating to these or other BIPOC-focused organizations on Give OUT Day. You will find a full list of participating NYC-based organizations online. LGBTQ inclusion, as symbolized by our increasingly multi-hued rainbow flags, isn't just about our identity and issues; it's about everyone's identities and issues. As a community of LGBTQ voices, we all yearn for the day when we can sing together joyfully and safely. When that day comes, we can’t assume that America, and the world, will yet treat non-white people with the same dignity and respect with which their current oppressors are treated.