Letter from Director Michael Kim in support of our community
To all members of the School of Music Community,
There are simply no words to describe the events of the past week. The barbaric and horrific killing of George Floyd has left indescribable pain in its wake as our nation struggles to understand and confront its deeply ingrained systemic inequities, injustices, and hypocrisies. I stand in full support of President Gabel’s swift denunciation of the University’s relationship with the Minneapolis Police Department.
Many within our SoM family are also part of the Twin Cities communities that continue to be directly impacted by recent events. I want you to know we are here for you and want to help. If you have immediate needs or would like to help others, visit the Twin Cities University and Community Resources webpage on the Office of Equity and Diversity website.
The fear and anxiousness so many in our SoM and University community are feeling right now deeply resonates with me and breaks my heart. A number of SoM community members have relayed to me how scared and terrified they are to even venture out to shop for basic necessities in our current climate—how can this even be? These members of our community rightly wonder what sort of future lies ahead for them in a country that is and has been so deeply wounded for so long.
To our Black, Indigenous, LGBTQ, and all underrepresented family in the School of Music community and family: we are all in this together. I stand by you all the way. I embrace you, love you, and commit to doing the work necessary to provide you with a learning and work community where you can thrive and prosper as leaders of our musical communities.
As we move forward with humility into the future, I am reminded of the powerful role that music can play in bringing people together. In the words of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.:
“God has wrought many things out of oppression. He has endowed his creatures with the capacity to create and from this capacity has flowed the sweet songs of sorrow and joy that have allowed men to cope with his environment in many different situations.”
The School of Music has so much to contribute to help bring our divided country and communities together. And there is so much we can continue to learn and do. This week’s events have brought a great deal into focus for me, as I imagine they have for you. I seek to lead with anti-racism as my guiding light. I will compile some suggested reading for the School of Music community to help foster and guide us in our work and discussions going forward. I ask all faculty, staff, and students to join me in collaborative and collegial discussions that examine our personal assumptions about our teaching, our curriculum and coursework in our respective disciplines, and how we service the SoM and Twin Cities community. I commit to bringing anti-racism work into our discussions at every level, from hiring practices to admissions policies. It will be an honor to do this work, and it continues to be my great joy and privilege to work with each and every one of you in the School of Music.
On behalf of the SoM community, I humbly offer our deepest prayers, thoughts, and sincerest condolences to George Floyd’s family, friends, and colleagues—and our special consideration to all those who have had to process these losses on such a personal level for so long.
Director and Professor