A Cappella Texas Chorus stands with Black Americans, holding signs over their heads, calling out for justice, chanting the names of the unjustly dead. We honor the memory of those who said they couldn’t breathe, calling out for their families as they were so brutally treated by others who let their despicable actions rule the day.
We believe that Black lives matter.
We believe in equal rights for all people of all races.
We choose to honor and acknowledge the Black founders of the barbershop harmony style and to readily admit our neglect and mistakes in attempting to erase them from our history. Racism and bigotry are ingrained in the organizations and institutions in this country. Our own Barbershop Harmony Society codified systemic racism in its past, appropriating Black music as its own while proceeding to actively exclude Blacks from the society for decades. Even the recently announced Everyone In Harmony initiative to promote diversity in our organization met with active resistance.
We also acknowledge that Austin also has an infamous past in dealing with people of color. The institutionalized division of our city and its services designed to relegate people of color to their ‘side’ still prevails to this day. Being able to admit openly that we have a racial inequality problem in our ranks and our local community is the first step in the healing process necessary to bridge the divide of what our society and chapter were then with what they are striving to be now.
Now is the time to fully implement the Everyone In Harmony (EIH) initiative, actively expanding to focus more on racial inclusion in our hobby, to listen to our BIPOC and LGBTQ+ friends and family, hear what they need, and do our best to meet those needs.
We Stand For Equal Rights Now.
Our actions may take many forms. We are currently discussing internally what needs to be addressed. In particular, we are discussing issues that can be barriers to marginalized groups, and how we can outwardly support those groups taking action in our community and uplift those around us to do better work, including everyone in our a cappella family
Some specific actions we intend to take are:
- Actively engage in deeper conversations centered on promoting greater equity and understanding in our chorus and barbershop community.
- Look critically at any implicit bias in our recruitment and audition processes.
- Analyze how our budget can be spent in efforts to diversify our chorus.
- Donate more of our time and resources to local organizations that promote cultural and social diversity.
- Designate an Inclusion Coordinator in our organization to focus these efforts in different areas, membership, performance, music and outreach.
As we grow the ideas will change, some will be addressed, others may be resolved completely, and still more added as we learn and explore, together. We WILL hold ourselves accountable, be transparent in this process, be open to these new ideas and implement them in the timeliest manner we can, taking into consideration the health of our chorus and our ability to group together during the COVID-19 crisis continuing in 2020.
If you would like to be a part of our group, or have ideas you think would fit our goals, please feel free to contact us via e-mail: EIH@acappellatexas.org.
For more information on inclusion and our chapter’s efforts:
Barbershop Harmony Society Everyone In Harmony
It’s Time for Barbershop Choruses to Become Vocally Anti-Racial
African-American Roots of Barbershop by Dr. David Wright
Honoring the Grand Central Red Caps by Matthew Beals
For general information on what you can do to further anti-racism: