Musicians Union Chief Pledges To Fight Systemic Racism In His Own Union & Throughout Industry

Ray Hair, president of the American Federation of Musicians, has added his voice to the chorus of industry union leaders supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, while pledging “to continue to confront the ways our union and the music industry have contributed to persistent systemic racism.”

“The unconscionable displays of racism in the United States during the past weeks and months have prompted millions of people around the world to take to the streets in protest over the inhuman, intolerable cruelty that Black Americans have endured from this nation’s system of criminal justice,” he said Monday. “The protests have come against the background of the global coronavirus pandemic, governmental economic shutdowns, and depression-era levels of unemployment, all of which have adversely and disproportionately affected people of color.”

Leaders of SAG-AFTRA, the DGA, IATSE and the WGA East and West have issued similar statements.

“Black Lives Matter,” said Hair, whose union represents some 80,000 musicians in the U.S. and Canada. “We will not sit on the sidelines and be silent. We add our voice to the growing worldwide chorus against racism in all forms. Enough is enough. The American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada condemns, in the strongest terms, the police killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Breonna Taylor and David McAtee in Louisville, Tony McDade in Tallahassee, Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta and all the other murders of Black people by law enforcement personnel, lynch mobs and vigilante groups that have occurred recently and throughout our nation’s history.

“Racism, bias, bigotry, and bullying are intolerable in our union, in any other union – including police unions – and in any workplace. We oppose discrimination of every kind, in every place, and we decry the hatred that motivates it.

“The senseless murder of George Floyd and its aftermath has illuminated deep rifts in American society and its culture of racism. We join those who are aggrieved and angered that America’s law enforcement and political systems have not rooted out racism. To do that, those in political power will need to squarely address the underlying issues that enable it.”

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