BLM Statement

Dear Friends of the Grand River Jazz Society,

We have been sickened and heartbroken by the recent events exposing racism, hatred, and injustice in our communities. From the start, we have hosted musicians of every race and ethnicity who create and perform in this richly varied musical tradition. We are horrified by the persistent prejudice that exists among us.

The GRJS was founded on the love of the jazz genre which is deeply rooted in the history and culture of Black America. A list of brilliant artistic giants that have gone before would have to include Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Oscar Peterson… and so many others (the list is endless). The list of current practicing artists we won’t even attempt – it too is endless.

While the fires of discontent continue to rage, we look to the future when true change must emerge from the ashes – no other outcome is acceptable. As an artistic entity, we pledge to actively promote diversity and inclusion in all our operations. We call on all citizens to do their parts in effecting necessary change.

We also project a hopeful message of acceptance, healing and reconciliation – and the potential that music will provide a balm to the wounds that have been so ruthlessly and willfully inflicted. Together, let us imagine and create a world where all people of all backgrounds can live together in peace – and where artists and audiences can join together in celebration of the music we can dearly love.

The Board of the Grand River Jazz Society