June 1, 2020

Dear Longy students, faculty & staff,

Like all of you, I am heartsick this week at the murder of yet another black person at the hands of the police, and by the violence and chaos that seems to be engulfing the country – on top of a pandemic that has upended nearly every aspect of our lives and laid bare the systemic inequity built into our nation.

We are a community – an institution – that exists to raise up voices, to spark creative expression, and bring new perspectives to light. To see, over the past week, such cruelly stunning examples of voices and lives being shut down is a call to all of us to take meaningful action.

As we take time to consider more substantive and long-term steps to address these injustices, Longy is taking two short-term actions right away:

Longy will make a contribution on behalf of all of our students, faculty and staff to organizations in Minneapolis and Boston that are on the front lines of the fight against racial injustice.* There are numerous organizations that can use your help, if you are in a position to do so.

Longy will start a fund for students to create their own advocacy projects to address issues of racial and social inequality**. We will offer more details in the coming weeks.

I welcome your thoughts and ideas about additional steps that we can take together. If you are protesting this week, please stay safe. To the people of color in our community, we see you. We stand with you. When we are together again, we will ensure your voices are heard here at Longy.

Karen Zorn

* Update: With discussion and advice from our Black Student Union, Longy made a financial contribution to a Boston organization, as many Minneapolis organizations have redirected donors to give locally. Longy is contributing funds to Dunamis, along with an invitation for a deeper relationship and potential partnership. Dunamis ignites agency and transformative growth for emerging artists and arts-managers of color—by serving as a nexus for professional development, community-building, consultation, production, advocacy, and development of equitable pipelines for access and leadership in creative spaces. To learn more about this remarkable organization, check out their website:


** After exploring how best we can additionally prepare our students to become socially engaged music leaders, we have launched the Artistic and Social Change Fellowship program that will offer professional experience in planning and producing culturally responsive artistic programming as well as social change program planning and administration, for five fellows.

Longy has also renewed two fully funded fellowships, one for each of our teacher preparation programs: the Master of Arts in Teaching in L.A. and the Master of Music in Music Education in Boston. The award will be given to a qualified candidate in each program who demonstrates a passion for working in underserved communities and the potential for leadership in the field.

The Office of the President has also created two new paid student leadership positions: Advisors to the President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives.

The Longy School of Music is situated upon the traditional lands of the Massachusett people, alongside those of the Wampanoag, Narragansett, and Pawtucket nations. The arrival of European colonists in the 16th and 17th centuries brought colonization, genocide, and disease to these lands. We acknowledge this history and commit to fostering a future of visibility and equity in our work.