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Senators Booker, Harris, Rep. Meeks Introduce Resolution Honoring Contributions of African Americans to America’s Musical Heritage

Lawmakers call for more music education for black students

June 28, 2018
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WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kamala Harris (D-CA), along with Representative Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY-05), introduced a resolution designating June as African American Music Appreciation Month, to recognize the contributions of African Americans to America’s music heritage and to raise awareness of the  need for greater access to music education for African American students.

Also sponsoring the resolution in the Senate are Senators Tom Carper (D-DE), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Doug Jones (D-AL), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bill Nelson (D-FL), and Chris Coons (D-DE).

According to the National Assessment for Educational Progress Arts Assessment, African American students scored the lowest of all ethnicities. Another study found that only 15 percent of all students in music ensembles and only 7 percent of all licensed music teachers were black. A recent Department of Education study found that only 28 percent of African American students receive any kind of arts education.

An excerpt of the resolution follows:

“The Senate recognizes the contributions of African Americans to the musical heritage of the United States; the wide array of talented and popular African-American musical artists, composers, song- writers, and musicians who are underrecognized for contributions to music; the achievements, talent, and hard work of African-American pioneer artists, and the obstacles that those artists overcame to gain recognition;  the need for African-American students to have greater access to and participation in music education in schools across the United States; and Black History Month and African-American Music Appreciation Month as an important time to celebrate the impact of the African- American musical heritage on the musical heritage of the United States; and to encourage greater access to music education so that the next generation may continue to greatly contribute to the musical heritage of the United States,”

The resolution is supported by 35 organizations advocating for increased access to music education in our nation’s schools :

American Orff-Schulwerk Association

American School Band Directors Association

American String Teachers Association

Barbershop Harmony Society

Chorus America

College Band Directors National Association

Conn-Selmer

Drum Corps International

Education Through Music

El Sistema USA

Gordon Institute for Music Learning

Jazz at Lincoln Center

J. W. Pepper & Son

League of American Orchestras

Little Kids Rock

Music and the Brain

Music for All

Music Teachers National Association

National Association for Music Education

National Association of Music Merchants

National Federation of State High School Associations

National Music Council

New Jersey Music Educators Association

New York State School Music Association

Organization of American Kodály Educators

Percussive Arts Society

Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia

Progressive Music

Quadrant Arts Education Research

Quaver’s Marvelous World of Music

The Recording Academy

Strathmore Hall Foundation

VH1 Save the Music Foundation

Winter Guard International

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