WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kamala Harris (D-CA), along with Representative Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY) today introduced a resolution honoring the contributions of African Americans to America’s musical heritage. The resolution also calls for greater access to music education for African American students, who received the lowest scores of all ethnicities on the most recent National Assessment for Educational Progress arts assessment. Another recent Department of Education study found that only seven percent of music teacher licensure candidates were African American.
An excerpt from 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 also co-sponsored in the Senate by Senators Doug Jones (D-AL), Tom Carper (D-DE), Chris Coons (D-DE), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH).
The resolution is supported by the following organizations that are advocating for increased access to music education in our nation’s schools:
American School Band Directors Association (ASBDA)
American Composers Forum
American Orff-Schulwerk Association (AOSA)
American String Teachers Assocation (ASTA)
Barbershop Harmony Society
Chorus America Association
College Band Directors National Association
Education Through Music, Inc.
El Sistema USA
Gordon Institute for Music Learning
J.W. Pepper & Son, Inc.
Jazz at Lincoln Center
League of American Orchestras
Little Kids Rock
Metropolitan Opera Guild, Inc.
Music and the Brain
Music for AllMusic Teachers National Association (MTNA)
National Concerts, LLC
National Federation of State High School Association (NFHS)
National Music Council
Organization of American Kodály Educators (OAKE)
Percussive Arts Society (PAS)
Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America
Quadrant Arts Education Research
Rock and Roll Forever Foundation
The Recording Academy
VH1 Save The Music Foundation
Winter Guard International (WGI)