“A riot is the language of the unheard.”Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Black Lives Matter. In songs we have sung, in actions we have taken, in the stories of our Members, in the solidarity we seek — Black.Lives.Matter. The Board of The Quire respects and supports the actions of Black folk who are pushing back against a system of oppression, white supremacy, and police brutality, and condemns the ongoing violence being committed against Black people by militarized police departments, vigilantes, and white supremacists in the wake of the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. The Board supports the acts of resistance taken to save lives, to stand for justice, and to defend the right to protest, and we call on anyone reading this to engage with these struggles however you can. With guidance from Black people, white and non-Black people of color can stand in solidarity in ways which advance the fight for justice, without causing further harm or erasure to Black voices and Black lives.
As an organization that also has historically been primarily populated with non-Black members, the Board of The Quire also acknowledges the ways in which The Quire has, intentionally or unintentionally, contributed to the oppressive environment and white-washed artistic expressions that can often come from musical groups with primarily white membership. The Board of The Quire recognizes that creating an inclusive environment is not just about being friendly, but about critically asking how we — as leaders, members, staff, and community — can proactively resist the white privilege and covert white supremacy that exists within the well-intentioned work we do. The Board remains committed to listening to our Black members, the Black community in and around Iowa City, and to the voices of Black people across the country as we continue gathering in song to sing for justice, as we have done for 25 years
The Quire, as a space built by and for LGBTQ+ people, is directly linked to the riots that gave rise to many of the advances in LGBTQ+ rights we see today — the riots at the Stonewall Inn, the riots outside healthcare institutions during the AIDS crisis, and the civil disobedience that was present during the fight for marriage equality. In short: The Quire’s leadership understands that justice doesn’t always come quietly, and rarely does it come without resistance. In the wake of these disturbing deaths, as communities across the country have responded to the hurt and anger that is the result of generations of violence primarily against Black and Brown bodies, it becomes essential for us to stand for the promise of justice, equity, and equality that remains unfulfilled to so many in this country.
The Quire Board of Directors