A Letter to Our Community

Let me begin by saying how much I miss all of you. I miss being in the presence of inspiring artists, catching up and visiting with our passionate community, and working hand-in-hand with our dedicated team of staff, volunteers, and board-members. The lack of those experiences and connections in this moment in time leaves a void in my life – yet it is a void trivialized by the losses, pain, and trauma that racism inflicts on so many.

The world has been turned upside-down since the early days of this year by a disease of the body. However, there is a disease of the mind and soul in this country that is even more disturbing. With the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many preceding injustices, the open wound of racism glares. Kuumbwa Jazz stands with Black Americans and communities of color against racism, bigotry, and violence in all its forms. Black Lives Matter.

We strive to be part of the solution through amplifying Black artists, and in the words of the Art Ensemble of Chicago: Great Black Music. We pledge to seek, learn, listen, and to fight against systems of racism and injustice wherever we can. We will support policies that help to eliminate racial inequality and speak up for those persecuted based on the color of their skin. We acknowledge the work we have to do, we are inspired by the voices of change, and we join them in the hope of seeing racism totally eradicated. We will give our all to jazz – music that was born in Black communities and comes from the soul of Black culture.

Although we can’t see you in-person at a concert, we’d like to hear from you – please share with us any resources that you feel shine a guiding light. Let us know the artists you love who are working to achieve social justice and peace. Kuumbwa Jazz exists to provide a stage for such voices.

Our last concert at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center was by Melissa Aldana on March 10th, and we will likely remain closed through most of the summer. When we do re-open, attending an event at our venue will be quite different, as we modify our operations to address public health concerns. Some things won’t be different, however: our commitment to you, to being a safe space, and to being uplifted through art.

Tim Jackson
Artistic Director/Co-Founder
Kuumbwa Jazz


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