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Suzuki Association of the Americas

To Our Suzuki Community,

The SAA Board of Directors wishes to state unequivocally that Black Lives Matter. We denounce racism in any form; it is wholly incompatible with Suzuki philosophy and the SAA’s values and vision.

We reaffirm Suzuki’s foundational values and seek inclusion and diversity in our community of members and affiliates. We also recognize that while diversity and inclusion have long been core values of the SAA, there is room for growth when it comes to putting those principles into practice. We must address systemic racism, including within our association, so that every child can have the opportunity to access and benefit from a Suzuki education. We wish to make abundantly clear that we stand together as one united community with our Black colleagues and colleagues of color: we see you, we hear you, we value you.

In the past two weeks, important conversations on the topic of systemic racism have taken place in our community. Hearing from our Black colleagues and other colleagues of color has been invaluable to increasing our awareness of issues that persist. As a further step, the SAA is specifically reaching out to other regions of the Americas that we serve; Zoom meetings for our colleagues in the Central and South American regions will be held in Spanish and Portuguese this week.

The SAA is moving forward to bring more resources to bear on improving access and inclusion to Suzuki training and education. Our actions include the following:

  • The Board has transformed a previously assembled group of Black Suzuki teachers and parents into an advisory committee on racial and cultural diversity.

  • We have announced that the Michele Higa George Suzuki Outreach Fund, which was created with the focus of bringing Suzuki education into the lives of all children through community outreach, is now dedicated specifically to supporting Black teachers in pursuit of Suzuki teacher training. (During the listening session on June 9, 2020, over $2300 was donated to the Michele Higa George Suzuki Outreach Fund. The Board members have pledged to match donations made in June 2020 to that fund up to $4000. You may donate by going to https://suzukiassociation.org/giving/donate/?selected=408.)

  • We have heard the call to develop an inclusion policy and to incorporate inclusion training in our curricula and publications, and are acting on it.

  • We have created a discussion forum on the SAA website titled Diversity, Accessibility & Inclusion (https://suzukiassociation.org/discuss/diversity-inclusion/), where members may converse at any time on issues surrounding race in Suzuki education and may share resources.

These are only initial steps – we are committed to doing more. We have held two English-language listening sessions, attended by over 400 members, and we are posting video recordings on the SAA website of each of the speakers with their authorizations. We are excited by the energy and passion displayed by so many members, and pledge that the SAA will always be listening.

Remember: Together, we are the SAA. It is incumbent upon all of us to be leaders in our own communities. We can all benefit from the collective wisdom of our membership. We want you to share your insights, successes, and failures, so we can all learn together.

Finally, below is a collection of resources we hope SAA members will find useful, some of which were mentioned in the listening session on June 7. This list is by no means intended to be comprehensive. We encourage members to continually deepen their understanding of these issues and to submit other resources through the Diversity, Accessibility & Inclusion Forum on the SAA website. The American Suzuki Journal, the official publication of the SAA, will devote the Summer 2020 issue to Black contributions and achievements in the Suzuki movement, and we are committed to continued coverage of anti-racism, diversity, and inclusion in the Suzuki community. We welcome your submissions on these topics.

Resources

Sincerely,

Board of Directors, Suzuki Association of the Americas, Inc.

Suzuki Association of the Americas
PO Box 17310, Boulder CO 80308
Phone:1-888-378-9854
http://suzukiassociation.org