Musicians Indivisible SF
by Barbara Bogatin, Local 6 & San Francisco Symphony Symphony Member
“…Indivisible, with liberty and justice for all,” a phrase we have all spoken countless times since we mindlessly memorized the Pledge of Allegiance in elementary school. These words have taken on new meaning since the 2016 election, as many of us feel our essential American principles of tolerance and equal protection under the law are being undermined by the policies of the new administration. Our community of musicians has a long, proud history of welcoming diversity and multi-culturalism, connecting through our common bonds of personal expression and creativity. When we sing or play music together there is no “other”— there is only the joy that comes with playing our hearts out.
Watching the news lately has become a daily barrage—perhaps you’ve been raging at your screen as the latest round of blows to the Affordable Care Act and the National Endowment for the Arts is announced, or have railed against harsh new travel and immigration restrictions. It’s easy to feel powerless in the face of these troubling decisions made at the highest levels of government. Now there is a path forward.
Shortly after the election, a group of former congressional staffers got together and created the Indivisible Guide, a practical guide for resisting the Trump agenda and making Congress listen (www.indivisibleguide.com). This grassroots movement now has over 6000 chapters in every state in the nation, and the guide has been downloaded over a million times. Inspired by a group from Local 802 who formed Musicians Indivisible in New York, and taking advantage of newfound freedom now that my kids are out of the house, I recently gathered together some friends to start our own Musicians Indivisible SF.
Each Indivisible group is independently organized and determines its own priorities. Our Mission Statement asserts, “As musicians, we focus on protecting the arts and cultural institutions that truly make America great. Music knows no boundaries, no religion, no ethnicity, nor economic status—it speaks to each of us in its own way, giving voice to our deepest emotions and reminding us of our shared humanity. We stand up for the importance of funding for the arts and humanities, protection of our fellow artists from persecution, and the pursuit of a safe workplace and a healthy life. We join together to make our voices heard in ways that empower all citizens in our democracy.”
Musicians Indivisible SF welcomes the active participation of all musicians around the Bay Area, as we begin to take positive actions that support our goals. Our first Call to Action will be joining the Rally for the Arts at City Hall on March 21.
We currently have over 300 members in our Facebook group, and you can find our Facebook page at facebook.com/musiciansindivisibleSF. Please like us, join us, and help us advocate for the arts and social justice!