We, the members of the Berkshire Hills Chorus, lift our voices to express our solidarity with those working to rectify the damages to Black lives and the lives of people of color caused by systemic racial inequalities. We acknowledge and regret that, although our craft of barbershop harmony is rooted in African American culture, Sweet Adelines chapters in decades past actively excluded Black women. In addition, scant attention was devoted to assessing the repertoire, with an eye toward rejecting any songs containing racist lyrics or tainted by racist histories.
We are glad to see this official, unanimously approved announcement by Sweet Adelines International: “…Sweet Adelines International rejects any song with racist lyrics, messages or history, and we consider them unacceptable for performance in any setting.”
In addition, we stand in unity with The Scottsdale Chorus of Sweet Adelines, which has promised to actively uphold racial inclusivity and promote diversity throughout the organization. Our beloved chapter, Berkshire Hills Chorus, has been a leader in ensuring that members are not excluded due to financial hardship; because of our efforts to reduce costs to members and provide financial assistance to those who need it, our membership includes women from a variety of financial backgrounds, occupations, and age groups. We now pledge to devote more energy to learning how to promote racial diversity among our members, and we look forward to raising our voices together with our new sisters in harmony.