WHRB Statement on Antiracism

May 30, 2020

WHRB unequivocally stands against police brutality and racial injustice. We stand in solidarity with the victims whose stories have come to light in recent weeks, including George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and many more.This is something we can’t stay silent on.

To shed light on recent events and their impact on the black community in America as well as to honor the victims, WHRB has planned multiple music and news-related programs. We hope that these programs will help amplify the voices of those working to address these injustices. We have included the details of the programs which have already occurred below, and we will continue to let our listeners know about upcoming broadcasts on our Facebook and Instagram pages. In addition, to fundraise for organizations which seek to create a more equitable world, WHRB has cosponsored two recent student fundraising shows, and we plan to continue hosting more benefit concerts in the future.

In addition to taking a stance against police brutality and racial injustice, we recognize that we must also look within our organization to reflect upon the legacy of exclusion, injustice, and privilege within WHRB from our founding in 1940 until today. We commit to examining our history and challenging the status quo in order to combat racism in our structures, policies, and practices. It is our responsibility to do so, both as a student organization which serves as a space for Harvard College students and as a radio station which serves the Greater Boston community.

June 5, 2020

This weekend, WHRB’s Blues Hangover presents Protest Blues, a program which highlights how various Blues artists throughout history have used their music as a form of protest. The program features Nina Simone, B.B. King, Odetta, Pete Seeger, Big Bill Broonzy, and many others. Tune in during our regular Blues hours this weekend: Saturday, 5-9am and Sunday, 7-11am.

WHRB’s Blues Hangover stands in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and those protesting the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, Mario Woods, and the countless others who have lost their lives to racist violence. We will continue to honor the legacy of Black artists who created and sustain this musical genre and seek to shed light on institutionalized racism and systematic oppression in the United States.

Fans of the Blues Hangover show can consider supporting organizations like the NAACP, the Loveland Foundation, local bail funds, and other organizations that seek to bring about a more equitable world. Thank you for listening, and we hope you enjoy these “Protest Blues”.

June 10, 2020

The Jazz department at WHRB stands firmly against police brutality and racism. In support of the Black Lives Matter movement, which includes protests against the killings of George Floyd and countless other victims of police violence and racism, the Jazz Spectrum is playing a special broadcast until 1PM today featuring protest jazz. Jazz is a fundamentally Black genre of music, despite a history of whitewashing and erasure of Black musicians and has deep connections with the struggle against Black oppression and systemic racism especially in the U.S. Although we focus on playing explicitly political jazz today, it is important to remember that all jazz is related to personal expression and, in this way, has always been a political statement. As you listen to the music we play today and reflect on the burdens of history as well as hope for the future, we hope you will consider taking the short time to donate to organizations such as the Sphinx Organization – an organization which addresses the underrepresentation of people of color in classical music through education and performance – to support the fight against racism.

June 11, 2020

Classical Music presents the 18 hour long “Anti-Racism Broadcast: Challenging the Canon” on June 11 and June 14, 2020. Across the nation, we are gathered in mourning for and in solidarity with the victims of police brutality and institutional racism, exemplified most recently in the horrific deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, Mario Woods. This broadcast uplifts the work of Black composers and musicians in recognition of their extraordinary contributions to the genre. We also honor George Floyd by highlighting the work of performing groups in Minnesota.

However, we realize that one single broadcast isn’t enough to combat centuries of systemic exclusion, injustice, and oppression. Classical music has long been an inaccessible genre, serving a demographic of people that can afford to have access to and training in classical music. These past few years, our department has made an effort to highlight music composed and performed by people who have traditionally been excluded from classical music, and we commit to continuing and expanding that work moving forward.

If you have been moved by this broadcast, you can consider supporting organizations like the NAACP, local bail funds, and other organizations that seek to bring about a more equitable world. In particular, we want to highlight the Sphinx Organization, which addresses the underrepresentation of people of color in classical music through education and performance, and Justice Aid, which promotes justice by combating voter suppression and facilitating voter engagement via musical performances.