MSO Statement on the Chauvin verdict

MSO’s mission is to perform outstanding symphony concerts for diverse audiences throughout the Twin Cities metropolitan area, and the diverse relationships we’ve developed across the community are an important part of our work as an ensemble. Almost a year ago, after the killing of George Floyd, we began the process of educating ourselves about systemic racism and implicit bias, so that we might be better equipped to address and act upon issues of racism in classical music and in our community. 
This week we witnessed the three guilty verdicts in the trial of Derek Chauvin. While we are glad for the verdicts, we must ask ourselves, in what moral universe do we even need this trial to confirm what we all saw? Why did it have to take an almost 10-minute excruciating video and an entire team of expert attorneys, experts and re-traumatizing testimony from eye-witnesses to get the first appropriate verdict of a white police officer’s murder of an unarmed Black fellow community member? In the same week, we also grieve the death of Daunte Wright in an encounter with Brooklyn Center police. We know that the Chauvin verdict is a step in the right direction, and we have many steps to yet take to achieve racial equity. 
We want to add our voices to those calling for change. We believe that Black Lives Matter: that Black people should have the same rights as all people, that Black bodies deserve to be treated with dignity, and that Black voices need to be heard and amplified. We commit to continue our own learning and work in the right direction.