NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess) — On Tuesday, much of the music industry participated in Blackout Tuesday, a campaign to support the Black Lives Matter movement in their quest for social justice.
Here, City Winery founder Michael Dorf explains why his company chose to participate in the campaign and counters some of the criticism leveled against Blackout Tuesday.
We have reprinted his open letter in full below:
City Winery stands in solidarity with all our employees, guests and artists of color against systemic racism, for justice and for our entire community to join together in peace.
Like everyone, we have been suffering for months from the Covid-19 pandemic and had just started planning our slow reopening when George Floyd’s senseless murder set off this series of events which has shaken the core of our country. Four nights ago, our Philadelphia location was looted with our front doors and glass broken, some bottles stolen, and the images that now dominate the media became part of our reality. Over the last few nights, our team in Chicago has been confronting the gun violence throughout the city and don’t all feel safe trying to come to work. While we were providing meals over the last few months for first responders in our various cities, the civil unrest today is worse than the anxiety over Covid – but we understand this is the price sometimes a society has to endure to help repair the world.
Our support of Black Lives Matter and our honoring and mourning the death of George Floyd is important to show our solidarity with Black Americans at this particular time, given the history of anti-Black racism in this country. As the white owner of a music venue and a community that has particularly benefited from the extraordinary talents of countless Black musicians and artists, it is my particular duty and honor to speak out. Of course, we do not condone looting or violence, but the demonstrations are mostly peaceful and righteous and never more critical. The heightened activism of young people of every race coming together has been inspiring. As a Jew, I wish more people had taken to the streets in 1939 when my people were being murdered. We needed people to stand up then, and we need people to stand up now for the injustice in our world. All of us in America clearly have both conscious and unconscious racism. We all need to use this time to examine and reform our ways.
We as a company, and myself as an individual, we want nothing more than to return to putting on shows, great nights of music filled with wine, food and joy. We love having a room filled with people of all races and political beliefs—coming together around music. But this will not happen in a vacuum. Our society needs to learn from this historic moment, we need calming intelligent leadership, and work towards true equality between all people. We all need to commit ourselves to meaningful change inside and out. As businesses, we need to ask ourselves, what more can we do—not just the composition of our teams, but the DNA of cultures. While diversity, philanthropy, and conscious capitalism has always been part of our core values, we will recommit ourselves even more to root out racial injustice in this world. We look forward to us all coming together soon and dancing as one community.
Founder & CEO