A Post-Election Message from Our CEO and President, Simon Woods

November 9, 2020

Dear Friends: 

This has been an extraordinary, stressful, and transformative time in the life of the country, bringing relief for many and disappointment for others. At the League of American Orchestras we hope for a future that is rooted in decency, respect, and humanity. We cherish the chance to play our role in building a society where everyone – of every race, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability, or economic background – can fulfill their dreams and live their lives safely and joyously. 

We can all note with pride that this election cycle generated record voter participation, a sure victory for democracy. But the polarization that runs through American society and the divergence of views about the future direction of the country have never been more stark. There is an urgent imperative for us to work together to advance a more inclusive and equitable country. Music has a unique power to cross boundaries and bring people together – and its inspiration will be more important than ever in the months and years to come. Now is the time to renew our collective commitment to civic life, and to the cohesion and vitality of our communities.

Taking action in the weeks immediately following an election is critical as policy leaders across all party affiliations chart a course that will have long-lasting effects. We strongly recommend that you be among the first to make contact and introduce your orchestra to newly elected or re-elected officials, seeking to understand their priorities so you can find common ground and opportunities. And to the extent you can do this together, with partners and collaborators in your community, the more powerfully you will be able to advocate for positive change. 

On the public policy front, the stakes are extremely high. Elected officials will be making decisions that will determine how music flows across international borders, how accessible the ever-growing bounty of online content will be, and what systemic changes are made to advance equitable access to a complete education for every learner. They will also make decisions on how to incentivize new charitable giving, and – of course – how to provide critically-needed COVID-19 relief to support the arts sector, its workforce, and local communities.

We offer the following resources, urge your continued engagement and partnership, and thank you for being part of a network dedicated to advancing more equitable participation by all.

League Equity and Inclusion Resources 
Playing Your Part: An Orchestra’s Guide to Public Policy Advocacy 
Key Policy Issues at a Glance 
Look Up Your Federally Elected Officials 
Arts & COVID-19 Federal Relief Campaign 

All of us at the League send warmest wishes to you and everyone in your community.  

With best wishes, 

Simon Woods

Simon Woods
President and CEO
League of American Orchestras