Put Down Weapons of Hate, Pick up Instruments of Love

The MusicianShip Family and DMV Music Community,

The month of May represents the heart of springtime, culminating with the Memorial Day Weekend, where the country honors those who died while serving in the US Military. As we transition out of the Pandemic, this much anticipated season is meant to be a joyous occasion filled with great weather, music, food, travel, leisure, and family bonding. This month also marks Mental Health Awareness, coincidentally a time for us to reflect, review, and ensure the well-being of our communities. Instead, the escalated gun violence that has taken place across the country leading up to this celebration has replaced this season with pain, anguish, suffering, and a senseless loss of life that the healing and unifying nature of music, song, and lyrics can only begin to soothe.

The MusicianShip stands in solidarity with our youth, their families, the emerging young musicians who reside in the communities we serve here in The District, and the music industry in combating this national crisis that plagues our country. While our hearts and prayers go out to the families of the victims of this senseless violence—from the racially-motivated killing of grocery shoppers in Buffalo, New York, to the shooting of elementary school students in Uvalde, Texas, and every community in between—our warm sentiments alone cannot continue to be the default response. Immediate action is required as an alarming number of young people have become the victims and perpetrators of these horrific acts of violence.

One can only imagine how the emotions around these ongoing and troubling occurrences engulf our young people, dampening their desire to pick up an instrument, learn a new note, re-write a medley, get back on stage, or more importantly, robbing them of feeling safe and secure while in school.

From the hills of The Capitol to the halls of mental health practitioners to the factories of gun manufacturers and the aisles of ammo retailers, we plead for ONE unified voice of action so that youth can put down weapons of hate and pick up instruments of love and hope. In this, we are committed to providing the healing power of music and ensuring the safety of the youth and families we serve in The District.

We encourage anyone in our community during this difficult time to embrace and love one another and to reach out to us for additional support. If you know a young person or family coping with the residuals of the recent events or who has experienced losses due to gun violence, we would also like to offer the attached resources for support and encouragement:

For additional resources, please refer to our article “Supporting Our Youth Through Trauma” published in July 2021.

With love and music,

Eric Liley
Executive Director & CEO
The MusicianShip