A Letter from Paul Williams on Fighting for Change
June 12, 2020
Dear ASCAP Members:
ASCAP is a family of music creators, as gloriously diverse as our many musical styles. What we do together – uniting our vision, harnessing our gifts and sharing what is in our hearts and souls – holds power.
And in this moment, we are called upon to use our power as music creators, and as a collective, to serve the greater good.
Together, we must stand in solidarity with our friends in the Black community. We must speak out against the racism, injustice, violence and hatred that has plagued our society for far too long. We must console those within our own ASCAP family who are hurting, deeply. As the world stumbles and tries to pick itself up, we must try to offer hope, and healing, and a vision for a better future.
I believe in my very core that music has the power to move hearts and minds. As such, it is a powerful tool for driving social change.
For evidence, look no further than the playlist ASCAP has put together in celebration of Black Music Month. It is full of luminaries, both past and present, whose transformative music has shaped our culture and moved us all forward. These extraordinary songs, along with the musical triumphs of so many other talented Black composers, songwriters and artists who have called ASCAP their home, have been the soundtrack of societal change in this country, and around the world.
As an organization that finds our greatest strength in our diversity, ASCAP is committed to amplifying the voices of our members, who are using their talents to fight for change. And we are also committed to working together as a community to learn, grow and raise our voices to combat racism.
As a first step in that effort, ASCAP has created a new Fight for Change resources page, where you can find a number of ways to take action, as well as learn about and support organizations that are leading the fight against racism in our country.
To support our employees – a diverse family that works hard every day to ensure that our members can earn a living – ASCAP will match employee contributions to two of the leading organizations fighting systemic racism: Color of Change and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. In addition, ASCAP will observe Juneteenth as an ASCAP company holiday on Friday, June 19th.
Just this week, ASCAP joined many of our members in a music industry effort calling for the repeal of New York statute 50-A, a decades-old law that prevents the disclosure of law enforcement disciplinary records. The momentum we all created behind this bill, which would require more transparency, helped to propel it to the governor, who today signed it into law, in near record time.
But this is only the beginning of what we hope to achieve together.
ASCAP will continue to look for ways to use our platform to make a meaningful difference in this fight. And we pledge to maintain an open dialogue with all of you as we do.
My friends, I know we can rise to meet this moment and deliver what it demands of us, because we have so many times before. It is my sincere hope that you, my fellow music creators, will join me in continuing to do what we have always done best during troubled times in our nation’s history – by provoking, educating, lifting spirits, giving hope and inspiring change.
ASCAP will always fight to protect the music the whole world loves. Today, we fight to ensure the basic human rights that all music creators deserve.
Love and respect,