As a white guy from Montana, nobody is looking to me for guidance on racial issues, and for good reason: there are aspects of life in America that I will never fully understand because I will never directly experience them. And certainly nobody's saying, "Man, America has a lot of problems right now - let's see what the orchestra conductors have to say." I think I can speak for virtually every performing arts organization in the country when I say that we're all painfully aware of how rarely we serve the entirety of the communities we claim to represent.
But as modest as it may be, I do have a leadership position in the community, and to say nothing at all feels irresponsible. So while I don't feel like the best person to act as a source of news or recommended courses of action or mind-blowing insight, here are three things I do feel comfortable sharing:
I have to believe that any path forward must include increased trust between law enforcement and community. I'm encouraged that the Great Falls sheriff's statement on George Floyd's death was characterized so much by empathy rather than knee-jerk defensiveness.
Similarly, I'm proud that Montana, with bipartisan support, has resisted efforts to set the police force and the populace against each other by restricting acquisition of federal military equipment for local law enforcement.
Finally, I'm grateful to Reggie Watts for sharing, even in a small way, some of the experiences of his upbringing, much of which took place in Great Falls.