Statement of Values Regarding Chicago’s Presentation of History, Culture, and Art: An Open Letter

To the City of Chicago:

As we Chicagoans reflect on our history and how that history should be remembered and shared, we urge the City to be guided by the following values:

We believe in diversity. We believe the City should be guided in its decisions by diverse voices. Diversity has always been Chicago’s strength, from the Potawatomie, Ojibwa, Odawa, Menominee, Miami, Ho-Chunk, and other Indigenous nations on whose land Chicago sits, to Chicago’s first non-Indigenous settler, Haitian-born Jean-Baptiste Pointe du Sable, to its waves of immigrants from Europe, Latin America, Asia, as well as its blossoming African-American population during the Great Migration. Sharing Chicago’s story means sharing all these stories and more.

We believe in respect. We believe in respecting the choices individuals and cultural groups make regarding how to tell their own stories. We call on the City to follow the preferences of its diverse cultural groups and organizations, including our peer organizations in the Chicago Cultural Alliance, the DuSable Heritage Association, and more.

Because we believe in being kind, respectful, and supportive towards others, we do NOT believe in celebrating historical figures who treated others in ways that were not kind, respectful, and supportive. 

We believe in inclusion. We believe in prioritizing the perspectives, stories, and art of people from under-represented cultures, especially those that are little-known, poorly understood, and marginalized.

We call on the City to follow these principles as we collectively reflect on how we tell the story of Chicago.

As approved by the Crossing Borders Music Board of Directors