Fellow humans, Americans, Chicagoans,
As you already know, our nation has been rocked by disease and conflict, tensions and divisions encouraged by those who are meant to lead and unite us. While we are still experiencing the tragedy brought on by the new coronavirus and resultant covid outbreak, we are also witnessing an abhorrent escalation of an issue with which America is all too familiar: racial injustice and police brutality. The footage of the murders of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery will continue to haunt our country until justice has been served.
None of these problems of racial injustice are unfamiliar to the music industry. The history of modern American music and the story of American exploitation of black musicians are often one and the same. Black musicians have routinely had their musical compositions and recordings stolen from them. They have also frequently been denied rightful protections of the ownership of their work, typically at the mercy of white-owned music publishers and record labels. These deeply institutionalized problems require consistent and strategic effort to undo, as there are unfortunately still people in positions of authority who would rather see these systems left unchanged (or worse yet, made even more destructive).
The problems of racial injustice intersect with many other broken parts of our institutions, including the gross, unnecessary, and dangerous militarization of police. This, often done under the guise of the “war on drugs”, has manifested in many of our communities as a war on American citizens, with black people and other minorities being disproportionately targeted. In Chicago, we are still grieving the murders of Laquan McDonald and others. This excessive, unwarranted, and racially discriminatory behaviour by police is systematically concealed and/or ignored by their departments and the surrounding judicial system. The supposed “bad apples” are gently brushed off and tossed back in to spoil the entire barrel, while the victims of their brutality are left without justice. Many of these officers experience little to no retribution for their actions.
At Schnauz Records, we have been searching for an appropriate response to these difficult situations that is the most helpful and supportive way possible. As you know, we are a small and independent label, but we feel it is our duty to share what we have with those in need. These are our communities, our neighbors, our brothers and sisters. As such, Schnauz Record Company will be taking the following actions:
First, we will be donating all profits from the first quarter of this year (Jan-Mar) to the Greater Chicago Food Depository, a united, community-oriented effort to get food to those who need it most. There is no simpler way to help than to provide food to those who are hungry.
Second, we will also be donating all profits from the second quarter of this year (Apr-Jun) to the Chicago Community Bond Fund. This is a nonprofit that first provides bonds for those arrested and charged with crimes who cannot afford the legally required payment to keep themselves out of jail while awaiting impending trials. This broken element of the system is one of many that disproportionately affects minorities and is often misused. The Chicago Community Bond Fund is also working to remove the bond requirement entirely, on the grounds that pretrial imprisonment conflicts with one of our dearest rights: the presumption of innocence until guilt has been proven. This goal is something Schnauz Records fully supports.
Lastly, Meghan & Caitlin have offered a link with information on how to help out, donate, and/or get involved with the Black Lives Matter movement. https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/
We hope that you will help us any way you can to make a positive impact at the time we are needed most. The present may be terrifying but the future is still ours to determine.
Please be safe and healthy and, in the words of a beloved radio host on my hometown station WDCB, tell somebody you love them,
Joshua Gablin and Schnauz Record Company