The songs of the slave represent the sorrows of his heart; and he is relieved by them, only as an aching heart is relieved by its tears.” From Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, 1845.

When we share music, we each share a piece of our hearts … and open the door to experiencing pieces of each other’s lives in new ways.

A year ago, FDFI agreed to partner with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra to help it become “a racially and culturally astute and engaged civic and philharmonic organization that models the values of racial equity …” and more. Last summer, as a public launching of this commitment, Orchestra members opened a Black Lives Matter rally at Martin Luther King Memorial Park in Rochester with Fanfare for the Common Man.

This month, the RPO launched a monthly series of free, streamed musical events dedicated to the fight for social justice entitled Truth is of No Color: Concerts for Social Justice.

Each concert will highlight a significant Rochester-area social justice organization. This first concert highlights Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives and features string performances of works by two extraordinary Black composers – Jessie Montgomery and Carlos Simons – and commentary by Dr. Hank Rubin, our founding director of the Frederick Douglass Center for Collaborative Leadership.