Justice In Music (JAM) Initiative

The Justice and Music Initiative at FUS Madison

The Justice and Music (JAM) Initiative at First Unitarian Society of Madison was launched by music director Drew Collins in 2018. It is a commitment to explore and support social justice through music programming at FUS. In that spirit, the music staff at FUS commit to:

  • Feature¬†musical works created by composers and/or librettists who represent historically underrepresented social groups.
  • Program¬†musical works on topics of social interest.
  • Refrain¬†from programming music identified as being culturally appropriated or insensitive.
  • Build¬†FUS‚Äôs library of sheet music for choir, solo voice, organ, piano, and chamber music to include music by composers who represent historically underrepresented social groups.
  • Give¬†hiring preference to performers representing historically underrepresented social groups.
  • Commission¬†new works only by composers of historically underrepresented social groups.
  • Invite¬†music organizations who rent our facility to consider adopting these principles as well.


Ways in which we live out our ideals:

  • Recognize¬†the contributions of women in classical music by encouraging performers to select repertoire by female composers during Women’s History Month (March).
  • Recognize¬†the contributions of black classical composers by encouraging performers to select repertoire with this in mind during Black History Month (February) and African American Music Month (June).
  • Recognize¬†the contributions of LGBTQ+ composers and librettists during Pride Month (June).
  • Invite guest artistic directors who represent an underrepresented group to produce a Friday Musicale to highlight their music traditions.
  • In worship, we strive to select repertoire that goes beyond monthly worship themes to address social issues.
  • In worship, FUS music staff will include at least one composer of a historically marginalized group in each worship service.
  • Limit¬†culture-specific or faith-specific repertoire to arrangers from the originating culture, or arrangers with recognized expertise in that culture.
  • Donate 50% of the Friday Noon Musicale offering to WYSO Music Makers, a program that provides quality instruments, music lessons, and performance opportunities to students whose families may not otherwise be able to afford them.
  • Encourage performers at FUS to use paperless options for musical scores and promotional materials whenever legal, possible, and practical.
  • Give preference to qualified BIPOC singers/players when contracting musicians for services and programs,
  • Purchase audio equipment, sheet music, and instruments from businesses where the ownership is at least 51%+ owned, operated, and controlled by members of one or more historically underrepresented groups.
  • As a form of reparation, a once-annual royalty is paid to non-western cultural groups whose music we perform or sing together as congregational hymns in worship and FUS-sponsored events.
  • Update texts of songs and hymns which are unnecessarily binary to reflect contemporary cultural shifts with the goal of respect for all.