The online initiative “We Want Music Without Borders” started on Facebook on March 31, 2012 a couple days after Commissioner Boone of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events announced the series cancellation. Being extremely disappointed, I started the open group on Facebook by adding 100 of my friends. Within 24 hours, people added/invited over 1K friends to join the group. The group began circulating an online petition created by Claudia Urbano to which I contributed substantially to the description. http://www.thepetitionsite.com/291/765/617/get-the-music-without-borders-series-back-to-chicago/ Immediately, We Want Music Without Borders and the online petition received some media attention. The initiative was mentioned in articles in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Reader, the Chicagoist, Afropop Worldwide blog, and most recently, Timeout. Of primary importance was that news of the initiative quickly reached Deputy Commissioner Ysaguirre, who is in charge of Arts Programming. He indicated he was aware of the initiative in an interview with Howard Reich of the Chicago Tribune in mid April. In the interview, he clearly misunderstood why we are asking for Music Without Borders to be reinstated.
Lots of speculation was swirling around why the series had been cancelled so the next step was obtaining an official statement as to why the series had been cancelled. I crafted a letter to the Commissioner introducing myself as the group administrator and fan of Music Without Borders. I received her reply on May 7. I posted a copy of her letter the Facebook group page https://www.facebook.com/groups/wewantmusicwithoutborders/ My next post will include the summary of both letters.