An email went out yesterday from the owner of an excellent music store in Chicago that is closing its doors because of an association with Trump.
To all our music loving customers and friends,
It is with a truly heavy heart that I must write this note to all of you who have shared this journey with my wife Suzzanne and I, to create and maintain a place for world music in Chicago.
First off, I want to thank you, and thank all of our amazing friends, musicians and customers that made this journey possible through your words and actions. Thank you for being our customers, for putting the word out for us, for attending our workshops, concerts and community events. Thank you for your online sharing and support. Thank you most sincerely for trusting me to repair and restore some of your most treasured musical instruments. Thank you for everything you have done to support our humble shop over the past year and half (nearly two). Thank you from the bottom of my beating heart. Thank YOU!
When Suzzanne and I began this journey, we intended to build a business that could remain a brick and mortar location and serve our community for years to come. We have been able to make it this far, but due to circumstances we cannot control, we are unable to continue this journey. We regret to have to inform all of you that Worlds of Music Chicago will close its retail store location on April 27th, 2017.
Our country is divided like never before, and we have felt that divide personally and deeply. Over the past year our business has been the target of dozens and dozens of repeated smear attacks, boycott campaigns, harassment, online lies and most recently physical threats to our shop and person. These attacks all stemmed from Suzzanne’s attendance at the Chicago Trump Rally that turned violent last March. Since that event, a small but dedicated group of local anti-Trump activists have made us their cause de jour, making an ongoing and concerted effort to destroy our reputation in the city and threaten us, with the intent of “driving us out of town”.
My wife and I supported and continue to support our president. In any other election year, voting for one of two political major parties was not a hindrance to working with people who voted differently. As Independents, we have voted many different ways, and have worked with people who voted many other ways. It has never occurred to me, or Suzzanne, to reject others of differing political views. I have for decades worked with musicians and artists with vastly differing beliefs from mine on a daily basis. So it never occurs to me, even now, to boycott anyone’s business or attempt to diminish someone’s livelihood based on their personal political opinions.
It has always seemed to me that the point of a free country was to respect those with differing opinions. I have always shown that respect by keeping personal politics out of music and business. But this year, things were much different. No matter the efforts I took to keep all mention of politics out of my business, something Suzzanne and I felt vital to retaining a comfortable environment for ALL political types, it was not enough. We were personally stalked online, and our business was made the target of hate for our personal political choices.
Were it merely for the attacks against us, we might be able to endure. But unfortunately, those attacking us have also attacked others for MERELY ASSOCIATING with us. We have been proud to be a location where the community can come to enjoy world music, but we have heard from multiple musicians the sad reality that they have been questioned about their dealings with us, and fear being made targets or have been made targets for doing business or performing with me or at the shop. I want to thank those of you who came to me and were honest about what is happening, and your fears. But I cannot/will not be a factor in harming my fellow musicians livelihoods.
I also will not be a danger to others. When faceless strangers threaten to burn down our shop, they are essentially threatening the safety of our neighbors, and we cannot live with that fear. Suzzanne and I are tired of waiting to see if a brick has finally ended up in our window, or worse. The economic and emotional cost of fighting these hate activists has become more than we can afford.
We built this shop to serve you in 3 ways: as a resource for beautiful and quality world instruments, a service location to care for those instruments, and as a community space for sharing music through learning and listening. The hours of building and design that went into creating the physical shop were focused on making a HOME for the world music community in Chicago, a home for YOU.
We have done our best. But too many people have told us they cannot do business with us, either because of fear, or because of politics. Too many have heard rumors and stepped away to avoid conflict. Too many have been intimidated into avoiding and rejecting that home we built for you, and so we are unable to continue fighting to keep it viable. Too many decades-old friends have let politics come between us and have told us they will not do business with us, or worse, have outright smeared and attacked us online. And we have too many personal threats to us and our shop to feel safe, for us, or the community. We are scared, hurt and tired of being a liability to others. We are done.
We tried very hard to “stick it out” and keep this ugly unnecessary struggle to ourselves out of respect for all of our customers and to honor our commitment to keep politics. out of our business. Many of you are hearing about this for the first time. We are sorry to have to talk about it now, but we feel it is only fair that the community we intended to serve understand why we have been forced to close.
To everyone who has defended our honor and reputation, we cannot thank you enough. You have no idea how much your support has meant to us while we faced horrible and vicious lies and attacks to our character. Thank you to everyone who came and told us the truth about the rumors against us, and shared the vital info we needed to understand what was happening to us. Thank you most sincerely to those who took up our cause, promoted our shop, or donated to a fundraiser or event in support.
Suzzanne and I will be moving out of Chicago later this year. While we are here, I will still be teaching lessons and workshops. I am also available to do ANY repairs, re-headings or adjustments your world instruments may require. Please feel free to take advantage of the time I am still in town to get those beautiful instruments in top shape.
We will also still be a resource for purchasing wonderful world instruments online, and you can find our products on www.worldsofmusicchicago.com. We hope to be able to transform our business model away from brick and mortar to maintain some of what we tried so hard to create.
We will be hosting a Closing Party on Saturday, April 22nd. We invite you all to come and share in one last hurrah at our beautiful and beloved shop. We also have several events planned over March and April: drum circles, gong meditations, drumming and flute meditation workshops and some very special live music. We will be sharing more about these events in the days to come, and as always, information about our events is located on our Facebook page and website.
It has been my great honor and pride to create this place. It is the most heartbreaking thing I have ever done to close it. Suzzanne and I love this shop, and have loved and treasured being a part of all of your musical lives. We cannot thank you all enough for the love, trust and support you have shown us.
We hope to see you April 22nd. More details will be shared soon. Feel free to call, write or come by with questions or comments. As always, we are here for you, in music and in shared humanity and harmony.
Yours in the music, Alexander
As we as a society decide that the other party is pure evil and not a healthy check and balance in a functioning democracy, and boycotts must occur over differing political opinions, I wondered when else such negativity has caused such actions in the past. Wiki has this article to share on the issue. I know, I know, it's supposed to invalidate any argument to go THERE, but honestly the hatred that seems to exist today warrants at least consideration of when societies have been so wound up to hate in history.