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Takin it to the Streets for Social Justice Using Music, Dance & Art

As part of my evolving participation with the Poor People's Campaign, I'm spending time with the NYS and Long Island Arts & Culture Committee. On this evening’s Zoom, I saw the following “We Rise Together” poster on a wall behind one of the presenters...

This, in turn, inspired the following post-meeting reflections on the power of the arts such as music, dance, and the graphic media to capture our hearts and awaken us to the need to address the systemic injustices of our times...with fierce love and nonviolence...

We Rise Together...

"What worries me, Senator, is that they're getting into step"

(except the SoundCloud one - it's not on YouTube)

Taking it to the Streets

Rise Up – Charon Hribar (click the SoundCloud link to play the song)

--a possible “in the streets” model for Poor People's Campaign musicians playing together and local people sharing how they’ve been impacted by systemic injustices

--I first heard Mikey during the May 2020 OneEarthLive event. His saved video from the event is here.

Playing for Change

In 2005 Playing for Change founder Mark Johnson saw street musician Roger Ridley performing the following song and got an inspiration for using Roger’s soulful performance as one of PFC’s Songs Around the World. You can read more about their origins and vision here. Since it was uploaded it has had over 120 million views (at least 20 of these are mine).

In recent days I’ve been listening to other songs with “rise up” energies...

-- Haseya is a Diné (Navajo) word meaning she rises, or to rise up. This song calls on the sacred feminine to rise together.

-- For the grand opening of Hudson Yards (NYC), Andra Day sings her original song “Rise Up” alongside Alvin Ailey Dancers.

--When I hear her sing, “move mountains,” I hear, “move Martin (Dr. King)…”

--seeing tonight’s Zoom meeting clip with the steel drum had me go look for a reggae version of “rise up”. BTW – I have a family member in the Philly area - Kyle Dunleavy - that makes very cool steel pans. Among his clients is Ray Holman - a world famous composer, arranger and performer of steel pan music. On Kyle's Facebook page, Kyle is shown jamming with Ray.

--from 2020

--he takes us into the world of nature…a fitting video that addresses the systemic evils of ecological devastation. Lyrics are under the video.

“Here we come back to life, we‘re still breathing

Standing up, everybody‘s gonna see it

Oh all you need to know is that we‘re holding on

Even if we fall

We rise up”

--takin' some artistic liberty: "Get Up," "Stand Up," "and "Rise Up" all evoke the same energy

Miming for Justice: Dancing Standing Still

Here’s an article about the recent mime project I mentioned during the Zoom meeting. It took place recently in Washington, and aimed to awaken people to the need to change the narrator-in-chief.

Bodies on the Front Lines: Dancing for Social Justice

“You have to have levels to the protest,” Ms. Avery, who is going into her senior year of high school, said over the phone. “Some people need music and others want to march and chant. Some people want to dance.”

“I think that joy is a revolutionary emotion…”

Ms. Razak said she had long seen dance as a force in racial justice movements, pointing to the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, where the toyi-toyi dance was both a tool for protest and a celebratory expression.

“It’s the way we rev the body up to stand in front of police and tear gas,” she said. “These technologies of music and dance are almost always how oppressed people have managed to survive.”

Graffiti for Change: Bypassing the Corporate Media

Hope to see you in the streets...AND, give me a shout if you'd like to know more about the Poor People's Campaign.




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