Make some noise: No more silence: Light it up

protest3

image from: http://www.protestmusic.org/about/

In honor of musicians who know the power of song as a contribution to social change, who have risked everything to challenge an unjust world, and whose music resonates with the voices of those marginalized in a world of power, greed, selfishness, and tyranny. Let’s not merely honor them as role models. Let them be inspiration so that we may follow in their footsteps. Teachers, students, parents, and community activists are rising up and speaking out at great risk to their professional and personal lives. They are being fired, condemned, kicked out, expelled, and even jailed. The reformers, politicians, and billionaires hope their examples will create fear and retreat. We need to show them that quite the opposite is true. Our numbers are growing. And we will rise up … singing.

In honor of Pete Seeger who passed away this week at the age of 94 and all artists of courage and conviction.

Springsteen “Ghost of Tom Joad”:

Mom, wherever there’s a cop beatin’ a guy
Wherever a hungry newborn baby cries
Where there’s a fight against the blood and hatred in the air
Look for me mom I’ll be there
Wherever there’s somebody fightin’ for a place to stand
Or a decent job or a helpin’ hand
Wherever somebody’s strugglin’ to be free
Look in their eyes Mom you’ll see me.”

Nine Tibetan singers were jailed after they wrote and performed songs celebrating Tibet, opposing China’s occupation and calling for freedom. Music is a vital part of Tibetans’ resistance to Chinese rule. Singers like these not only keep alive a culture that China is trying to erase from the world, but their songs articulate the aspirations, fears and courage of a people who remain proud and defiant after 60 years of occupation.

Robert Neville (I Am Legend): “The people who are trying to make the world worse are not taking a day off. How can I? Light up the darkness.” [quoting Bob Marley]

Pete Seeger:Throughout history, the leaders of countries have been very particular of what songs should be sung. We know the power of songs.”

Pete Seeger: “Songs won’t save the planet, but neither will books or speeches. Songs are sneaky things; they can slip across borders.”

Pete Seeger: “Down through the centuries, this trick has been tried by various establishments throughout the world. They force people to get involved in the kind of examination that has only one aim and that is to stamp out dissent.”

Bob Dylan: “This land is your land and this land is my land, sure, but the world is run by those that never listen to music anyway.”

Bruce Springsteen:

“Seeger’s music has been used all over the world for social justice. From the Civil Rights movement to the anti-war movements Pete and his songs have been there on the front lines. Like a ripple that keeps going out from a pond Pete’s music will keep going out all over the world spreading the message of non-violence and peace and justice and equality for all. Wherever people are fighting to be free or fighting for equality Pete’s songs and Pete’s vision will be there with them.”

Pussy Riot: “We were looking for authentic genuineness and simplicity and we found them in our punk performances. Passion, openness and naivety are superior to hypocrisy, cunning and a contrived decency that conceals crimes.”

Public Enemy, “Shut ‘Em Down:

From the education of a TV station
But look around
Hear go the sound of the wreckin’ ball
Boom and pound when I shut ’em down

Published by educationalchemy

Morna McDermott has been an educator for over twenty years in both k-12 and post secondary classrooms. She received her doctorate in education, with a dissertation focus on arts-based educational research, from The University of Virginia in 2001. Morna's teaching, scholarship, and activism center around the ways in which creativity, art, social justice, and democracy can transform education and empower communities. She is currently a Professor of Education at Towson University.

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