Thursday, July 4, 2019

A Song for the Day

On Sunday evening I sat in the audience at the Columbia Orchestra concert at the Chrysalis and I cried. I cried for my country. I cried for what we have become. And I cried for the injustices that we have always had and yet ignored.

I cried because this man, Sola Fadiran, a graduate of Glenelg High School, introduced me to a song that rocked me to my core. From the Inner Arbor Trust website:

This song is from the Broadway musical “Ragtime”. 

Mr. Fadiran’s performance reached inside me. The words and music set visions churning of children in border camps, frightened and suffering, of Muslim families separated by travel bans, of Black families mourning deaths at the hands of police too quick to resort to tactics of violence and brutality. 

I felt my face, hot with anger, as I thought about how so many go about their daily lives without concern for those who suffer. How could this country bring forth such people, who shrug at injustice because it does not touch them? Who actively vote for those who make it happen?

But I also felt shame. Shame that I am not doing enough. Shame that stringing words together does not bring justice or lighten the burden of suffering.

Today is a day set aside for us to celebrate our country. Instead I give you this song. You can listen to it on Youtube but it won’t match being in the same space with the vibrations of it in your soul. 

Go out and tell our story
Let it echo far and wide
Make them hear you
Make them hear you
How Justice was our battle
And how Justice was denied
Make them hear you
Make them hear you
And say to those who blame us
For the way we chose to fight,
That sometimes there are battles
That are more than black or white
And I could not put down my sword
When Justice was my right
Make them hear you
Go out and tell our story to your daughters and your sons
Make them hear you
Make them hear you
And tell them, "In our struggle,
We were not the only ones"
Make them hear you
Make them hear you
Your sword could be a sermon
Or the power of the pen
Teach every child to raise his voice
And then my brothers, then
Will justice be demanded by ten million righteous men
Make them hear you-
When they hear you, I'll be near you
Lynn Ahrens / Stephen Charles Flaherty, from the musical “Ragtime”

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