Greetings and Peace, Good People!
As many of you know, I have been part of the UU Living Legacy Project as Music Educator and a board member, for the last 6 years of so. My activity with LLP has provided me with some of the most incredible and heartrending challenges of my life. The experiences along the way have also birthed some of my most joyful moments as well, as I have been more intimately linked to the history and to the people who have made and, in some cases, are still making our movement for freedom justice powerful and possible. <www.UULivinglegacy.org>
In my role for LLP, I have helped to lead pilgrimages, as song leader and educator, to a bevy of civil rights sites in AL, MS and TN. On those journeys, we travel together on a bus, stopping 5 or 6 places every day, to visit the museums, community centers, homes and other sites of the movement. Each day, we interact with residents, civil rights veterans and leaders in these communities, that were (and, in many cases, still are) vibrant agents of action in the cause of justice and freedom.
We often hear the stories that you don’t read in books or learn in school. And we sing, eat and share our own stories as we slowly come to know and appreciate the human side of this national narrative.
With my colleagues, I’ve helped plan and facilitate events like the “Marching in the Arc of Justice” conference, which brought together about 600 people from around the country and culminated with 70,000 of us walking together across the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma, AL, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday.” In that and other outreach efforts, we work to connect both young and not so young to the truth of the past, the present and to plant the seeds of future endeavors of civil and human rights activity. It’s an amazing resource for hope and change.
I thank all of you who have followed these journeys by reading my trip posts and commenting on my photographic efforts to capture, here on Facebook and beyond, what is best seen, heard and felt in person. I have also shared many of these stories with audiences of every age and background in my concerts here and around the world.
It remains one of my deepest and most joyful blessings to be involved in this work. And yet, there is another side to this work, of which many of you are also aware. That would be my embrace of new relationships with my White cousins in the Wickham family. (the family that both owned and provides one half of my ancestry) This growing shared personal roots journey, over time, has enriched us all. I am so honored that my Wickham family lineage is now an integral part of my embrace of heritage and continues to fuel my mission in music and in life.
As we continue together to celebrate our ongoing conversation and relationship as slave/master descendants, we are discovering, anew, that injustice, history, enforced emotional distance and pain can be overcome. It has made the work that I do in schools, concert halls, festivals, centers of faith and with community organization even more fulfilling. As I open myself to further bridge-building work, I inherently find out more about myself and my own need for healing.
So now, as I take on new and exciting projects in the rest of 2017 and beyond, here is one of the next offerings on the horizon.
From Oct. 21st – 28th, a collaborative pilgrimage between the UU Living Legacy Project and an amazing group called “Coming to The Table”, will go forward and is open to the public. CTTT is an organization dedicated to providing leadership, resources and a supportive environment for all who wish to acknowledge and heal the wounds from racism rooted in the United States’ history of slavery.”
This journey could not be happening at a more critical time in America history! It’s an effort to come to terms with the frustration and the incredible longing for hope that I hear all across our land. It engages the desire that we can and must be a part of the change we seek. This is justice in action.
So, here’s the link that will help YOU can be a link. Check out the info…clear the space…get on the bus and take your place!
We’ll ride, sing, talk, laugh, cry and eat together and create new ways to turn the division and acrimony, so rampant nationwide, into something more useful and lasting. We must learn again, as those civil rights heroes would say, to “make a way outta no way!” To know that there is no try… there is only DO and NOT DO.
Come get on the bus. I’m looking forward to singing with you.
2017 CTTT Racial Justice Pilgrimage – Living Legacy Project