Are You History Makers?

Dear Music Family,

I send my best wishes to you all as we make our way in 2020.

It’s so hard to believe that we are already three weeks into this new decade. I find myself caught between the energy of the new year and the need to take some time to review what I’m leaving behind. With a year as trauma-driven and stressful as 2019, it’s tempting just to “let it all go!!” Since I’ve long since given up on the exercise of making New Year’s resolutions from year to year, I now choose to focus on a few moments of discovery that I wanna remember and add some new goals in the effort to build forward with purpose. Fortunately, my first week provided the perfect backdrop to do that with joy.

Like last year, the invitation was to passionately open ourselves to considerations of what that pivotal movement has to offer as inspiration as we face this charged national racial and political climate. We looked back to look forward. (Sankofa!)

In Selma I stood next to Joanne Bland, who was a child on the Edmond Pettus Bridge on “Bloody Sunday,” as she challenged our students. “Are you history makers?” she shouted. “Yes!!” they replied, in voices loud and strong! “Then you make sure you VOTE to honor those who died so that you can!”

I can say with assurance that none of us departed from our final stop in Memphis the same people as when we began. Of course, along the way, we sang together and let the music create a new sense of hope and community as it did with those amazing pioneers so long ago.

Now, in this moment, I invite you to join us on this new journey of discovery. As I said to the students in our closing circle: “Let the music you bring into your life in 2020 support and challenge you to be the best you can be, as we continue to work for justice, peace, and a more sane and thoughtful world.” The opportunity requires us to be family to each other in a different way. I believe we are up to it.

And those folks who sang “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Round!” did too. They were reminding us to let our light shine!

In peace, justice, and song,

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