“They tried to kill my child to shut her up. Well guess what? You just magnified her.” -Susan Bro
These are the words of the mother of Heather Heyer of Charlottesville Virginia. Heather, a nonviolent activist, gave her life during a protest in Virginia as she was struck by hate. Mrs. Susan Bro said; “You just magnified her.” Yes! This is the message we must remember–to magnify love.
Demonstrators gathered by the thousands on the UVA campus, illuminated by candlelight. Then they began to sing songs like: “We Shall Overcome”; “This Little Light of Mine”; “Lean On Me”; “This Land Is Your Land”; and a reprise of “Amazing Grace.” One student read the poem “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou. Their voices of unity were magnified in unison as they lifted their voices together in song.
I believe that singing is one of the most powerful ways of connecting people together. It is a display of individuals, lifting their voices in their own tone, pitch and style but collectively bringing a harmonious sound. Using singing to stay encouraged was also common during the civil rights movement of the 60’s. When we sing together in love, the voice of love and unity is much more magnified than the voices of hate and division.
In times like we are in now, it is helpful to draw inspiration from history and examples of historical figures. Dr. Bernard Lafayette Jr (Doc) was a part of the nonviolent movement in Selma, Alabama (my hometown) in the 60’s. Doc, who trained me in nonviolence, would share with me how nonviolent protesters used music and singing to avoid the hate and violence that was on the outside from getting on the inside. Wow! Music and singing to find inspiration and stay encouraged. I asked him how people could possibly find the strength to sing when things were so bad? He so graciously said, “That was the point of singing. People were losing strength and getting weak internally to all the violence that was around. We would sing to lift our spirits and regain strength to keep going without hitting back with violence. Instead, we hit back with love.” Love was the driving force behind the songs they sang.
Just like those that gathered at the vigil on UVA campus and those of the civil rights movement of the 60’s used music to stay encouraged and inspired, so must we.
I am excited to share with you a playlist of songs that lift my spirits and help me see the beauty around me — even in the midst of darkness. I was inspired to share these songs because of Heather Heyer’s fight, Susan Bro’s words of encouragement and all that gathered at the vigil on UVA campus. Please lift your voice with me. I hope and pray these songs encourage and inspire you as they do me. Charlottesville, WE WILL SING!
Here is New Way’s #StickwithLove Spotify playlist – songs of OUR movement!