(originally published on the Center for Community Change’s Blog)
by Dennis Chin, guest blogger
Culture and art are essential elements of a social movement that seeks to change hearts and minds – which we know is an essential process that generates grassroots pressure to create meaningful changes in the policies and institutions that affect our lives.
Take for example, Yolanda Lopez’s iconic poster that reads “Who’s the illegal alien, Pilgrim?” and features an angry young man in an Aztec headdress and traditional jewelry holding a crumpled-up paper titled “Immigration Plans.”
At a panel by the Opportunity Agenda that I attended a few months ago, I learned that this was the poster that inspired people like Favianna Rodriguez, an artist and activist whose critical work is lifting up the stories and struggles of immigrant youth onto a national platform.
Art can inspire. It’s a simple statement, but it’s worth mentioning. The more I witness the cultural organizing that is happening today, I realize that art is the collective expression of a movement. It’s a reflection of the soul of our movement.
That is why I’m so excited that the critically-acclaimed African American female a cappella group, Sweet Honey In the Rock contacted the Center for Community Change (CCC) to collaborate on the promotion of new song, Are We A Nation?, that condemns Arizona’s new racist law.
Together, CCC and Sweet Honey In the Rock are asking, are we a nation that supports racial profiling? Are we a nation that protects the civil rights of all people?
Together, we’re standing up to say that Arizona’s new law is wrong. We’re standing up to say that SB 1070 essentially codifies racial profiling. And we are asking that all people stand up to condemn this law.
A verse from the song:
What’s happenin’ to democracy? Strange to me…
We all deserve justice and equality
Does the color of your skin
Determine how and when
You can be stopped and booked
For the way that you look?
This not freedom’s style
Got to be the time to come together, right now!
Go here to download the song for free until June 22. And if you haven’t already, join our list to be a part of a progressive movement that includes fighting Arizona’s new law.
Tell your friends and family about this song too. You never know, we may inspire just one future leader to do great things in the future.