by Ricky Strickler

One of our village members, Ricky Strickler, shares a poetic reflection on how ideas of race and oppression intersected with music in his racial memories and moments at a predominantly white high school in suburban Philadelphia.

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“It’s funny how most people love the dead
Once you’re dead, you’re made for life.”
-Jimi Hendrix

“…in New Orleans
There’s water water everywhere and babies dead in the streets
It’s enough to make you holler out
Like where the fuck is Sir Bono and his famous friends now? …

by Dwight Sterling Dunston and Brian Caselli Jordan

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Image Credit: Zack Garlitos at The School at Columbia University

Two of our trainers, Dwight Dunston and Brian Jordan, illustrate their experience as musicians and educators teaching young children about racial justice and the meaning of love, hope and community.

It’s 7:20am on a Monday morning. Two spoons and a huge pot of oatmeal, still hot, sits between two men in a ’98 Saturn. Both sleepy, only one of them has the option to doze off. He considers it but fights off the urge to get a few more minutes of rest, choosing instead to be in solidarity with the driver, who’s been up at least 2 hours already. The backseat is packed with equipment for the day: sound system, amp, guitar, drum, stands for both speakers and microphones. To help him stay awake, the passenger looks out the window towards the sky, which is a bit cloudy, but will be clear by the time the two are finished. …

by Shamm H. Petros

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Black people are exhausted. We have been sentenced to death on multiple fronts. We are tired of dying. We are tired of fighting for our lives. And, while facets of this pain are familiar and known, there are layers to this that are unknown to all of us, unexperienced by any of us.

The glaring inequities and the scabs of long standing racism in this country have been magnified by the public health pandemic of COVID-19; only to be met with the recent murders of four Black people — Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and George Floyd — at the hands and knee of white supremacists and police officers in four different states within three months. …


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