In Dangerous Times, Hold Fast to Love

I recently had the opportunity to lead a few solidarity songs at an informational rally organized by the New Hampshire Poor People's Campaign. Ever since I was young, singing has always brought great joy to my spirit. I have always delighted in learning new songs and more recently, I have found that I also enjoy teaching songs and spreading their unique messages, blends of sounds and rhythms, and historical vignettes. Music has been a touch stone for the spirit of many transformational social movements. People struggling for justice and freedom have used songs to uplift morale and as tools of resistance from the work songs sung by black slaves in the U.S. south, to the freedom songs sung in South Africa in the anti-Apartheid movement. Particularly now, as U.S. politicians and media pundits spew words rooted in fear- words of violence, and impending war and destruction, the words of song-writer, Alison Burns, echo in my ears: 

"In dangerous times, hold fast to courage. In dangerous times, hold fast to love. And sing, and rise above. In dangerous times, hold fast to love." 

In the face of uncertainty, confusion, and loss, may we not allow fear to motivate our actions, but rather remember always to act from a place of love. Building a movement is not easy and putting aside our own egos to feel compassion for someone we've written off as a bigot, a liar, a thief, or a colonizer is arguably more difficult. Spreading love-based, life-affirming songs of solidarity is my current offering to the movements that are shifting the world to one of peace, respect, dignity, and justice for all peoples and the Earth. The Sufi mystic and poet, Rumi, put it so wisely when he said, “Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.” It's easy to get angry, and it's easy to be afraid. It takes a great dose of courage, mercy and faith to act out of love. Yet, Love is what our times require of us. Hold fast.

-Hannah Jeffery

simon dennis