Creating Change for the Better

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Chicano Batman is one of many bands to cast a stone in political waters. Their 2017 release, ‘Freedom is Free’ includes songs that advocate for equal treatment of all human beings and some that give criticism on capitol greed.

This is not a political blog, and I never intended to be a political person. Unfortunately, that is a luxury long gone.

Americans have a decision to make, and it’s a pressing one. We can choose to band together to promote the values intrinsic to making our country worth living in, values such as freedom of speech, equality and the absolute intolerance of hate, bigotry and racism. Or we can perpetuate the troubling events happening in this country. Inaction serves to promote the latter, and silence will only allow hatred to breed.

What happened in Charlottesville, Virginia this month cannot pass by without full condemnation, and we cannot let senseless violence to continue. The President refuses to sincerely condemn those who participated in the white nationalist/neo-nazi rally, so we must condemn it to our fullest extent.

Beyond our ethnicities, cultures, religions/non-religion and skin color, we are the same. We are people born to love, and when people are persecuted unjustly, we should stand up for them.

With that in mind, I’d like to share a few songs that promote love, acceptance and unity, and a few that give strong commentary on bigotry and racism.

7. “Brown Girl”:

This song from Aaradhna speaks to those who have ever felt different or been mistreated because of their skin color. In it, Aaradhna asserts her beauty within and without despite what others have said or assumed about her because of her skin color. Her song is a lovely reminder that beauty comes from who a person is, not what color his or her skin is.

6. “Same Love”:

Now, whether you like this style of music or not, “Same Love” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis is at the very least a beautiful tribute to the testament of love felt by two human beings. Its prose is simple and message even simpler; love is love.

5. “One Day”:

Matisyahu’s music speaks to the good in us all. Whether you are religious or not, his music is always inspiring. “One Day” calls for courage in the face of hate. Even in days in confusion and darkness, there is a bigger picture to fight for, a better world that could be ours if we persevere.

4. “The Power of Equality”:

L.A. band Red Hot Chili Peppers have never shied away from controversy or sharing their opinions on everything from politics and injustice to sex and drugs. Their 1991 song “The Power of Equality” follows suit and is not apologetic or ambiguous in its criticism on racial tension and police brutality.

“Whatever happened to humanity?” singer Anthony Kiedis sings in the song’s closing chorus.

While this song may require some parental supervision, it lends its voice to the plight for social justice.

3. “Call It What It Is”:

Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals do not mince words in his recent album and song “Call It What It Is” that reflects on police brutality and racism. The song is a chilling reminder that while the United States has made progress, there is still a long journey ahead on the road to equality.

2. “This Land is Your Land”:

I can’t recommend this cover enough. East L.A. band Chicano Batman takes Woody Guthrie’s iconic folk song and gives it a powerful Chicano-soul flare while singer Bardo Martinez weaves in new lyrics in Spanish. The band’s cover not only gives the song a modern twist, they give new purpose to the song originally written in 1940.

“No existe nadie, que puede pararme por el camino de libertad/ no one exists who can stop me from the road to freedom,” sings Martinez.

1. “Man in the Mirror”:

The only way to create change or to promote justice is to first look within. That doesn’t mean to take personal responsibility for everything, but to stand up and create the change we want to see. Using our strengths to work together to stand up for others and ourselves is the only way to preserve our fundamental rights. Leave it to the late Michael Jackson and his powerful song “Man in the Mirror” to remind us that we all have the power to promote goodness in the world.

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