Category Archives: Struggle

Speeches of Acceptance – worth the gold

After a successful weekend in Kansas City at the Folk Alliance International with amazing musicians from around the world, Julia and I got to watch the Academy Awards.  What struck us were some of the acceptance speeches. JK Simmons started by telling children to call their parents.  Then, without anger or histrionics, an actor, a writer and musicians stood up, not for themselves alone but for their particular portion of humanity.  Beyond the nit-picking of behavior and evaluating performances and dresses, people from around the globe were treated to earnest concern and bravery.  With the overlapping of these speeches alone, the bridge towards our collective humanity gets a boost in production.
That was worth the price of watching.
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 “To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s time to have wage equality once and for all. And equal rights for women in the United States of America.” – P.A.
http://youtu.be/OteoFQvQczc
We stand in solidarity with Commons, John Legend, MLK and all of those who long to see this truly be the land of the free and the home of the brave.
“…the same bridge that Dr. King and the people of the Civil Rights movement marched on, 50 years ago. This bridge was once a landmark of a divided nation, but now it’s a symbol for change. The spirit of this bridge transcends race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and social status. The spirit of this bridge connects a kid from the South Side of Chicago dreaming of a better life to those in France standing up for their freedom of expression to the people in Hong Kong protesting for democracy. This bridge was built on hope, welded with compassion, and elevated by love for all human beings.
Thank you. Nina Simone said it’s an artist’s duty to reflect the times in which we live. We wrote this song for a film that was based on events that were 50 years ago, but we say Selma is now, because the struggle for justice is right now. We know that the voting rights, the act that they fought for 50 years ago is being compromised right now in this country today. We know that right now the struggle for freedom and justice is real. We live in the most incarcerated country in the world. There are more black men under correctional control today than were under slavery in 1850. When people are marching with our song, we want to tell you that we are with you, we see you, we love you, and march on.
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from Commons and John Legend’s acceptance speech at the Oscar’s.
 
“I tried to commit suicide at 16 and now I’m standing here,” he said. “I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she doesn’t fit in anywhere. You do. Stay weird. Stay different, and then when it’s your turn and you are standing on this stage please pass the same message along.” – Graham Moore
 “Call your mom. Call your dad. If you are lucky enough to have a parent or two alive on this planet, call them. Don’t text, don’t email, call them on the phone. Tell them you love them and thank them and listen to them as long as they want to talk to you.”- JK Simmons

Take up your post and beam out hope!

Sometimes it seems that we are placed within various mediums and appointed posts throughout the spectrum of humanities’ belief system to remind us that the stream flows through everything.
Cat Stevens seemed to disappear into Islam only to remerge as Yusef.  The Peace Train is still in motion with a voice that helps us understand the sweet breadth and depth of Muslims in our midst, while laying down tracks to the universal depot.
My good friend Jordan Anderson seemed to disappear into Hip-Hop only to reemerge as Zwill. His latest video “Don’t Trip” is a call out to those struggling with sadness and isolation; a rope of hope on the waters of despair.
“Hold on just when your loosing your grip.”
“I can hear your voice I can hear your distant yell and I’m sending love to your every little cell.”
“Whatever shit your facing, never get to hating. There’s no such thing as problems, only situations. So face them, embrace them, even when your aching. Stay moving. Be patient. Keep waiting.  Whose advice have you been taking? ‘Cause first it fits great and then it starts chaffing. So take it off. Let your mind get naked.  Skinny dip, the water’s amazing.
Don’t you think our little blue dot is worth saving? That’s what I’m saying.
Whatever continent you stay in, I’m praying that we can join up on occasion and purify the water when the clouds start raining.
Life is heavy but as much as it’s weighing, there’s strength you haven’t even touched yet, I see it there. And when it hurts, at least your still breathing air.
I send you love, may you always be aware.” – Zwill
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” Self-scrutiny, relentless observance of one’s thoughts, is a stark and shattering experience.  It pulverizes the stoutest ego. But true self-analysis mathematically operates to produce seers. … Man can understand no eternal verity until he has freed himself from pretensions. The human mind, bared to a centered slime, is teeming with the repulsive life of countless world-delusions. Struggles of the battlefield pale into insignificance here, when man first contends with inner enemies! … The one who practices a scalpel self-dissection will know an expansion of universal pity. Release is given him from the deafening demands of his ego.”
– Tall wandering sadhu talking to the young Yogananda from
Autobiography of a Yogi
Those that have wrestled with their angels and seen the intertwined suffering of the chain we have unwittingly wrapped around one another, can believe that it is merely depression they struggle with. As artists in our various mediums, from carpenters to teachers, therapists, musicians, actors, illustrators, instructors, mothers, fathers… we are vulnerable to what we perceive and what we hope to see for those we love and want to share our love with.
Here are
We can see within their ranks those who have provided us with strong tools to mine some laughing sanity in the shuffling madness*.
Douglas Adams- Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy…
Woody Allen- Midnight in Paris…
Agatha Christie- Poirot and Miss Marple…
Charles Dickens-  The Pickwick Papers…
T.S. Elliot- Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.
Vincent Van Gough- Starry Night…
Michalangelo- David…
Abraham Lincoln-  Emancipation Proclamation…
(*- reference to Locomotive Breath/ Jethro Tull)
 
Let’s take up our posts and beam out a message of hope for those who think they are in the void alone.