Oh Michigan

Oh Michigan
What state are we livin’ in?
Yes its an emergency
When those in power trample our democracy

Oh let’s take our state back again
Power to the people of Michigan
Rise up together now hand in hand
Protect our children, water, and sacred land

I’ve been working on a song for Flint, Detroit, and Michigan. A healing song of racial and environmental justice. It is a work in progress, just as our democratic values of justice and equality are not yet complete.

The Flint water crisis has brought to the national consciousness institutional racism, classism and oppression that continue to exist as part of the fabric of our state and of our country. A society that was built on dispossessing our Native American ancestors of their lands while exploiting their natural resources and enslaving millions of Africans will continue to operate on levels of great disparity unless we intervene.

We must continue the legacies of intervention championed by abolitionists, the Civil Rights Movement, the American Indian Movement, and the Environmental Justice Movement. We must strive to be Christ, Buddha, Spirit, and Love in our broken world as we work towards justice. We need to compost the rotten parts of this fabric in order to create rich soil for new growth.

How can I be part of this sacred composting? How can I respond to this situation of poisoned water and poisoned children with compassionate action rather than angry rage, with love rather than fear?

All I know at this point is to keep singing; to sing for the children of Flint and other communities that are disregarded in our economy and disenfranchised in our American culture. To sing for the families that are forced to face yet another level of financial, emotional, and physical hardship. To sing for the water that is polluted and poisoned and disrespected. To sing to hold accountable those in power who refuse to do what is right and just. To sing to build communities that celebrate diversity in many forms and that lift one another up, finding strength in our differences.

I am working on organizing a benefit concert for the Community Foundation of Greater Flint. Please stay tuned for further details and if you would like to make a direct donation, please give to the Flint Child Health and Development Fund.

I have also been steadily working on my next children’s album, Diversity, and look forward to releasing it some time later this year. I see now a new urgency to share its message of building inclusive community and supporting our core democratic values.

I am now getting ready to head west for my annual tour of Washington, where I will have many opportunities to share hope and love through music. Wherever I go, I take the water, land, and people of Michigan with me. I’ll be singing for our resilient healing nature, and for the children, land, and water.

Love,
Joe

 

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