The work of liberation is long and hard, but music is one way we are sustained and renewed. I asked women in the throes of decolonization, activism, community organizing, pastoring, and liberative writing what songs encourage them as they engage in the work of justice and resistance. Here are their responses.
“Sleep Now in the Fire” by Rage Against the Machine
Rev. Tuhina Verma Rasche – pastor and speaker
As a woman of color, I've often been told, "You're too angry. Lighten up." I've embraced anger as holy (just as long as it doesn't eat me alive). This song speaks to me of this holy anger. While it mentions the many evil powers of the world, I hold on to this line - "Jesus blessed me with its future and I protect it with fire."
“Madre Tierra” by Maya Jupiter
Carolina Hinojosa-Cisneros - Tejana poet and freelance writer
This song encourages me because the work of resistance is connected to the earth, our Creator, and those women who blazed trails for us to continue the work of resistance. Resistance is communal, and it is kin-dom work.
"Superwoman" by Alicia Keys
Laura Goble – Vice National Leader of L’Arche USA
When I hear this song it reminds me that not only am I enough within, but I can also offer and receive profound strength from joining with others. When I'm off balance, or the woundedness of our world is saturating my perspective, the beat of this song helps me find my center and look for other warriors to sync up with.
“Baby Hold On” by Liz Vice
Brittany Paschall - organizer and preacher
This song is like a conversation with a sweet friend or Mother God after a long day - a friend who gets the way the world is warring with you. Vice's musicality coupled with lyrics describing the day to day toils of life bring me power and strength.
“Good Way” by Frank Waln ft. Gunner Jules & Rollie Raps
Kaitlin Curtice - Potawatomi Citizen and author of Glory Happening
“Good Way” embodies all of the ways we heal through being Indigenous. I listen to it when I am traveling for speaking events, because it grounds me not only to a holy anger to speak truth, but to the beautiful work of walking the Good Way. It both brings me back to myself and my ancestors and keeps my fire burning.
“Oh, Santa Rosa” by Betsayda Machado & Parranda El Clavo
Melissa Florer-Bixler - pastor and author of Fire By Night
I heard “Oh, Santa Rosa,” a song that calls out to the patron saint of the enslaved, in a crowded churro shop surrounded by people dancing and waving flags. Resistance can look like anger and sorrow, and it can be pounding with joy as we remember those who have survived, whose existence is resistance, who lead us towards a new day.
“I’ll Stand By You” by The Pretenders
Karen Gonzalez - immigration advocate, speaker, and author of The God Who Sees
I love that the narrator of this song tells the hearer not to be ashamed to cry or to get mad if she’s mad, while promising that she’ll stand by her and “won’t let nobody” hurt her. When I hear this song I’m reminded of all the strong and resilient women who’ve come forward to speak of their abuse and harassment at the hands of men. They’ve cried and some have raged in anger. They’re entitled to all these responses, and I want them to know that I believe them and stand by them. I feel this way about refugees as well, especially at this time when the U.S. is welcoming the smallest number in its history. I stand by them and know that God sees them.