Earlier this year, Tripp Hudgins wrote a piece declaring that all his favorite theologians are dying. He listed David Bowie and Pete Seeger as two theologians whom he felt sang “real theology about a real God” during their lifetimes. Others would later add Prince and Phife Dog and Sharon Jones to their lists of songwriters who spoke lyrics of truth in a broken world and who are no longer with us. Leon Wieselthier described his friend Leonard Cohen as “the lyrical advocate of the finite and the flawed” in a beautiful eulogy in the New York Times just the other week. Could a musically gifted person of any faith be honored with better words than those?
The month of May is littered with important anniversaries in movements for justice — beginning on May 1, the day of recognition for workers and laborers everywhere. Take a listen. Got a favorite song for justice? Share below — and in the meantime, enjoy these tunes.
I make no secret of the fact that there is a big soft spot in my heart for the tremendous gains of the labor movement in American history and a big sad spot for how certain unions — such as those representing meatpackers and agricultural workers — have been all but decimated.
So in no particular order, here are some of my favorite pro-labor, pro-union resources for really celebrating Labor Day.
We should all be marching in the streets.
We are the 100 percent.
We are poor. We are well-to-do. We are those somewhere in the middle. We are aware of the struggles and unfairness of this world and for this reason we are sensitive to one another's needs. So, we love our neighbors as ourselves.
At 92 years old, Seeger – who was joined by 60s folk singer Arlo Guthrie, and several other musicians – marched over 30 blocks in peaceful protest, ending with a variety of musical performances, one of which involved the folk hymn “We Shall Overcome,” a song Seeger helped popularize half a century earlier.