Voices of a People’s History


I had the privilege of seeing Voices being performed at Mission High the other night and highly recommend catching it live or on video. voicesI think there will be TV version soon. Benjamin Bratt, Diane Lane, Josh Brolin, Kerry Washington, and Boots Riley among of The Coup–among others– gave powerful readings from Las Casas to MLK, Jr., to Langston Hughes to Muhammad Ali to more recent voices of resistance. There were many treats like hearing parts of MLK’s prophetic “Beyond Vietnam” and Kerry Washington’s performance of Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I a Woman?”

We have made great progress on many of the issues due to resistance and activism such as civil rights, women’s rights, labor laws, etc. But sadly, in many cases we are still up against the same things: corporate greed, war profiteers, racism, etc.

Check a glimpse of it at this Sundance Festival clip:

Fittingly they ended with a reading of the inspirational “The Low Road” by Margie Piercy:

What can they do
to you? Whatever they want.
They can set you up, they can
bust you, they can break
your fingers, they can
burn your brain with electricity,
blur you with drugs till you
can t walk, can’t remember, they can
take your child, wall up
your lover. They can do anything
you can’t blame them
from doing. How can you stop
them? Alone, you can fight,
you can refuse, you can
take what revenge you can
but they roll over you.

But two people fighting
back to back can cut through
a mob, a snake-dancing file
can break a cordon, an army
can meet an army.

Two people can keep each other
sane, can give support, conviction,
love, massage, hope, sex.
Three people are a delegation,
a committee, a wedge. With four
you can play bridge and start
an organisation. With six
you can rent a whole house,
eat pie for dinner with no
seconds, and hold a fund raising party.
A dozen make a demonstration.
A hundred fill a hall.
A thousand have solidarity and your own newsletter;
ten thousand, power and your own paper;
a hundred thousand, your own media;
ten million, your own country.

It goes on one at a time,
it starts when you care
to act, it starts when you do
it again after they said no,
it starts when you say We
and know who you mean, and each
day you mean one more.

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