“Send us ears, enough to hear what all our students say /
And the courage to stay when their pain makes us want to turn away.”
I wrote this song after sitting with a group of high school students who were completely silent when asked about their lives, inspirations and interests. After nearly eight years hosting dialogues and poetry circles with middle and high school students, I’ve realized that they’re often silent because they’re not used to being listened to, not used to having their own stories valued and heard.
Adding more militarized police presence to school campuses, more weapons, more metal detectors, is exactly the opposite of what these students need. They need environments of trust, created by investing in relationships and dialogue rather than weapons - mediation, restorative justice programs, and adequate support for educators. First and foremost we need to listen to young people. Not just ask a few questions here and there, but prioritize their stories, insights, and struggles, as foundations of their education. This is why I wrote the song "Listen".
The song came together with a great group of musicians and producers, all inspired to help get this message out. Producers Johan “Advice” Lonnberg and Rick Ellis teamed up on the beat, and renowned street artist Ganzeer created a powerful cover. Several activist networks have been endorsing the song, and using it to support related campaigns, including current organizing to change LAUSD’s mandatory metal detector policy, in collaboration with Street Poets Inc, the Community Rights Campaign, Youth Justice Coalition, the ACLU and Public Council. National networks such as Code Pink have also endorsed the song.
We’re now ready to take this project and message to the next level with a music video and advocacy campaign. Film makers Ryan Furpo (director), Walter Martinez (producer / art director) and Michael Booth (director of photography) have teamed up to write and organize a powerful video, and have gotten a world-class team together to make it.
Now we need your help to make it happen, and help us get the word out!!
Your contributions will fund:
- Equipment for video shoot
- Location rentals
- Technical crew
- All logistical needs for the shoot (food for crew and cast, transportation etc)
- A professional publicity campaign to get the video out and highlight these issues in the press
We're excited to collaborate with you all to make this project a reality, and we're grateful for all your backing and support!
Matre & Embassy Live
Risks and challenges
Because of the people involved, and what we've already accomplished, we're confident about making a great video. The impact the video will have, and how much it will spread, will depend on the interest and excitement of other folks and communities. We don't know exactly how this will take shape, but we're confident that the video will deliver a powerful message, and we're inspired about the various networks and communities who want to collaborate to spread the word and use the video as a tool for mobilizing and change. We look forward to these collaborations, and to working together to make sure the urgent need for dignified treatment of students is addressed in the most effective and timely way possible.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)