4th Annual Music for Social Change

You could hear the voices rise in emphasis as the chorus began, “… Self-advocacy’s made an impact, on the way […]

You could hear the voices rise in emphasis as the chorus began, “… Self-advocacy’s made an impact, on the way we vote today!” Groups of self-advocates had just written the lyrics to this song for the tune of “When the Saints Go Marching In,” and were teaching it to the group. Musicians accompanied the group as they sang. Others in the group were waiting their turn to sing the songs they had written.

Augsburg College of Social Work and Advocating Change Together hosted approximately forty-five self-advocates and allies at the college for the 4th Annual Music for Social Change seminar. The attendees sang songs from various social change movements and collaborated to create new songs that will energize the disability rights movement. “We love to get together and sing about self-advocacy and disability rights” says David Harris of St. Paul. Harris adds “We write some really good songs too!” Song-leader Vern Bloom says, “music defiantly has a unifying power in bringing people together to promote disability rights and move into collective action.” Bloom established the relationship between community groups and the Social Work Department at Augsburg in 2000 and has been involved in hosting “Music for Social Change” every year since. He sees the event as a way to “help people with disabilities make connections between their struggles and those of labor, gay liberation, and the women’s movement.” In addition to using songs to strengthen the movement Bloom adds, “It’s just simply fun to get together and write songs. I’m always amazed at the power of it”

“We are writing these songs as a way to capture the spirit of the self-advocacy movement and we want to share them with the world” says Harris. He invites people to call ACT to make arrangements to share the songs with community groups or at community events.

Advocating Change Together, Remembering with Dignity and People First Minnesota cosponsored the event. David Harris said, “It’s a good feeling when several groups get together to do something like this. There is power in working together and power in numbers,” To arrange a performance or a song-leading session, call ACT at 651-641-0297

We Vote Today

Music for Social Change 2004

(Tune: When the Saints Come Marching In)

We have the right, to vote

So let’s use it while we can

Self-advocacy’s made an impact

On the way we vote today

We’re people first, with equal rights

And with our vote let’s make it clear

Self-advocacy’s made an impact

On the way we vote today

Law School that fits your life