oscar peterson plays the hymn to freedom, live in denmark, 1964

This song came to mind when I saw the front page of the New York Times this morning. Oscar Peterson wrote the music, and Harriette Hamilton penned the lyrics. It was written as an anthem for civil rights, a fight which is clearly far from over in this nation of ours. If you watch carefully in this live performance, you’ll see him singing along. 

When every heart joins every heart and together yearns for liberty,

That’s when we’ll be free.

When every hand joins every hand and together moulds our destiny,

That’s when we’ll be free.

Any hour any day, the time soon will come when men will live in dignity,

That’s when we’ll be free.

When every man joins in our song and together singing harmony,

That’s when we’ll be free.

Hymn to Freedom

If your heart is heavy like mine has been, I urge you to find either a local food bank or related relief center, research the various fundraisers that are supporting our underserved indigenous communities, and make a donation if you can.

I would also ask that you please donate to any of the following fundraisers, which directly help those who are currently jailed, as well as the families of a few of the many who have been murdered by police:

Contribute to the Minnesota Freedom Fund.

Help Ahmaud Arbery’s mother with legal and living expenses.

Extend the same support to George Floyd’s family.

The great tragedy of this country is that it is littered with so many humanitarian crises, all of which stem from institutional inequality, and because our lawmakers and law enforcers have so drastically failed us, our only recourse is protest and grassroots fundraising. While it is woefully inadequate, it is still something better than inaction, or worse, neutrality.

So give. Even a very small amount can go a very long way. Let’s put our money where our mouths and hearts are and use every bit of autonomy we can to help solve the problems that our leaders refuse to acknowledge. 

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