For 12 weeks, we explored the role of music as a voice for those who often have no voice. We began with an exploration of rap music with Chuck D, Tricia Rose and AS220. We examined labor and worker issues with Faith Petric, Utah Phillips, Anne Feeney and Rosalie Sorrels. We explored the historic and current issues of civil rights with Sonny Ochs, Magpie, and Kim and Reggie Harris. We probed contemporary and sometimes controversial issues with Ember Swift, Anne Feeney, David Rovics, Joyce Katzberg, Charlie King, and Karen Brandow. We spent an evening transfixed by the powerful and emotional messages of Native Americans Bill Miller and Buffy Sainte-Marie. We learned more about the power of song in Mexican immigrant labor from Agustin Lira and Alma. On one historic evening, we heard from three legendary women musicians/activists: Ronnie Gilbert, Rosalie Sorrels and Peggy Seeger. None who were there will forget our final evening as Nora Guthrie and the Vanaver Caravan paid tribute to one of the greatest voices in American music, Woody Guthrie.
I was asked once if we were careful to present both sides of the issue. I found this curious since neither my colleagues nor I could find the other side of social justice. Further, we wanted to stir things up a bit, get people talking—to engage in a dialogue. I think we did that and we thank the community for their time, their thoughts, and their support.
Contact: Stephen C. Wood, URI professor of communication studies