By Gayil Nalls
Published June 5, 2017
Like the fireflies of Elkmont, individuals of Hudson Valley came together in a vibrant collective display on Saturday, June 3rd, 2017 in Beacon, NY, to condemn the environmentally dark and deeply disturbing Presidency of Donald Trump.
The crowd carried hand-made signs and buoyantly sang one of America’s most famous folk songs, “This Land Is Your Land,” written by Woody Guthrie in 1940. However, it was Pete Seeger, a friend of Guthrie’s who helped make it known across the country when he recorded it in 1963. Although Pete, a longtime resident of Beacon, passed away in January of 2014 at 94, it was clear on Saturday that the legendary folksinger and songwriter is still the region’s protest leader in spirit. Many of his songs are now characterized as anthems of the environment, social justice, and anti-war movement, from “Where Have All The Flowers Gone?” to “We Shall Overcome.” “This Land Is Your Land” had a mythic moment when Pete Seeger, with Bruce Springsteen, lead a chorus of hundreds of thousands in singing it at President Obama’s Inaugural concert at the Lincoln Memorial in 2016.
The Beacon balladeers are among the millions of people around the world denouncing Trump’s abdication of the planet’s protection with the addition his decision Thursday, June 1st, to pull the United States from the Paris Climate Accord. However, lining 9D in Beacon, they protested while singing the metaphoric refrain, “This land was made for you and me” as passing cars honked in support.
There are dozens of Anti-Trump protest songs, new and reworked, expressing sadness and anger, and by recording artists from a variety of genres, from Carol King’s “One Small Voice” to YG & Nipsey Hussle’s “FDT (Fuck Donald Trump).” The Women’s March in Washington, D.C. was the catalyst for the fermenting song “Quiet” by MILCK with GW Sirens and Capital Blend, when a flash-mob spontaneously became a choir for the song.
The number of activist musicians and the large crowds they draw are unprecedented; the present times require insightful, heartfelt lyrics and sounds to give voice to the masses that demand justice for people and the planet, and a populace around the globe who see the world as one.