Trump-proof your playlist with 11 resistance-ready protest songs.

Historically, music has played a vital role in American war and resistance movements.

During the Revolutionary War, "Yankee Doodle Dandy" and other popular dance songs were sung by both the British soldiers and the American rebels to keep spirits afloat in trying times. This continued throughout history, with songs like the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and "God Bless America" motivating troops and civilians during the Civil War and World War I.

But war is never straightforward, and when American involvement in Vietnam escalated, patriotic songs like "The Battle of the Green Berets" were soon outnumbered by protest and anti-war music like Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind," Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Fortunate Son," and Martha Reeves and the Vandellas' "I Should Be Proud."


Folk singers Joan Baez and Bob Dylan perform during a civil rights rally in Washington, D.C., in 1963. Photo by Rowland Scherman/National Archive/Newsmakers.

Nearly in tandem, the civil rights movement had protest and resistance music of its own. Generations of artists and performers, inspired by marches, demonstrations, and tragedies during the fight for civil rights, created some of the country's most enduring musical contributions — songs like James Brown's "Say it Loud — I'm Black and I'm Proud" and Gil Scott-Heron's spoken-word piece "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised."

James Brown performs at the Olympia hall in Paris. Photo by AFP/Getty Images.

But protest and resistance music didn't end in the 1960s. Now more than ever, we need songs to keep us moving forward.

We need songs that make people want to stand up, speak out, and fight back.

We're facing an unprecedented American political landscape, and there are inexperienced, unpredictable people in charge. It's important to pay attention and speak up against bigotry, ignorance, and policies that affect the most vulnerable.

This is the soundtrack to the resistance. Turn it up. Share it. Let them hear us coming.

Demonstrators protest President Donald Trump's executive order which imposes a freeze on admitting refugees into the United States and a ban on travel from seven Muslim-majority countries at the international terminal at O'Hare Airport in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

1. Andra Day, "Rise Up"

Warm up with this beautiful, haunting ballad by songstress Andra Day. It may not get your heart racing, but it will get your mind prepared to face a new and uncertain challenge.

Lyric for your protest sign: "All we need, all we need is hope/And for that we have each other"

2. Pharrell Williams, "Runnin'"

If you haven't seen "Hidden Figures," stop what you're doing and go. I'll wait.

OH MY GOODNESS WASN'T IT SO GOOD?! This true story was brought to life on screen with powerhouse performances and a soundtrack of contemporary soul music. This particular song from Pharrell Williams would be at home on black radio in 1963 or 2017, which is a sobering reminder that even though we made it to space, there's still a long way to go.

Lyric for your protest sign: "I don't want no free ride/I'm just sick and tired of runnin'"

3. Isley Brothers, "Fight the Power, Pts. 1 & 2"

A pretty much perfect song about standing up against the powers that be. Ever wonder what you would've done during the civil rights movement? Turn on these songs, go outside, and find out.

Lyric for your protest sign: "When I rolled with the punches/I got knocked on the ground/With all this bullshit going down"

4. K'naan feat. Snow tha Product, Riz MC, and Residente, "Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)"

There are a lot of songs on the "Hamilton" original Broadway cast recording and the subsequent "Hamilton Mixtape" remix and compilation album, but few possess the energy and passion of "Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)."

As President Trump looks to restrict the number of refugees entering America, it's important to remind people of troubling and dangerous circumstances many immigrants and refugees flee in the first place and the difficult journeys they face once they're in America, whether or not they're documented.

Lyric for your protest sign: "It’s America's ghost writers, the credit's only borrowed."

5. Dixie Chicks, "Not Ready to Make Nice"

This song was about the Dixie Chicks' political saga with country radio and outraged fans. (Doesn't that feel downright quaint these days?) It holds up as a pop-country song about refusing to find common ground with ignorance and bigotry. I think of this song every time someone suggests I "give President Trump a chance." Candidate Trump said some awful things about people like the people I love and the people who make this country a great place to live. President Trump seems to be following through on his potentially devastating campaign promises. Forgive and forget? Not when lives and livelihoods are at stake.

Lyric for your protest sign: "I'm still mad as hell and I don't have time to go 'round and 'round and 'round."

6. Kendrick Lamar,  "Alright"

You could hear this song break out at Black Lives Matter demonstrations and marches across the country. This powerful anthem struck a chord at just the right time, a three-and-a-half minute tonic against fear, anguish, and systemic oppression. As Desire Thompson wrote in Vibe, "While listening to it on repeat, I was reminded of the lesson that pain isn’t permanent and getting through the tough times are what make us all stronger."

Lyric for your protest sign: "We gon' be alright"

7. Solange, "F.U.B.U."

We don't deserve two talented, powerful Knowles sisters. But it's younger sister Solange's new album that's been in heavy rotation during this winter of discontent. It's empowering and ethereal, with lyrics covering so many issues on the minds of black women. "F.U.B.U." is an acronym for "for us by us," and this song is just that. Sorry not sorry white folks, this one isn't for you.

Lyric for your protest sign: "All my niggas let the whole world know/Play this song and sing it on your terms/For us, this shit is for us/Don't try to come for us"

8. Marvin Gaye, "Mercy, Mercy, Me (the Ecology)"

Like "Inner City Blues" and "What's Going On?" "Mercy, Mercy Me" is a grim reminder of how little has changed in the last 45 years. That's not a cue to get despondent. That's a cue to get bold. It's a cue to keep pushing, keep tapping into fresh ideas and new approaches, especially when it comes to the environment. As the saying goes, "There is no Planet B." Let's do this.

Lyric for your protest sign: "What about this overcrowded land/How much more abuse from man can she stand?"

9. The "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" theme

It's a 30-second theme song for a show about a woman starting her life over after 15 years in an underground bunker. What's more resistance-ready than that?

Lyric for your protest sign: "'Cause females are strong as hell!"

10. The Pointer Sisters, "Yes We Can Can"

Long before Obama used it to galvanize millions of believers, Allen Tousissant's song of a similar name galvanized people on the dance floor and in the streets. Performed by the Pointer Sisters, the socially conscious funk song reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100, but the timeless classic remains relevant nearly 44 years later.

Lyric for your protest sign: "We got to make this land a better land than the world in which we live/And we got to help each man be a better man with the kindness that we give"

11. Elton John, "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting"

I was going to pick "Philadelphia Freedom" for its soaring horns and unintentional bicentennial spirit, but this song felt better for Nazi-punching. Now, I'm not condoning violence, but what you and your fists do to fight fascists is your business.

Lyric for your protest sign: "Saturday night's alright for fighting, get a little action in."

This playlist is just the beginning.

There are countless songs, new and old, that belong on this list. When it comes to music that inspires you to do good and get involved, there are no wrong answers. Pick it out, turn it up, and let's get moving.

Thousands of people gather at City Hall in San Francisco to protest President Trump and to show support for women's rights. Photo by Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images.

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Inclusivity

Anyone who's done yard work on a hot day can tell you that it can be just as good of a workout as playing a team sport.

You're down on your knees pulling weeds, up on a ladder lopping off errant tree branches, and pushing a heavy lawnmower that never seems to start on the first try.

Unfortunately, because lawn work is so physically intense and not everyone can afford a gardner, the elderly and disabled sometimes have to let their lawns and backyards grow wild.

An alternative learning center in Dubuque, Iowa is helping its kids stay physically fit while helping out their community with a new program that gives them high school PE credit for doing yard work for the elderly and disabled.

The Alternative Learning Center is for high school juniors and seniors who are at risk of dropping out of school.
As part of the program, the teens visit homes of the elderly and disabled and help out by raking leaves, pulling weeds, cutting grass, and cleaning gutters.



Teacher Tim Hitzler created the program because it helps the students get involved in the community while helping those who need it most.

"The students aren't typically too excited at the beginning but once they get involved and start doing the yard work they become more motivated," Hitzler told KWWL. "What they really like is A: helping people. They really like giving back to people and meeting the person."

Nick Colsn, a 17-year-old student at the learning center, told NPR that the program allows him to meet people he wouldn't have otherwise. "I'm more of like go-to-school-go-to-work-home-repeat kind of guy," he said. "So to me, I probably would not have met any of these people."

The end-of-year program has been so successful, Hitzler hopes to expand it next year. "You know, in education, a lot of times, there's so many different gimmicks and curriculum packages you can buy and things like that," he told NPR. "And something like this all you need is a few garden tools. You know, I mean, it just makes sense. It's so simple. And it works."

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If you're a white supremacist, I imagine drinking beer (or any other alcoholic beverage) is a nice way to relax and tune out the fact that you're a terrible person who's helping set human progress back at a rate the bubonic plague would be proud of. But for some self-professed white supremacists, it wasn't quite so easy on a June weekend in Germany.

According to Newsweek, the hundreds of neo-nazis who flocked to the "Shield and Sword Festival" in Ostritz found themselves uncomfortably dry when a court imposed a liquor ban at their gathering of hateful bigots who also like to listen to awful music together. The ban's aim was to prevent any violence that might erupt (you know it would...) and the police confiscated more than a thousand gallons of alcohol from those attending the weekend-long event. They even posted pictures on Twitter of the alcohol they'd removed from participants.



But that's only half the story.

Residents of the town of Ostritz, who've had to deal with the bigots before (they threw the same festival last year on Hitler's birthday), knew that the ban wouldn't stop the festival-goers from trying to obtain more alcohol while in town. So the townspeople got together a week before the festival and devised a plan which would truly make the white supremacists focus on how terrible neo-nazi music is: They bought up the entire town's beer supply.

"We wanted to dry the Nazis out," Georg Salditt, a local activist, told reporters. "We thought, if an alcohol ban is coming, we'll empty the shelves at the Penny [supermarket]."

"For us it's important to send the message from Ostritz that there are people here who won't tolerate this, who say 'we have different values here, we're setting an example..." an unidentified local woman told ZDF Television.

At the same time the festival was going on, residents also staged two counter-protests and put on a "Peace Festival" to drive home the point that bigotry wasn't welcome. If the festival is held in the same town again next year, ticket-buyers should be aware that Ostritz isn't playing around when it says that white supremacists aren't welcome.

There's some good news, too: Aside from the fact that residents aren't afraid to send the message that they're intolerant of intolerance, attendance to the far-right music festival has drastically decreased in the past year. In 2018, 1,200 people attended, according to the BBC. This year? Approximately 500-600. Here's hoping the festival won't have a return engagement next year.

Culture

I sent both of my children on a bus on Tuesday. I knew where they were going.

The morning started rainy, buggy, and too early. To be fair, it always feels too early.

My husband and I waved from across the street as the buses pulled away, our kids, along with a hundred or so others, behind tinted glass. We waved like we were excited. Our son was likely not looking. Our daughter may have been, but she also could have not been paying attention until the bus started into motion. We won't know for sure if she saw us waving until she returns.

Returns.

Every day when I leave the house, I expect to return.

That's the default.

It's so much the default that realizing it is actually stunning. We run our lives as though anything else other than what's in our head, our routine, our privilege, is what will take place. There's that little truism that a worrier shines like a pebble in the hand: you're more likely to die in a car crash than a plane crash. Yet we are much more likely to be worried about flying because it is out of our routine. Being out of your routine awakens you to the precariousness we completely shut out in our day-to-day lives.

I put my children on a bus. My oldest will be gone four weeks, my youngest, two.

What should be normal: sending your kids to sleep away camp. What feels wholly unnatural: sending your Jewish kids to a Jewish sleep away camp in the world we're living in now. Even writing those words: JEWISH SLEEP AWAY CAMP make my fingers seize at the knuckles. I don't want you to know there are such things as Jewish sleep away camps. Even having others know that they exist feels like a danger.

I'm used to my feelings and my instincts seeming like hyperbole to others. I'm emotional. I'm tuned in. I'm hyperreactive. I have a hair trigger. I have anxiety and depression.

I also come from a genetic and cultural history of people who ended up in this country because we were hunted and pursued and needed to escape. Over and over and over again. The cells that have come to build the tissues and structures of my body and my brain have been organized by UNSAFETY.

In "normal" suburban upper-class life, this can be a huge detriment. A handicap. It can manifest in the most unhelpful and frankly, startlingly blind ways. I've spent so much of my life reacting and feeling and then trying to understand what makes me tick. I've spent so much time learning to train and control and ignore and channel.

I wasn't made for easy times. I was made for survival. I was made, like an animal, to intuit danger and get the hell out, fast. I was made in the image of fight or flight. I do both better than most people. It's not something I brag about, because it doesn't feel like a good thing most of the time.

I put my kids on a bus to Jewish sleep away camp. Because when my husband and I got married (I'm Jewish, he's not), our pact was this: if our children live in a world where historically they could be targeted and threatened because of their Jewishness (regardless of their actual observance of religion or customs), they deserved to know that being a Jew is not negative. We should give them every opportunity to be proud and happy about their Jewishness. Their belonging should help them to feel good about themselves and the world. It should help them seek connection and understanding of the human condition. They should know songs. They should sing full-throated. They should feel comfort in our traditions when they are useful to them, but never feel threatened or unnecessarily constrained by them.

Research funded by Jewish institutions and communities suggests that the number one way to help ground kids in their Jewish identity is to send them to Jewish sleep away camp. It's the glue.

And yet.

I put my kids on a bus to Jewish sleep away camp at a time when our government is putting migrant children into concentration camps.

I bought all the supplies on the list. I washed and labeled and sorted and packed. I zipped up those bags to accompany my children. And then I dropped my children off and couldn't see if they were waving back as the buses drove away.

Of course, the camp I'm sending them to has a stellar reputation. Every day they post updates on a special web site, along with hundreds of pictures of the kids in action. I send emails to the kids which are printed out and given to them. I send packages with stickers and trading cards and all sorts of goofiness so that they know they are loved.

Migrants from central America have made their way to our border with just what they could carry. (My children's bags were so heavy that neither of them could carry them. Likely at least 1/4 of what I sent will come back unused or untouched.) Migrants are following the rules of asylum seeking. They are fleeing violence and intimidation and abuse far greater than I will allow myself to imagine. They are separated from their children by a government that has no business doing so.

I, an upper-class white woman, expect my voice to be heard. I expect to be able to vote and call and hold my elected officials accountable. I know what to say to get my point across. I've given money to candidates and I know how to threaten that support in the future. I also have the privilege of time and energy with which to do it. My underlying expectation is that there are very few problems that I don't have some redress for.

Asylum-seekers, in good faith, and following the rules, have nothing left to lose. They are coming here seeking something less life-threatening than what they're fleeing. They're seeking some good will. Or, at the very least, safety. Or relative safety.

I put my children on a bus to Jewish sleep away camp knowing that in my daughter's cabin of 8 girls, there are 4 young adult counselors who are there to make sure that she's safe, happy, and her needs are being met.

I also know that last year, an asshole white supremacist antisemite decided to go to a synagogue on shabbat, the Jewish sabbath, and turn it into a bloodbath. Well before that ever happened, well before the era of mass shootings and Columbine, Jewish institutions like synagogues and preschools and JCCs have needed extra surveillance. We've had police guard our religious services and social gatherings. Even (and perhaps especially) seeking out Jewish belonging, Jewish joy, has always been a reckoning with danger and threat.

After I sent my children on that bus—the one I knew where it was going—the one where I'd shoveled their overpacked duffle bags into the bowels of the bus—I came home to a house strewn with the remnants from packing. Laundry bins with unneeded t-shirts and shorts and single socks. The cat—he normally comes to greet me when he hears the garage door open—was nowhere to be seen. I called for him. He still did not come. I came upstairs and looked in my son's room. No cat. I looked in my daughter's room—with its orange and pink somewhat darkened by the rainy skies—and there he was, tucked into a furry circle in an eddy of her duvet. I laid down next to him and lost control. The control I never really had.

Twitter this week has erupted in a jagged back-and-forth between politicians and pundits and opinion-havers about whether or not it is appropriate to call the migrant detention centers run by ICE and our government "concentration camps." I, and most other Jews I follow and know, agree they should be called exactly what they are.

Non-Jews (and, to be fair, some Jews as well), like to tiptoe around the Holocaust and any words or imagery which may in any way encroach upon the historical accuracy or singular legacy of that horrible period. To a degree, I might agree when the comparisons are used flippantly or improperly.

But the legacy of the Holocaust, we are all reminded, is NEVER AGAIN. And NEVER AGAIN means that we don't wait until something worse happens. What's happening RIGHT NOW in the United States shares that DNA.

In the same way I understood or had an inkling in my bones that the election might go a way I didn't want it to, I know this same thing: we are not ok. This is not just the start. This is halfway down the road to the place where we lose not just perceived control, but real control. For all the current administration's lies and purposeful incapabilities, know this: the cruelty that comes out of the mouth of our president and those who continue to support him in the government and in the populace is not a lie. It is predictive. They're telling us in advance what they intend to do. And then they are doing it.

In a world where I still have the ability to put my daughter and son on a bus with all their toiletries and know that they will likely arrive at their destination, I also know that our government argued for the legal right to deny soap and toothbrushes to migrant children. When anyone's children are denied such basics—human basics—no one is safe.

I know it will sound like hyperbole. I know that those who so easily dismissed my concerns early on—before this administration even took office—will still attempt to dismiss my warnings now. But do so at your own peril.

I was not built for normal times. I was built for times like these. And I haven't been wrong yet.

This post originally appeared on Outside Voice. You can read it here.

Inclusivity