How Can I Keep From Singing?

I’m happy to be a resource for the above article.

It is humbling to know that had my ancestors not persisted through war, famine, pestilence, persecution to the point of becoming human game, and the many dark trials of slavery, I would not be here. In truth, many of our ancestors, no matter our origin, delivered us to this moment after great tribulations. Present fears may yet lead to future triumphs. I try to remember that when looking at our momentarily grim world.

It is my honor to bear my ancestors forward to whatever the future holds. And that future will certainly be forged through the present and future generations. I treasure my time spent with our young people, for they are optimistic and full of promise. If I can armor them against the world’s cruelties, even a little bit, by giving them a word, a song, a tool to fight despair, why would I not?

It is difficult to think of those Roma turned out into the streets in deepest winter, shut up into tenements without water or sanitation, accosted on their way to market or school by hardened souls, negated again and again by faint-hearted politicians who have not the courage to acknowledge our common humanity, or to prevent anger and hostility from taking hold.

Yet I am reminded of the Quaker hymn we sang in the civil rights movement.

In prison dark and dungeon vile,
Our thoughts to them are winging.
When friends by shame are undefiled
How can I keep from singing?

My friends are fighting back, and I must take up the song.

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