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Today’s Protest Music is Penned by Students

Students across the nation in the recent weeks have been speaking out and walking out as they advocate for national attention and legislation in response to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. These protests come on the heels of the Time’s Up and #MeToo movements, among others. In these protests, music has become an important instrument in getting the voices of students heard.

 Photo: by Julio Cortez from Associated Press, from startribune.com

Photo: by Julio Cortez from Associated Press, from startribune.com

Songs spanning topics from the African American civil rights movement to the national anthem to hits like “Imagine” by John Lennon have been revisited and sung by choirs and student groups of all kinds. Students from Alabama’s Dothan High School even learned and performed the alma mater of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, where the shooting occurred.

A rally is planned to take place in Washington, D.C. on March 24 with some big namesplanning to join the students there: Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato, and Jennifer Hudson.

New songs are also being penned, but most are not by artists heard on the radio. They’re being composed by high school students. Miley Cyrus, among other celebrities, has supported the song “Shine” on social media that was written by two students from Douglas High School. Proceeds from the song’s downloads will go towards a fund at the Broward Education Foundation, a local nonprofit helping victims and their families through mental health support and arts programs.

 Photo: iTunes and Spotify album art for “Shine” by Sawyer Garrity and Andrea Peña

Photo: iTunes and Spotify album art for “Shine” by Sawyer Garrity and Andrea Peña

Another song, “Separation,” was sung by a Georgia high school choir and was produced by Ashlyn Flamer and Christopher Doleman. Amalia Fleming, a 15-year-old from California, wrote and performed her original “Renegades” by herself at her school’s walkout. The same day in Connecticut, Tyler Jenkins performed his own “Save Me,” surrounded by students out in the snow at their school walkout.

It’s worth a mention that the arts programs at these public schools, including the drama program at Douglas High School, are a large part of what has given these students the coping mechanism of music -- both an outlet for healing and a powerful agent for change. Music has given the younger generation a voice.

“Where do you go if the world that you know is unsafe / You can take all you want, but you’ll never take my memories.”

                            - “Save Me” by Tyler Jenkins