Episode 5: Charlottesville, Virginia – We The People
After a white supremacy rally turned violent in his former stomping grounds in Charlottesville, VA, on August 12, 2017, Stephan goes home to work with youth, community organizations, and Virginia’s biggest multi-faith choir, One Voice Chorus, to make the music video for his song “We The People,” a collaborative statement for unity and equality to help heal the community and country.
Students in the “Becoming Global Citizens” class at Charlottesville High School, headed by teacher Tina Vasquez, collaborate with Stephan to create real actions for the video, directed by Matt Kohn (Call It Democracy). Stephan travels to Richmond, the once Capitol of the Confederacy, where he grew up, and works with community organizers like Zenobia Bey and Yvonne Libron and local organizations Community 50/50, Lyrics and Beats, Street Loving RVA, 6 Points Innovation Center (6PIC),and the ARTS Community Center. He finds today’s leaders working deep within communities most deeply affected by intolerance and inequality, and meets a young generation with their eyes on a better America for tomorrow’s children. The music video, filmed over 5 days, documents real actions undertaken by the youth who star in the video, many of whom are refugees from Congo, Iraq, Afghanistan and more, and tells the story of a young woman’s, and her friends’, empowerment as citizens. The video culminates when the young woman joins Stephan and Richmond’s One Voice Chorus (headed by director Lynn Atkins) singing the modern day movement spiritual.
You can also check out the mini-documentary on the making of We The People, which tells the story of the voices who came together to create this powerful message to heal their community and their country. The single “We The People” is available everywhere (iTunes Spotify, Amazon, Pandora). The release features original cover art by New Yorker/Nation cover artist Eric Drooker. You can download the lyrics and sheet music here, a poster of the lyrics on Eric Drooker’s artwork here. On August 12, Stephan and hundreds of people and local choirs will sing We The People as part of the Cville Singout. Check the borderless schedule for updates about media and other events.