This is why I love Santa Cruz (and music)

So we are in the middle of chaos. A place where everything is erupting, spilling over, flowing out to sea. And we are teachers who need to somehow make sense of it all, somehow ground ourselves and our students in this current reality, which feels anything but real, and that ground seems to have transformed into a live wire—sparking.

Is this really happening? streamed through my mind in the first months, and now this is replaced with How are we going to get through this? and When will it end? These are big questions for everyone right now, but for educators these questions quickly become existential. We are faced with our limitations as human beings on a daily basis, and confronted by a seemingly impossible task of nurturing and growing young minds in this new place, not just a COVID-19 place, or a Civil Rights crisis place, but a place so many of us humanists have adamantly avoided—the digital world.

And then there is Peace Train. A song to get us through.

Or what about this one created by my dear, young (genius) friend Anthony Arya for his latest album (yes, at 17 this is his second album) Is it All Too Much? Listen to this and tell me you don’t feel an upwelling of catharsis (it’s okay, just let it all out).

Anthony Arya graduated from high school during COVID-19 and will be attending Stanford as the first-ever class of freshman facing a global pandemic.  Read more here

So here in this place, Santa Cruz, California, circa 2020—a year that got sideswiped by chaos—musicians are sharing, creating our salvation. Find them. They aren’t just here. Seek them out on You Tube, Alexa, Apple ITunes, Spotify, where ever, but find the music that moves you in this time of chaos. Because these artists are doing what words alone can never do; they are providing us with a way of feeling, of being in this moment of chaos and processing it on a level that is beyond words. Like gems that get flushed out from the earth in the upwelling—bring these songs forth in your classrooms. Marvel at them. Hold them up to the light of day and ask: What does this make me think about? What do I feel? How does this help me understand where we are today and where we have been collectively as a human species before today?

Or just get them all up to dance: Movement in digital educational spaces.

Use music and reflection in your classrooms, to ease the suffering, to bring us back together, to connect us to our uniquely human spirit through the joy of listening, creating, sharing. Or maybe just to sway back and forth in front of our cameras together, to remind us we are all right, we are all right now, we are all here right now…

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