MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — We know that music has the power to heal, but can it also affect social change and political policy?
Students who survived the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, earlier this year are releasing an album before the midterm elections in November.
There are 11 tracks on the album called Raise Your Voice: The Sound of Student Protest. Some of the tracks on the album are songs and others are spoken word performances.
One of the songs was produced and performed by high school students in St. Paul. We talked with them about the message behind the music.
Kendarius Williams just graduated from the High School for Recording Arts in St. Paul.
“They want us to grow and be something better, they say we are the future, but how can we be the future if they keep on destroying the future?” Williams said.
Williams helped produce and perform the song “We Can.”
“Students are tired of being scared to go to school and fearing for their life that someone is going to get shot inside of there,” Williams said. “I’m a victim of gun violence. I’ve lost family members. That’s a reason why I’m against it because I’m tired of losing my family members and stuff.”
Scott Herold teaches music.
“The activism in our school goes beyond the recording studio. We really try to build students who become lifelong learners, who are also civically engaged in their community,” Herold said. “These are our kids, they are going to school, they don’t want to feel unsafe in their neighborhoods, they don’t want to feel like they are unsafe in school. They are young people in America, trying to be heard.”
After the shooting in Parkland, students there urged voters and politicians to do something about gun violence. They even performed at the Tony Awards.
Senior Royals Smith knows the pain of losing someone you love. His favorite teacher was shot and killed.
“He was gunned down, is what I heard. Man, I’m sorry. I miss him so much,” he said.
Students at HSRA went to the March For Our Lives in Washington, DC.
“In Washington, DC, they said once the young leaders start taking action, that’s how you know the world is changing, and that is what is happening now, today,” Williams said.
The students performed “We Can” while they were in DC, and then got the call last month to be part of the Raise Your Voice album, which comes out on Oct. 5.
Proceeds from the album sales will be donated to the nonprofit group, Everytown for Gun Safety. Click here to donate.