EDGEWATER — More than 200 students at Sacred Heart Middle School in Edgewater worked together on a months-long project that became a collaborative original song about the need to "Stand Up" to hate and injustice.
"I’ve got something that’s been on my mind/I look around and I want to know why?/There’s people, they’re hurting, they’re needing a hand to get by," the song starts.
Music teacher Justin Taylor Nixon had asked his students to express themselves in any form — song, spoken word, poem, rap — and wanted them to answer, "What do you want to say?"
The question was left intentionally vague, with Nixon not believing that what he would find were projects that touched on the Paris attacks, San Bernardino shooting, the history of race in the U.S., all topics that spoke to how his students had been affected by tragedies around the world.
A student who submitted a spoken word poem works with teacher Justin Taylor Nixon on the song, in which she raps some of her poetry. [Provided]
The projects also had a common theme: a call for social justice and acceptance.
“I realized about 70 percent of the students wrote about issues surrounding diversity, injustice, terrorism, the need to stand up for our beliefs, the need to reach out to those hurting, the need to be strong in our beliefs and ideals,” Nixon said. “I was overwhelmed by this and realized this needed to be the theme of our collective project.”
Nixton helped to put the writing submissions into cohesive lyrics, set them to music and in April took about 40 members of his Glee Club to Uptown Recording to lay down a professional track.
The school performed the song during their winter concert in January and is now available for $0.99 on iTunes and Google Play, with 100 percent of proceeds from download sales going toward Howard Area Community Center in Rogers Park.
“It is a dream come true to finally share our song with our friends and family, and now the world,” said Gellila A., a seventh-grade student whose spoken word is included as the rap portion of the song. “I hope the messages in the song inspire our generation to stand up and make this a better world for all.”
Watch a video of the song below:
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