Elandria

Social justice activist Elandria Williams honored.

Words and music by Sarah Pirtle © 2020, Discovery Center Music, BMI
incorporating words from Elandria.

Lyrics

ELANDRIA (1979 - 2020)

 

Chorus:
We are calling your name, Elandria, E-lan-dri-a.
You bring us this question – how can we work for justice?
I can feel that you are not go-o-one, as long as we carry on.
Oh, oh. Oh, oh, oh. As long as we carry on.

 

(1) Your mother was the first Black principal in Knoxville.
Working for change is in your family line.
You worked at Highlander and the People’s Hub.
You said love who you are — body, heart and mind.

 

Refrain:
That’s what E taught me.
Even when we don’t agree, we keep on loving.
Show up and love relentlessly, cuz you are worthy.
That’s what E taught me.

 

Chorus:
We are calling your name, Elandria, Elandria.
I can feel that you are not gone, as long as we carry on.

 

(2) At your church on a team you worked to stop hatred.
You felt a power that opened a door.
The day that a gunman fired those shots,
you said it rocked your church right to the core.
It sent you deep, it sent you to the root.
You said your ancestors brought you truth
And when we testify to the blood and tears,
Love and faith take us beyond our fears.

 

Refrain and then chorus.

 

(3) You said to remember we are children of freedom.
You said the youth should push boundaries.
and be change makers and visionaries.
Step up and claim that we are free.

 

Refrain and last chorus —
We are shouting your name, Elandria. Elandria.
You bring us this question – how can we work for justice?
I can feel that you are not go-o-one, as long as we carry on.
Oh, oh. Oh, oh, oh. As long as we carry on.

About This Song

Elandria Williams carried the light of justice all their life. Their unexpected death at age 41 from chronic health issues rocked the wide communities that loved E and who drew inspiration from E's leadership. "Show up and love relentlessly" was one of Elandria's declarations. Speakers at a celebration of E by the UU Church of the Larger Fellowship said "E's life was dedicated to getting us all free," and that E transformed the whole UU faith community.

"What is lifting up my spirit is holding that I am unbound.
What is lifting up my spirit is that I will break the chains.
What is lifting up my spirit is that I am deserving of 100% radical love,
care, and worthiness. And I will accept nothing less."
— Elandria Williams

Elandria worked for 11 years at Highlander Research and Education Center on the Education Team. Later E was Executive Director of the People's Hub which provides online education where E offered development support to cooperatives, mostly in the Southern United States. They were a co-editor of Beautiful Solutions. 

Elandria grew up in the Knoxville UU church, and E's leadership extended to national levels in the Unitarian Universalist denomination. In 2007 Elandria was the recipient of the The Diverse Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries "Outstanding Antiracist Activist & Leadership Award. (DRUUM). Also, Elandria served on the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee and had the recognition of being chosen Co-Moderator of the Unitarian Universalist Association, 2018-2020.

The Knoxville News Sentinel said in E's obituary: "Elandria was born July 13, 1979 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Elandria and twin brother, Frederick, are the children of Erven and Elnora Williams. Elandria was always a lover of books growing up and an avid reader.... Books were always collected, given as gifts, recommended and written with other friends and colleagues. Elandria gained the name E from childhood."