Justice Journey

Dr. Cornell West’s words inspired this song of racial justice.

Words and music by Sarah Pirtle, incorporating words of Dr. Cornell West,
© 2020, Discovery Center Music BMI.

Lyrics

1. I’m looking for the heart of the world.

Oh, come in.

Open up the skies, from every corner hear the cries.

Oh, come in.

 

Chorus:

Who’s community? Our community.

On this justice journey, we will stay.

Hope in the form of motion. (*)

Strength in long time action.

Love that the world can’t take away. (*)

Love that the world can’t take away.

 

2. How long will it take to change the grip of hate?

Oh, come in.

Open up this gate, love says it’s not too late.

Oh, come in.

 

Chorus

 

3. How will we tell how a closed heart can be held?

Oh, come in.

Open up what’s near. See what builds the fear.

Oh, come in.

 

Chorus

 

4. I know we are called to the heart of the world.

Oh, come in.

I'll meet you there at the heart of the world.

Oh, come in.

 

Chorus...We got the love.

 

The words of Dr. Cornell West form the core of the chorus,

and his words are shown with a (*) mark.

About this Song:

Dr. Cornell West says we are at a turning point, and in this time of reckoning, he calls for our country to be reimagined. Speaking after the funeral for George Floyd he said, “We got hope in the form of motion....We got a love that the world can’t take away.”

I intend the song to honor the travesty of the many, many African Americans killed by police and the generations of lynching. The reference to voices traveling far includes the Mothers of the Movement who started in 2013 after Trayvon Martin’s death and George Zimmerman’s acquittal. The Mothers of the Movement all have African American children who have been killed by police or by gun violence. In the moment when George Floyd called to his mother, he created a powerful transformative opening.

The song thinks about the private and public work that will need to be ahead. I draw upon my experiences as a member of Bridge4Unity for three years. Bridge4Unity is an interracial dialogue and cultural exchange project that brings together people from three distinct communities to focus upon racial justice -- Western MA, Beaufort County of South Carolina and Letcher County, Kentucky. Half the members of the dialogue are BIPOC (Black, indigenous, people of color) and half are European American. When we met in South Carolina to dialogue from our diverse cultural, social, historical, and political profiles, we were at the Penn Center where Dr. King and Vincent Harding worked on the “I Have a Dream” speech.

One of the calls at rallies during this world-wide uprising is “Whose community?” with the crowd answering, “Our community.”