Oh deep in my heart, I do believe | Love146
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Texas Strategic Partnerships Coordinator


Book Excerpts highlight a piece of writing that has provoked further thought for our team. In this blog Christopher, our Texas Strategic Partnerships Coordinator and lifelong musician, chose to reflect on the lyrics of the song “We Shall Overcome.”


 

We shall overcome
We shall overcome someday
Oh deep in my heart, I do believe
We shall overcome someday

We’ll walk hand in hand
We’ll walk hand in hand someday
Oh deep in my heart, I do believe
We shall overcome someday

We shall live in peace
We shall live in peace someday
Oh deep in my heart, I do believe
We shall overcome someday

We are not afraid
We are not afraid today
Oh deep in my heart, I do believe
We shall overcome someday

The whole wide world around
The whole wide world around someday
Oh deep in my heart, I do believe
We shall overcome someday

– “We Shall Overcome”

My favorite version of this iconic song is on “Steal Away,” a collection of spirituals and hymns performed as piano-and-bass duets by the late jazz greats Charlie Haden and Hank Jones. As a lifelong musician, its simple elegance and swinging interlude are positively breathtaking to me. It pulls at my heartstrings with every listen.
 

But I’m moved by more than just the musicality of the song—the song’s lyrics speak to me as someone fighting for justice.

 
And I’m not the only activist this song has inspired. It has been adapted by countless movements and organizations facing seemingly insurmountable odds of change in the face of injustice. Its origins date all the way back to a 1930s gospel song by Louis Shropshire; it was first sung in public protest a decade later during a strike by the female tobacco workers in South Carolina. And after the song was popularized by Pete Seeger, its tune and influential lyrics lived on through the voices in the civil rights movement.
 

To me, Love146 and the abolitionist community are fueled by the kind of audacity that’s so exquisitely expressed in the lyrics and in our mission statement— “The abolition of child trafficking and exploitation. Nothing less.”

 
In the future tense, the song envisions a world transformed by the collective, compassionate action of individuals that refuse to succumb to modern-day cynicism and, often times, overwhelming statistics. We believe that the end of child trafficking and exploitation will only come if we stand as part of a collective—with every survivor in our care, with every child that thanks our social workers for the education and empowerment within our prevention curriculum, and with every corporate or church partner that supports our work financially and courageously engages its workforce or congregation to increase awareness and expand the abolitionist community at large. We believe in the irrepressible nature of the human spirit’s ability to create a world where, as Love146’s President Rob Morris puts it, “children are free to be children.”

And in the present tense, Love146, just as the song claims, isn’t afraid today. In recognizing that children are inherently vulnerable, we as an organization feel the necessity to respond to this international crisis with an unparalleled courage in the form of our own vulnerability. We feel no shame or weakness in having an open dialogue about children in our care that brings tears to our eyes—for those tears are a reminder that we are still thin-skinned enough to feel heartbreak. In feeling that heartbreak, we can be energized, inspired, and motivated to make the kind of difference that will ultimately result in a world free of child trafficking and exploitation.
 

Oh deep in our heart, we do believe, that we shall overcome child trafficking and exploitation.

 

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