Dreaming My Garden – The World I Want to Live In
I was driving home from a meeting last night at Wildflower Church about a scholarship for High School Seniors who are Dreamers – youth whose families brought them to the USA as children. It was a challenging meeting as we were making the hard choice about who the scholarship recipients would be for the 4th annual Dream Sabbath. It was also a rewarding meeting as we will be able to offer – and celebrate – two tenacious and brave students with funding assistance for college. I am proud to be part of a faith community that supports the – often underserved – community in this way.
As the cherry on top of a great night, I got the pleasure of having 30 minutes of singing and dancing in the car – all by myself. Much as I love my kids, and I love singing with my kids in the car, it is a rare pleasure to be all my myself in the dark of night – just me, the car, and the music rolling along at high volume.
These experiences at Wildflower Church, and alone in my car, showed me that this is the kind of world I want to live in. A world where we can support each other to achieve our dreams of something better. A world where we can bring change through the celebrations that make our heart sing – just like the Celebration Tour that I am about to embark on with my family this summer.
Singing & Driving
As is often the case, last night in the car, I had one of my favorite CD mixes on, turned up very loudly, and was singing at the top of my lungs. Some people sing in the shower, but in my family we’re car singers and steering wheel dancers. I learned the fine art of creating music mixes for traveling from my Dad. In my childhood, we still played 90 minute tapes in the car, and those cassettes are the treasured soundtrack of my childhood. It is clear to me that music has shaped every aspect of who I am, and how I grow my personal and professional garden.
Songs In My Garden
As a child, these songs – from Broadway to Folk to Jazz Standards to Motown – shaped my ideas about life – including what it means to explore and celebrate sexuality and gender. I remember wondering about what really makes a Natural Woman. (Sung here by a whole bevy of divas including Aretha Franklin and songwriter Carole King.)
I also remember my 3 year old sister questioning if Tracy Chapman was actually a man because of her deep voice, and her name. When I told her that, as far as I knew, Tracy was a woman, she firmly declared that her name should actually be Tracy Chap(wo)man. I remember listening to Tracy’s debut album over and over on a family trip to the Grand Canyon. Her song Baby Can I Hold You made me wonder about domestic violence, and why people hurt one another in “love” relationships. Her song, Talking’ Bout a Revolution, inspired so many of us coming of age in the 1980s.
Songs for Celebration
These days, I make CD mixes for the car, and playlists on my various devices for everywhere else. With our upcoming Celebration Tour, my girls, partner, and I have started dreaming about our music mix for the big adventure from Austin to Montreal, and back again.
I started putting the Celebration Tour #ItGetsAwesome playlist together this week on YouTube. As you can see, they won’t all fit on one CD, so this year we will have to make a few volumes of Songs for Celebration for the road!
some – shall we say – more updated suggestions for songs and artists to add to the playlist. I am now a big fan of Yuna. If you haven’t heard her sing, I highly suggest you listen to Live Your Life, which is on the playlist. What songs should we add to the Songs of Celebration?
Ping me here if you’d like to offer a suggestion.
Seeds of Change
While conversations with my guests on the #Censored2Celebrated webcast constantly spark celebrations, I am in awe of how powerful music can be as a force for celebration and change. Music can inspire us to stay awake during a long car trip, improve our mood – this video of my daughter’s school performing Happy works every time for me, celebrate the birth of a child, or mobilize us to march for social justice.
For instance, the song I Know Where I’ve Been, a civil rights anthem sung by Queen Latifah in the movie Hairspray, has been recently performed on Glee featuring the gender-expansive character, Unique, supported by a choir comprised of 200+ transgender singers.
The UK’s Independent notes that “Many of the choristers admitted that they had never met so many other trans people in one place before.” I can only imagine how life-changing that was for everyone in the room – transgender and cisgender people alike!
Alex Newell (aka Unique on Glee) also performs the song live with the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus at Jordan Hall. This performance has a special place in my heart as I had the pleasure to perform at Jordan Hall as a high school student in the New England Conservatory’s Youth Chorale.
The connection between the music of civil rights from the 1960s and music celebrating Diverse Sexuality & Gender (DSG) is not a surprise. Berniece Johnson Reagon, Civil Rights activist, historian, and the founder of inspiring musical group Sweet Honey in the Rock, says: “To this day, I don’t understand how people think they can bring anybody together without a song.” Does this ring true for you?
What songs are in your Garden for Celebration and Change?
What music has made a difference in your life? What songs would you put on a playlist Celebrating Diverse Sexuality & Gender?
JOIN US IN CELEBRATION!
Support the Celebration Tour of Diverse Sexuality & Gender
- Purchase a book (or more!) before June 8, 2015 to donate to a public library.
Here’s our Censored2Celebrated Wish List.
- A Celebration Tour needs supporters and funding. We are in the start-up phase, and gratefully accept monetary donations to support our celebration of diverse sexuality and gender. (Any level of support helps – $3, $7 or $18 can buy a great book or a meal to keep us fueled on the Celebration Tour!)
Celebration Tour Support Levels
- DSG (count the letters) $3.00 USD
- LGBTQIA (count the letters) $7.00 USD
- Number of…Countries worldwide with legalized same-sex marriage $18.00 USD
- Number of…US states with legalized same-sex marriage $37.00 USD
- Number of Driving miles from…Burlington, VT to Montreal, QC $94.00 USD
- Number of Driving miles from…Vass, NC to Philadelphia, PA $464.00 USD
- Number of Driving miles from…Austin, TX to Boston, MA $1,965.00 USD
Until we meet again…
Celebrate all the people in your life. Every bit of celebration helps #ItGetAwesome.
What is the Celebration Tour?
Sexuality Educator & Webcaster, Melita Noël Cantú, and her family will embark on a Celebration Tour for two months this summer. They will seek out – and share – great books Celebrating Diverse Sexuality & Gender (DSG). During their visits with librarians in public libraries in the US and in eastern Canada, they will gift a book celebrating themes of DSG. The more books that are donated to the Celebration Tour, the more books they will gift to libraries!
Ping Melita with any recommendations for us to dance and sing along to on our car trip from Austin to Montreal. We will be finalizing the playlist by June 8th.