A Letter From Blue Élan…

We have decided, as a label, that we will not sit silently back when so many troubling things are going on in our country—children being separated from their parents at the border, withdrawing from the United Nations Human Rights Council, more children being killed in our schools than soldiers in combat zones, the continued deaths, assaults, and stripping of protections of people based on their gender, race, nationality, and sexual orientation—frankly, the list is frighteningly too long and too troubling.

We see these issues not in terms of a particular political orientation—Republican, Democratic, Independent, or whatever. Rather, we see them as issues deeply important to all of us. To us, forcibly removing children from their parents because their parents may have committed a misdemeanor by entering the country illegally seems far beyond the bounds of human decency. “Dare enter our country illegally and we shall take your kids from you and put them into tender age centers” —is that something any of us can be proud of? The protests, the cries, the almost universal condemnation of this practice seem to be having an effect, stopping—for now—any new forced taking poor children away from their parents. So, people speaking has made a difference.

But, we know not what the future holds for these children and their families, or for the others who, in perhaps everyday situations, are not being treated humanely, or are getting something short of “equal protection under the laws.” As people who believe in “truth, justice and the American way,” we find it deeply disturbing that in “the land of the free and the home of the brave,” too many do not act bravely and do not act to protect freedom and basic human rights, instead standing silently by. We applaud those who have spoken out, when it would have been easier to sit on the sidelines. We applaud those who learned one of the lessons of history:

“First, they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Martin Niemöller

We will not be the ostrich with its head stuck in the sand, oblivious to the issues around us and the challenges we all face. We are privileged to be able to do what we do, with the music we get to share—but, as has often been said, with privilege comes responsibility. We join in these observations by others:

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” Desmond Tutu.

“There is not more neutrality in the world. You either have to be part of the solution or you’re going to be part of the problem.” Eldridge Cleaver.

“Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends than that good men should look on and do nothing.” John Stuart Mills.

“I always wondered why somebody doesn’t do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody.” Lily Tomlin.

To paraphrase the words of Voltaire, “Let us not be guilty of the good things we did not do.”

We are Blue Élan. We won’t be silent. We will strive to make a difference. We will stand for those who cannot. We will speak for those whose voices are not heard. We will.