ARTFUL ACTIVISM: People’s Echo
The People’s Echo is a healing-centered song collective based on Coast Salish Lands (Seattle, WA).
We catch and share songs as medicine for these times and tend to community through the practice of joining our voices in song. We gather for monthly songcatching circles centering the voices of people of the global majority, host seasonal song circles for our wider community, and support activists to bring songs to the streets.
We believe that singing together is a human birthright that has less to do with “sounding good” and more to do with settling into our bodies, calming our nervous systems, and being together in community. Anyone who joins us for song circles, actions, events and beyond is a part of The People’s Echo and we invite the broader community to join us in song.
Join our Listserv to stay in the loop! Send an email with subject line: “listerv” to firstname.lastname@example.org to join.
Like us and follow us on Facebook.
Sign up to get invited to our monthly Songcatching Circles!
We have an All Inclusive Group, a BIPOC/BIPGM Affinity Group, a Native/Indigenous Affinity Group, and an Anti-Racist White Affinity Group.
Learn our songs online and check out the entire songbook (with accompanying lyrics) here.
MISSION: To heal ourselves and the world through the practice of community singing and to reclaim our voices as instruments for personal and collective liberation.
VISION: We envision a world of clean air, clean water, food sovereignty, and a liveable climate for all. We envision a world free of prisons and the police state where all people are valued and cared for. A world where everyone has affordable housing, healthcare, and education. A world where creativity, vulnerability, and expression are celebrated – a liberated world full of song and magic.
- We believe that all of our liberation is interconnected and holistic, bridging our bodies, minds, and hearts.
- Liberation is beyond just “overcoming oppression” – liberation looks like access to creativity, song, expression, rest, deep relationship with nature, nourishing traditional foods, resources for learning, embodiment, authenticity, supportive relationships, nurturing homes, and community spaces where we are held in our wholeness and feel safe to be our full selves.
- We acknowledge the brutal history of colonization on Turtle Island and participate in actions to repair the harms incurred by forced free labor, land theft, and cultural erasure and appropriation.
- We gather on the stolen lands of the Duwamish and other Coast Salish Peoples. We encourage folks in the Seattle area to also pay Real Rent to the Duwamish, who are still fighting for federal recognition. To learn the names of the Native Peoples whose land you are on, check out the WA tribal land map or this global tribal land mapping project.
- We support local Land Back actions and Food Sovereignty projects.
- We are committed to anti-racism with acknowledgement and awareness that our society is embedded in White Supremacy Culture.
- We center the voices of People of the Global Majority (PGM) and actively cultivate cross-racial relationships.
- We seek feedback from our community and curate resources and songs to help people of different cultural backgrounds reconnect with their roots.
- Our white-identifying organizers participate in anti-racist affinity spaces for white folks, and we encourage other white folks to do so too. Here are some resources: Coalition of Anti-Racist Whites, Education for Racial Equity, and White Awake.
- We work to create safe(r) spaces for people of all gender identities and expressions, particularly trans and non-binary people.
- We divest from all patriarchal structures, and encourage everyone (especially cis-men and others who benefit from patriarchy) to actively dismantle the patriarchy within themselves. Here are some resources: Our Strong Fathers, Mensgroup, Sacred Sons, and Kinhood.
- We work to create accessible spaces for all people, with particular awareness of the needs of our neurodivergent, disabled, and low-income community members.
- When we gather, we invite everyone to share their access needs so we can support their presence in the space.
- If there are ever any questions about the accessibility of one of our events or specific access requests, we encourage folks to reach out to us at email@example.com.
- We are in solidarity with all movements for justice and liberation – MMIW, BLM, Every Child Matters, Free Palestine, Uprisings in Iran, the Climate Justice Movement, Anti-Pipeline Actions, Housing & Healthcare for All, and many more.
We welcome every voice and we listen to each other.
We invite everyone to come as you are, practice self-care, and voice your accessibility needs.
We make space for community building and relationships, as well as song.
We only sing songs we have permission to share, and we honor and pass along their origin stories.
We honor the intersectionality of our identities and take responsibility for the energy we bring into our shared space.
We practice gratitude, authenticity, and curiosity to create a space of collective liberation.
What is song-catching? Song-catching (similar to song-writing) is the process of cultivating unique musical moments through song. Song-catching is rooted in the idea that creativity is flowing abundantly around us at all times and those who pay attention may catch a piece of inspiration. Like someone who drops a line and hook into the water to catch a fish, a song-catcher consciously opens themselves up to the flowing river of creativity to receive a song – to have a song “come through” them or to “catch” a song. This is not a special gift that some people have and some people do not. Anyone can drop their “line and hook” into the flowing river of creativity – and just as sometimes one catches a fish and sometimes one does not – so it is with song-catching.
What is song-tending? Song-tending is the practice of holding songs in integrity, with reverence for their medicine and their origins. When singing and guiding songs, we honor the song’s stories by sharing the people and places from which they originate.
What is song-guiding? Song-guiding (also referred to as song-leading) is the practice of sharing songs with others. Song-guides teach songs caught by themselves or others.
The People’s Echo (TPE) was birthed from a desire to weave the healing power of music into activist movements. TPE began in the summer of 2019, spearheaded by Alexandra “Ahlay” Blakely, part of the Artful Activism team at 350 Seattle working towards climate justice. Ahlay called in a group of activists who shared a love of singing, inviting in several people from a Women’s Circle that had been meeting for years, building intimacy and trust with one another. And thus, The People’s Echo was formed!
TPE collectively caught their first song for a local campaign led by 350 Seattle advocating for a Green New Deal. The group began creating new songs and teaching them to groups of people to be sung at direct actions. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, singing became one of the most “dangerous” activities physically, despite still being a powerful emotional and spiritual healing practice. TPE started hosting monthly online and outdoor community song circles to keep folks connected to their voices and each other.
Today, TPE focuses on cultivating spaces for folks to reclaim the power of their voices by hosting intimate songcatching circles that center the voices of people of the global majority (BIPGM), organizing seasonal community song circles, and teaching songcatching and songtending skills to activists and community members.
MEET THE ORGANIZERS:
Jess Renee (she/they) Two-Spirit, Nahua, Otami, Zapotec, Mixteca, Tarahumara, Raramuri, Amazon, Andes & First Nations peoples: Algonquin, Iroquois, Ojibway, Cree, Mi’kmaq, Montagnais, Ottawa, Mixed with Spanish. They are an Indigenous Designer focusing on environmental justice, food-sovereignty and Indigenous wellness with medicinal garden design, art therapy and seed ceremonies with ecology and ethnobotany at heart. Silliness is their main medicine. Connect with Jess’s work: Jessrenecreative.com & H
Bex Lipps (they/she) Queer, nonbinary, jewitch, white (ancestry from Russia/Ukraine, England, & Germany). Bex is a facilitator, songtender, burlesque performer & producer, emcee, and therapist. Bex weaves together their passion for pleasure and collective liberation into communal containers with a reverence for ritual and a healthy dose of humor & playfulness.
Lux Gypsum (they/them) Queer, non-binary, white (ancestry from Germany, England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland). Lux is a Conflict Mediator, Consent Educator, and Communication/Parts Work Coach through their business Healing Rising, and also works part time for Blue Heart Action. In all of their work and play, they are committed to collective liberation and overcoming domination and separation both inside us and between us. They also have a fierce love for cats, community resource sharing, and tiny objects.
Have any questions or ideas for collaborations?
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org