Our Song with a Call to Action

I’ll never forget being awakened at 4:00 am that morning.

The morning after Ahmaud Marquez Arbery, an unarmed 25-year-old black man, was pursued and fatally shot while jogging.

I had gone to bed the night before with a heavy heart, with so many unanswered questions… all circling back to the biggest question of all – WHY?

As I lay there, trying to quiet the voice in my head, the volume kept getting louder and louder. I finally turned the bedside lamp on and got out a note pad. I couldn’t get the words written down quickly enough… Wait, it wasn’t just words – it was a song – and Dolly Parton was the one singing the song.

I jotted down a few lines on the note pad, then turned the light out, trying to go back to sleep. This happened three times and each time as I wrote, the sound of Dolly’s voice became sweeter and louder as my face grew wetter from the tears running down my face.

One of the verses I wrote began, “If you knew how much I loved you, if you knew how much I cared, you’d hear my voice, feel my pain and see the injustice everywhere…”

Later that day, I tracked down information on how to contact members of Dolly’s staff. For the next several days and weeks, I sent emails sharing my story with them, telling how it needed to be Dolly’s song, trying to convince them that I was not some crackpot…

…that I knew it was her song to sing because of the good she could do in the world by using her voice and platform to sing the words that were “downloaded” to me.

Well, I wish I could say I heard from Dolly, or her team, and that I at least got the song in her hands… That would have been an incredible story.  Hang on. It still is.

My purpose for sharing this is that I have finally realized the song may have been for me, and maybe even for you.

How many times do we wait for others to take the lead, to do something, for them to be the one?

What prevents us from being the one? What holds us back? Fear? Rejection? Excuses?

No, I can’t sing… no, I’m not a songwriter, but I am a human being who can and does recognize injustice. So, how would somebody like me spread the message – well, this blog is a start!

I don’t want Dolly’s song to be something that woke me up one night and then found its way to the back of a drawer or file.

I want the words of this song to be shared, to resonate, and to hopefully present a call to action.

My wish is that this song makes us stop in our tracks, think, and then ask ourselves: What am I doing to make this world a better place and overcome injustice.

I get the message, “If it’s meant to be, it’s up to me,” and that me is each of us doing what we can in our own way.

Since Ahmaud’s death, there have been so many others. What have I done since then? What have you done? More importantly, what can we do?

  • We can open our eyes and minds to the possibility that what we have accepted or believed all these years may be inaccurate.
  • We can expand our network of friends and colleagues to those who don’t necessarily look like us.
    We can share our experiences and talk openly about what has, and is still happening.
  • We can seek to understand.
  • We can search our hearts to ensure our motives, thoughts and words are pure.
  • We can model good behavior for our children and all that watch and listen.

We can Speak Up, Stand With, and Show Up as our imperfect selves.

I believe we are either reflections of a repeated cycle or guides toward a new start.

I hope you will join me in being a guide toward a new start, a better way of life.

The following was written in honor of Ahmaud, Brianna, the Asian hate that we are experiencing right now, and of all those who have been, and are still victims of injustice.

It is for also for Dolly, for me, and for you.


Ahmaud’s Song: “I Am Here to Bring More Love into the World”

If you knew how much I loved you, if you knew how much I cared;
you could feel my loving arms around you, even when I wasn’t there.

If you knew how much I loved you, if you knew how much I cared;
you’d make a vow within your soul to speak out if you dare.

Even though these days are filled with pain, filled with sorrow and despair;
you know you will get through it because you know how much I love you and you know how much I care.

You know you have the power to help others everywhere; it’s time to stop the hating, the hurting and the fear;
all you need to do is call on me and remember I am here.

Because you know how much I love you, let others know you care;
put aside your differences; be a part of spreading love and hope everywhere.

Because you know I love you, you know you are not alone;
Together you can make this world a place you’re proud to call your home.


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  1. Donna Thiessen

    I love this, Joan! Thank you for sharing your experience and these beautiful words. It starts with each of us taking a step each day! Hatred for “the other” runs high in our country right now. Thank you for the reminder that it is not hopeless, if we invest our time and effort to make it better.

  2. Cheryl

    I love the words and I love the genuine heart place they come from even more!

  3. urveillez votre téléphone de n’importe où et voyez ce qui se passe sur le téléphone cible. Vous serez en mesure de surveiller et de stocker des journaux d’appels, des messages, des activités sociales, des images, des vidéos, WhatsApp et plus. Surveillance en temps réel des téléphones, aucune connaissance technique n’est requise, aucune racine n’est requise.

  4. Your point of view caught my eye and was very interesting. Thanks. I have a question for you.

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