In response to Trump’s inauguration and the ongoing prevalence of rape culture. By: Laura Burhenn of the Mynabirds

Back in October 2016 I released a song (on Saddle Creek), “Good Medicine,” which is about the weight we feel every morning, about the tears we shed in private, and the strength with which we *choose* to keep going, one foot in front of the other. I say choose, because it is a choice. I was reminded of that choice after the woman who was raped by Brock Turner shared the open letter of her experience and sang her truth and her song, despite what sentence the judge handed down, letting her rapist go free. She embodied Sartre: “Freedom is what you do with what’s been done to you.” She was the strength she wanted to see.

I cannot imagine how painful and exhausting it was for her to write that letter. I, for one, am eternally grateful that she lifted her voice to remind me, to remind us all of the choice we can make to write — to sing — our own future. We can open ourselves up to feel all the feels (and feel them deeply) and let them paralyze us — for a minute. We should; to feel the real weight of human experience will make us fiercely compassionate. But from there, we can decide to do something more. It will not always be easy; it will exhaust you. But we can choose, as Mother Theresa urges, to do it anyway.

Each of the birds featured in “I Know Why I Sing” was made in the summer of 2016 as I was writing the song “Good Medicine.” While not every one is a songbird, each represents the unique voice in all of us, when we chose to lift it — no matter how uncertain or terrified we are to speak up — that can transform a heart, a community, the world. I’m donating 50% of the proceeds to RAINN, The Rape Abuse & Incest National Network, to help them do their good work as “grab-them-by-the-pussy” rape culture is normalized from the highest position of power in America.

Right now the news doesn’t seem to be getting any better. You are probably exhausted; I know I am. But I will choose to keep singing, because I know that music saves my life every day. And if I can use my voice to do some good for others, I will. I believe in the power of music and art to empower, to comfort, to heal. Whatever your song, keep singing. Do it for you and do it for me. You never know when you’ll strike a chord in someone else’s heart and save them, too.

“Good Medicine”

Sing, little nightingale
Sing your song
Though the night
Is black and long
We’d waste away
Without your spark
Oh it helps to chase away
The dark

If anyone tries to tell you
It’s just a song
You tell them
It’s real good medicine

If anyone tries to tell you
It’s just a song
You tell them
They should start listening

~Laura Burhenn (the Mynabirds)

All 30 pieces of art are available now on Etsy (HERE). The birds are also on display at Woodcat Coffeeshop in Echo Park, Los Angeles, through February 11th, with a closing party on February 11th. Proceeds from sales will benefit RAINN, the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization.

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Contact Jeff Gorra: jeffgorra@gmail