Second that emotion

Life often involves tensions between important values. This can mean difficult choices. However, we must find ways to harmonize diversity with unity, the exercise of freedom with the common good, short-term objectives with long-term goals…. The arts, sciences, religions, educational institutions, media, businesses, nongovernmental organizations, and governments are all called to offer creative leadership. — From The Way Forward

I hope you got to watch the tribute to Smokey Robinson Friday evening as he received the annual Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. The Gershwin Prize, named of course for George and Ira Gershwin, recognizes composers and performers for lifetime contributions to popular music.  The ceremony actually took place on November 16 at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. but was broadcast on PBS Friday night.

The event followed a familiar format: hosted by Samuel L. Jackson, a lineup of popular musicians that included my favorite, Esperanza Spalding, performing Robinson’s best-loved hits, interspersed with some of his history, of the Miracles and of Motown.

In this quite formal setting, with everyone dressed up in Washington suits and pretty dresses, leaning toward or past middle age, this was not an audience that comes to mind when I think of Motown. In fact, scattered throughout were faces we’re familiar with from the evening news. So it was frankly a little endearing to watch this DC audience singing along to songs we know by heart – "Second that Emotion," "My Girl" and, yes, "Ooo Baby Baby."  I tell you it didn’t hurt to see Tom Price singing with the others songs we’ve all been singing together for almost 50 years.

It was all great fun – a rare space of uninterrupted joy since January 20.  I confess that I let myself be taken up with simple pride in being an American. Clearly what lies before us is daunting, dead serious and won’t be resolved by singing together, but for 90 minutes it was easy to believe that we’ll get through this time.

Thanks for reading Monday Memos,


Upcoming opportunities for action:

Our youth-led Climate Recovery Resolution successfully passed out of committee last week, a victory for our Indy youth and for the climate. Look for a message from Executive Director Jim Poyser later this week.

Our friends from Hoosier Environmental Council are teaming up with our friends from Carmel Green Initiative to stage a Sustainable Living Seminar with a focus on climate change, Feb. 15, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Carmel Clay Public Library. Go here for more info.

On Monday, Feb. 20, President's Day, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., our friends from the Indiana Forest Alliance, will stage a rally at the Statehouse, South Atrium, in support of our Indiana forests. See this link for more.

Earth Charter