Show Up

by Michelle Acabado

Where do we go from here? It’s a question that embeds itself in music that I write, especially in Show Up. In visuals of the stories of neighborhoods that should never be defined by death and hatred, in social identity, in intersectionality, I reflect through song in the hope that we carry these stories with us. A pastor in Chicago told us that people are afraid to grieve. And I agree. To grieve is to acknowledge what has happened in the lives of others and in our own lives, and to grieve is to show up. Grief reminds us that humans create this hatred, and humans can grieve, and the same humans can show up in each others’ lives to reverse that.

Bottom line: Racism and hate hurt people, and I want to help heal the hurt. For now, I have a song.

 Right now the world’s in disarray
and we can’t seem to stop it.
But love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love.
It cannot be killed or swept aside,
so show up with your love,
show up with your heart;
the way to move forward is to start.

You’ve got your nose stuck in prose of legislation
when the scent of rows of roses lines up our nation;
a kid has two bullets in his chest
that his mother tries to cover up — she’s doing her best.

The only difference between you is shades of skin.
I think you can hear them suffering;
the cries drifting up to you at night
but what do I know.

Peace is not five letters on a t-shirt
or two fingers to the world,
it’s the sigh after the good fight
and when the people don’t feel hurt.

It’s the common good that unites us,
the compassion that binds us;
it’s the way we sing in church
whether or not we believe in something higher.

For now the world’s in disarray
and we can’t seem to stop it.
But love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love
It cannot be killed or swept aside,
so show up with your love,
show up with your heart;
the way to move forward is to start.

Reach out with your hands
but don’t confuse outreach with the downbeat
of the drums of progress and empathy;
create the rhythm of community.

Understand social identities, what makes up all of me.
Thank God for Dorothy;
she had no time to say woe is me.
Hold steady to the dream of equality.

Don’t matter who you talk to
— NAACP or the ARC* —
they all say
we all should have a say.

And if you walk through Pruitt-Igoe,
I can tell you, tell you what I know:
that there is no way in my soul
that I stand down and let history go.

For now the world’s in disarray
and we can’t seem to stop it.
But love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love.
It cannot be killed or swept aside,
so show up with your love,
show up with your heart;
the way to move forward is to start.

*Anti-Racist Collective

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