When the president did not renew DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), it inspired me to write a song. Last Monday I shared it with my talented friend, Charlie Ortolani at a local open mike. Happily, the camera was rolling so I can share it with you. Let’s meet in the kitchen!
This Month’s Music: Reach Out to Me
Featured Non-Profit: Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA)
At the Fitzwilliam Inn, Photo: Al Brogdon
I’d love to see you at Not Just Another Coffeehouse in Sharon, MA on Nov 18 at 7 pm when I will be doing two full sets with my talented friend and collaborator, Seth Connelly.
If you have been wondering which would be the best show to get the most Tom Smith per square inch, this would be it! Please add us to your options for live music this month.
Complete details on my Upcoming Shows page.
This Month’s Music
Reach Out to Me
Reach Out to Me
© 2017 Tom Smith (ASCAP)
Click the image above to play the video.
According to the American Psychological Association, it is estimated that over 2.1 million undocumented immigrants have lived in the United States since childhood. “They have developed identities, values and aspirations that parallel their American born and citizen peers. However, their lives are also deeply impacted by the constraints of an everyday life narrowly circumscribed by their undocumented status.”
Their circumstances changed when in 2012 President Obama introduced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). This temporarily provided legal ways for them to learn and work without fear of deportation. More than 700,000 of them applied for and gained this temporary protection. They are often called “The Dreamers”.
Recently President Trump refused to renew DACA, which places the future of the dreamers in the hands of Congress – a future that is very much uncertain.
I have been touched by reading some of their personal stories. Many came from Mexico and Central America, but not exclusively. For example Rodrigo, a young man from Portugal shared with me a recent article he wrote for Al Jazera. In it he writes,
I have been able to openly and lawfully work, study, and contribute to my community ever since I was granted deferred status under DACA three years ago. Prior to this, my family and I had struggled for many years to pursue the American Dream, with no available path to citizenship. In spite of this, I am proud of what we’ve achieved: iconic American milestones such as purchasing a family car and moving into our own family home.
With the new decision, however, I now risk being forced back into the shadows of undocumented status, unless the US Congress revises the federal immigration law to permanently protect DACA recipients.
Now many dreamers like Rodrigo may have to abandon their dreams of a positive future and are in fear of being deported to the unknown and often dangerous country of their births.
As a songwriter, it is a bit risky to write from the point of view of another person, especially on a politically charged subject. I am reaching for empathy, but I know that it can be imperfect and elusive.
Most of all, thank you for listening!
(If so inclined, I invite you to leave a comment by scrolling to the end of this page.)
November 4, 2017 @ 8:00 pm: Arts at the Armory, Somerville, MA
Joining the Songwriter Showcase at the Somerville Armory, with Kirsten Manville and Joanne Lurgio.
November 5, 2017 @ 1:00 pm: Narrows Center for the Arts, Fall River, MA
Joining some great artists to pay tribute to Michael Troy, a good friend and one of the world’s great songwriters. Also appearing are Chuck Williams, Danielle Miraglia, Barbara Phaneuf, Mike Laureanno, Johnny Botelho and more.
November 7, 2017 @ 1:10 pm: The Park School, Brookline, MA
Doing a presentation about protest songs for the 6th – 8th graders. This is a private event. If you would like to preview this program prior to bringing it to your school or library, please contact me and I will allow you to attend.
November 9-12, 2017: Northeast Regional Folk Alliance, Stamford, CT
My first time at this conference of musicians, venue operators, and publicity folks. I hear that there is not much time for sleep at this four-day “hotel festival”.
November 18, 2017 @ 7:00 pm: Not Just Another Coffeehouse, Sharon, MA
I will be joined by my very talented collaborator Seth Connelly at the Unitarian Church of Sharon, MA. Great venue to listen to acoustic music!
December 16, 2017 @ 8:30 pm: Brooklyn Coffee Tea House, Providence, RI
Sharing the evening with my good friend Craig Sonnenfeld and TBD for the monthly Rhode Island Songwriters evening. Intimate venue.
Click to view details for these and all upcoming shows.
Featured Non-profit: Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition
From their web site, “The Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) is the largest organization in New England promoting the rights and integration of immigrants and refugees. We serve the Commonwealth’s one million foreign-born residents with policy analysis and advocacy, institutional organizing, training and leadership development, strategic communications, citizenship assistance, and AmeriCorps initiatives that provide capacity-building for community-based organizations. The Coalition involves an active membership of over 130 organizations, including community-based groups, social service organizations, ethnic associations, schools, refugee resettlement agencies, health centers, hospitals, religious institutions, unions and law firms, as well as thousands of individual members, contributors, and allies. We also serve immigrants in New Hampshire through our affiliate, the New Hampshire Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees (NHAIR).”
MIRA was the beneficiary of the proceeds of our big “Art of the Protest Song” show this past January. Please join me in supporting MIRA.
I Am MIRA!
Click the image above to play the video.