Switch Flipping

By: Greg Jobin-Leeds

“For me solidarity is not a political abstraction, but rather it is how, who do we live with? Who do we eat with, right? Who do we break bread with? Whose children do we help bury? Whose hands do we hold when they’re putting their loved ones in the ground.” Rev. Sekou

Sitting next to Sekou as we recorded our first episode of When We Fight, We Win!; The Podcast was one of my “flip switching” moments, My understanding of solidarity expanded after I heard Sekou’s definition. Prior to that moment, I had understood the mutuality of solidarity intellectually, in my mind; but in this first episode, Sekou’s brilliance pierced my heart.

Sekou’s music and words have deeply moved me since the first time I heard him play in St. Louis in 2016.

Sekou was playing a concert in St. Louis with The Holy Ghosts, his band back then. For the last song, he invited all of the audience onto the floor to hold hands as he sang, “The Revolution Has Come… when we stand up, we have already won, the revolution has come…” The words resonated deeply and another switch flipped in my heart… the words fit so well with the title of our book, When We Fight, We Win!

My friend, Professor David Ragland, co-founder of the Ferguson Truth Telling Project, had arranged for me to have coffee with Sekou the next morning. David had brought me into the Ferguson community with open arms and introduced me to so many incredible activists.

My When We Fight, We Win! coauthors, Dey and Jorge, and I made our first trip together to St. Louis (stl) and Ferguson, MO. as part of our book tour and to stand in solidarity for the #stlshutdown16 action for Mike Brown, Jr. who had been murdered by police in that city that has been terrorized by police for decades. His murder sparked the Ferguson uprising that gave birth to the Movement for Black lives.

A few years later, Rev. Sekou called me to discuss his up and coming live album which shares the name of our book, When We Fight, We Win!. As I listened to the music, another switch flipped in my brain. What if we used his album as the backbone of the podcast series? We had just begun.

Rev. Sekou is a man of many talents. His music uplifts the revolution, his sermons inspire, and his dedication to the community is loving.

I’ve been able to experience the magic of what Sekou’s music brings to communities—and now to our podcast.

Back to solidarity. Are you standing at the graveside of those who you are allied with? Are you holding their mom’s hand when she’s sick? Are you buying them groceries when they are hungry?

Sekou’s moving music and words turns activism from the head to the heart and the body.