Songs for SACHA

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Hamilton musicians Lee Reed and Mother Tareka are organizing a fundraiser for SACHA – Songs for SACHA.

When: Friday, January 30th – Doors at 9pm
Where: This Ain’t Hollywood – 345 James Street North
Cost: $5-$20 Sliding Scale – 100% of proceeds go to SACHA
Who: The Pucumber Sasssquash Family Band, Haolin Munk, Amber Edgar, Neisha New Era, Lee Reed, Mother Tareka & The Rebel Funktion

We got a chance to chat with Lee Reed, MC, poet, writer, educator, and agitator, about the show.

bb_lee8_zps66615a34What inspired you to organize a benefit show for SACHA?

It was this past fall.  Late October, if memory serves me right.  Mother Tareka and I had been meeting regularly, working on some songwriting.  One night, about a week after the Jian Ghomeshi story had broken – the media was abuzz with whatever details were available at the time; people were rushing to Ghomeshi’s defence and arguing in pubs, at dinner tables, and online, questioning the validity of the victim’s claims.

Tarek and I got to talking about rape culture.  About how quick people are to dismiss survivors.  About how little support there is for survivors.  About how our police and courts are constantly failing survivors.  And how, faced with such  conclusive statistics to the contrary, our society continues to behave like rape is somehow a rarity.  How rape culture is swept under the rug, ignored, and allowed to fester and grow.  What message is our government sending when they patently ignore calls for an inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women?  How many Rehtaeh Parsons we will never hear about?

Closer to home, how can we untangle our society from rape culture when the institutions and individuals that are entrusted to protect women, are found to be predators themselves, as in the case of Hamilton Police officer Derek Mellor?

What can we, as men, do to counter rape culture?  How are we culpable in perpetuating rape culture?  What changes do we, as men, need to make to help in the fight against rape culture?  We can learn to better stand up for survivors; to believe survivors, and to explain to other men the importance of believing survivors.  We can learn to better call people out for victim blaming and shaming.  We can learn to confront rape culture no matter where we encounter it.  And we can also step up to show our support for the organizations on the front line of this struggle.

Tarek and I both have friends and family that work and volunteer with SACHA.  These friends and fam that have really helped inform our thinking on rape culture, and that help steer us to be better men.  We know how blessed we are to have SACHA in our community.  And as musicians, we couldn’t think of a better way to show our support.   So after a few quick chats with This Aint’ Hollywod, the Pucummber Sasssquash fam, The Rebel Funktion, and Haolin Munk, we decided to throw a show, a big show!  And everyone we reached out to, in the music community, were all more than happy to step up.

What’s your most favourite thing about SACHA?

My favourite thing about SACHA is their focus on anti-oppression.  And how intersectionality is central to everything they do.  Local organizers/organizations have learned so much from SACHA’s example.  You can see, very clearly, how their analysis has affected and fostered social justice discourse here in the Hammer.  And, as anyone who has taken part in actions here in the city can attest – whether fighting racism, poverty, war, whatever the issue – SACHA staff and volunteers can always be found on the front line of the struggle.

What do you envision when you think of a world free of violence and oppression?  What would a day hanging around in that world be like?

I see the end of capitalism, and people living their lives free from the systemic oppression that capitalism forces on them:  the hierarchies, classes and divides that capitalism uses to control us.  I see an end to the violent institutions that protect the capitalist model:  police, courts, prisons, military, etc.   I see a world that values all humans as equal.  And a world that places the environment and the well being of life ahead of profit motives.  I see a world that organizes itself around need, that fosters mutual aid over competition.  Where every belly is full.  Where every thirst for knowledge is slaked.  Where differences are celebrated.  Where struggles are faced together.  Where every person feels safe, secure and at home in their own community and their own skin.

A day in that world?  It would be a day spent living to our potential, and living in happiness.  Creating and producing for the betterment of our community and planet, instead of some company’s bottom line.  Without any real frame of reference and with a white wall outside my window.  I guess I picture it like a snow day.  Forever. Everywhere.  Except.. without the snow.

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