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June/July 2003
A Conscious Uprising Drops Beats Not Bombs


Movement in Motion is an arts collective that developed out of dialogue between students and artists questioning the current state of our democracy. In the name of information, we offer energy and rhythm to the developing global peace movement. Prompted by the present threat to civil liberties, we reacted by formulating creative spaces in New York City to share alternative news and information, and by supporting other networks of informed activists. We demand our Constitutional right to rally and protest. Most importantly, we make like-minded people dance.

Movement in Motion organizes pro-peace, open mic, hip hop street protests, so people walking in Manhattan who would normally avoid political debate are tempted to bop their heads to a progressive beat. Shellie Citron explains, “I like to think the collective is invested in educated activism, both equally emphasized, because uneducated activism is dangerous, and educated inaction is useless. We fight our own filters and blinders and force ourselves to take in more than what we’re being fed, and creative outlets alleviate the heaviness that implicitly comes with vision. The hope, of course, is to inspire the same challenge in others.” By bringing these ideas to the streets we hope to mobilize a critical mass in order to foster heightened social awareness.

Whether it is to provide a social outlet or simply to see more “positivity” in the everyday experience, the collective meets weekly to discuss the progress of our various initiatives. At the last organized peace protest in Washington DC on April 12, Movement in Motion brought funky beats and chants to the protesters who surrounded the White House and invited any progressive voice to step up to our microphone. Taking over the sound truck, we combined live MCs, programmed beats, a trumpet, bass guitar, and Congo drums and sang, “You can’t stop this revolution.” The music stopped when a conflict between the police and protesters broke out, and the group shouted, “The whole world is watching.” That moment provided a direct opportunity to use our voices to shift the power dynamic between the uniforms and the drum. The success of the day hinged on the physical solidarity of the collective as we distributed our first volume of music—the first CD in a now-weekly series of collections of original music, open mics, and recordings from the protests.

Our long-term commitment to musical outreach takes us outside the state lines in a tour featuring members of various groups. An educational panel led by representatives from Fellowship of Reconciliation, A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) and S.N.A.F.U. (Support Network For the Armed Forces Union) will complement the music with dialogue. We are in the process of contacting interested communities and determining the local struggles to which we hope to lend our voices.

One of the driving forces of the tour is to raise awareness for the upcoming Presidential election. The film Unprecedented, produced by the Independent Media Center, is a document of the criminal activities of the Florida State Elections Commission and Database Technologies that resulted in the disastrous stolen election. Months before the November election, the office of Secretary of State Katherine Harris paid a sum of $4 million to Database to create a felon voter perjury list (based on old Florida law) with an intentionally high number of false positives. The result was that over 50,000 people were denied their Constitutional right to vote.

The collective has CDs available for sale at every event. The next open mic session will be held on Friday, June 27th and continue every other week through August at the Elbow Room (144 Bleecker St. at LaGuardia Pl., Manhattan). Peace and Light. See you on the Streets.

The Movement in Motion Collective prepared this piece especially for Satya readers. If you are interested in attending or organizing an event, contact Billy at (646) 319-6523 or email

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