A woman in braided pigtails and hiking boots steps onto an outdoor stage, face resolute, guitar in hand. She begins to sing. The crowd snaps to attention. Their protest signs and impassioned conversations are momentarily put on hold. Her songs speak directly to the spirit of a resistance movement that is working night and day to turn back the looming reality of American authoritarianism. The crowd is captivated, uplifted, and validated in the courage of their convictions. She inspires all who listen to continue the fight.
Such is the power of singer songwriter and activist Tae Phoenix.
Prior to the election of 2016, Tae Phoenix worked full time as a singer/songwriter and actress. As a Jewish Latina with a disability, she believed herself to be at least somewhat aware of intersectionality and the unresolved wounds of classism, white supremacy, and patriarchy that lurk beneath the American origin story; but after Donald Trump’s upset win, Tae realized she’d only had one eye open.
“It’s not that I didn’t believe my friends when they told me what their experiences were like, or that I wasn’t aware of systemic racism,” Phoenix says, “I just didn’t realize just how many people were invested in keeping the system the way it was; including myself. I’m not proud that it took a white supremacist demagogue stealing the presidency for me to wake up to the ongoing American investment in systemic racism; but now that I’m aware, I’m going to use every talent and resource at my disposal to spread the word.”