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The Hub Q & A: Lonnie Ray Atkinson
UN.GIFT works to increase knowledge and awareness of human trafficking bringing together all stakeholders to foster partnerships for joint action against trafficking. The UN.GIFT.HUB provides a platform for global dialogue and is now introducing The Hub Q & A Blog, a UN.GIFT knowledge product to voice the views and perspectives of those working on the frontlines, of this fight against human trafficking.
Lonnie Ray Atkinson, a songwriter based in the United States has composed a song to raise awareness about human trafficking and forced labour. He has shared his song, "Check Your Tags" with the UN.GIFT.HUB. The intention is to make it available as a tool for those working in the anti-trafficking field. This song is royalty free under a CreativeCommons (CC BY-NC 3.0) license.
This is the HUB Q&A with singer/songwriter Loonie Ray Atkinson
What motivated you to write this song?
A lot of my songs deal with economic issues. In fact, the first political song I recorded was about international trade rules relating to intellectual property and access to generic drugs in the developing world. A few years ago I read Naomi Klein's No Logo and got interested in the issue of export processing zones. After checking out some of the work being done by folks like Charles Kernaghan, I decided to write a song exploring sweatshop labor. That's basically how "Check Your Tags" started.
Why you want to share this song with the world?
The main reason for writing the song was to contribute organizing candy
for activists working on this issue. Benefitting from melody, repetition, and listener participation (singing along), songs offer a pretty attractive vehicle for spreading the word and getting people involved. The idea was to get folks asking questions about where their "low prices" come from and to address the very real human consequences of manufacturing zones that offer little to no regulations, protections or labor laws.
Can you tell us something about your background as an artist?
To be honest, I spent a long time feeling helpless about how to make the world a better place and making excuses as to why I wasn't doing more. Hoping I could find a way to make an effective contribution, I turned to songwriting as a form of activism. Free to the public, the work is intended not only as a vehicle for protest, but also as an organizing tool.
Do you have any upcoming projects?
In addition to my recent songs, I also wrote and put together a hiphop album introducing listeners to the basics of the alternative economic vision Participatory Economics. I am currently working on finishing tunes addressing issues like immigration, drone proliferation, cluster bombs, and open source ecology. Offering my work as a cultural component to the activist work already being done, my hope is that these songs can be used to help spread the word and encourage others to take action.
Click here to download the song
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