A Thank You from the WE RISE Tour!

Dear Friends,

It has been a few weeks since the We Rise Tour Powered By #LoveArmy concluded, and we have had time to reflect on its meaning and impact.

As you know, over the summer we toured 14 cities to engage local communities in conversation, to compare notes about what’s working for us and what isn’t, to talk real solutions, and to encourage people to rise above hate and find solutions on common ground.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for attending a We Rise Tour event. If you’re a long-time friend, it was great to commune with you. And if you’re new to the fight, welcome, and thank you for your passion for civil rights and the power of unity.

At a time when our country is more divided than it has been in decades, our visits to communities from Cleveland to Dallas, from Los Angeles to New Orleans, validated the simple but solid foundation for our tour: that love will always trump hate in our still young, always evolving nation.

In Nashville, we were joined by Constance, an African American woman injured just days earlier when a Nazi plowed his car into her group of anti-hate counter protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia. On crutches and still bearing the physical and emotional bruises, Constance, who didn’t feel safe using her surname in public, was still brave enough to attend that We Rise Tour stop and explain her commitment to fighting racism and other forms of bigotry. Her grandparents were not permitted to vote as young adults in the Deep South. Her minister grandfather’s church was burned down three times by the KKK. And yet, Constance refused to hate. She refused to answer her violent assailant’s actions in kind.

Our friends from Ben & Jerry’s joined us in Miami, where Umi Selah, exhorted the crowd right out of their seats and shared the work of Dream Defenders,a civil rights organization formed in Florida in the wake of the 2012 slaying of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, collaborating with other organizations like Floridians for a Fair Democracy to secure a full restoration of civic rights to felons who had paid their debt to society.

We are grateful to the celebrities, public officials, organizations, spiritual and business leaders who joined us on the tour, individuals and groups who recognized the power of their station in life and shared a little of that power with us. Nick Cannon and Russell Simmons helped us kick things off in Los Angeles. In Atlanta, platinum selling rapper and producer Tip "T.I." Harris shared his insights on the need for prison and sentencing reform. In New York City, stars Fat Joe and DJ Khaled joined us to emphasize that there’s only one surefire weapon to conquer hate: Again, it’s love!

You’ve heard “It takes a village?” Check out our complete crew of influencers by city:

  • Los Angeles: Nnamdi Asomugha, Nick Cannon, Russell Simmons, Shaka Senghor, Boy Illinois, Public Enemy 2.0, Decora.

  • San Francisco: Mia Satya, Lateefah Simon, Sol Development, David Garibaldi, Joelle James

  • Denver: Mayor Michael Hancock, Julie Gonzalez, Ryan Harris, FLOBOTs, Reminders, Zahra Id, Laura Godhamer.

  • Atlanta Tip "T.I." Harris,  Mayor Kasim Reed.

  • Philadelphia: Adam Foss, Karen Rodriguez, Meek Mill, St Thomas Gospel Choir.

  • New York: Fat Joe, DJ Khaled, Carmen Perez, Bob Bland, Cory Booker, Al Sharpton.

  • Cleveland: Genevieve Mitchell, Seth Pinckney.

  • Chicago: Father Phleger, Tamar Manasseh, Chicago Children’s Choir.

  • DC: Ben Jealous, Taylor Dumpson, Rhapsody.

  • Nashville: Demi Lovato, Constance.

  • MIami: Adrian Grenier, Talib Kweli, Umi Selah.

  • New Orleans: Vice Mayor Wes Bellamy, The POWER Coalition, Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

  • Dallas: Brittany Byrd, Mark Cuban, Rev Dr. Michael Waters.

  • Las Vegas: Bozoma Saint John, Ivon Meneses 

And if you attended a tour stop where Victory Boyd sang, you’ll never forget that voice.

In conflicts, they say that battles end but wars go on. The We Rise Tour may be over, but the mission goes on. Please, stay in the fight with us. Check out our work at TheDreamCorps.org, LoveArmy.orgGreenforAll.orgYesWeCode.org, and Cut50.org.

So friends, don’t just fight on. Love on. And please share this video from our Harlem tour stop with your friends and allies. Tell them and show them that we rose.

Love,

Van