Our Fight Songs: A Playlist for Social Justice Champions

Music was a valuable tool in the Civil Rights Movement, motivating activists during long marches and providing emotional strength in the face of violence. Negro spirituals and soulful chants like “We Shall Overcome” and “Eyes on the Prize” were the soundtrack that encouraged activists to continue their fight for equality and justice.

Our Campaign for College Opportunity team also uses music for inspiration as we push for cultural and institutional changes to make college more accessible to all students. Unlike the civil rights activists we admire, we don’t have original compositions or impressive vocal skills, but we use the power of song to keep us pressing on in our fight for college access for all students.

In this current political climate, where students’ opportunity to attend and excel in college may be threatened by tax legislation, a lack of federal movement to protect and support undocumented students, and ill-informed narratives that attempt to devalue the opportunities a higher education provides, we often turn to music to keep us going through challenging obstacles.

Our staff never underestimates the power of a good song. So, we put together a playlist of our favorite contemporary songs that inspire us to keep doing the work that we do. It includes everything from dance music to R&B, and we’ve managed to include a few favorites from the ever-popular “Hamilton” soundtrack. These songs act as pick-me-ups when we need them and celebration soundtracks for our victories. We hope this playlist does the same for you.

The Songs
“My Shot” by Lin-Manuel Miranda – Michele Siqueiros
“Let’s Go” by Calvin Harris – Jackie Rodriguez
“Rise Up” by Andra Day – Shae Collins
“Pumpin Blood” by NONONO – Katrina Linden
“Falling Slowly” by Glen Hansard – Jessie Ryan
“The Greatest” by Sia – Sara Arce
“How it Feels to Fly” by Alicia Keys – Stacey Holderbach
“Fight Song” by Rachel Platten – Linda Vasquez
“Breathe” by Lin-Manuel Miranda – Audrey Dow
“América, América” by Luis Miguel – Leticia Bustillos
“Feel It Still” by Portugal. The Man – Jake Brymner
“Us” by Brother Ali – Abigail K. Bates
“Be” by Common – Fernando Marquez
“Every Last One” by Common Market – Fred Sanchez
“You Raise Me Up” by Josh Groban – Helen Do
“Best Day of my Life” by American Authors – Raquel Gonzalez
“Ways to Go” by Grouplove – Karen Dominguez