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Social Stance Saturday: The Power of Music (by The Shades)


Chicago- based acoustic pop group, The Shades, are using their love for music to give back to their community. Below they have written a Social Stance discussing their incredible work with Guitars Over Guns, an orginazation that builds the community through music. Keep reading to learn more about how this orginization and the people involved are changing lives. 

Songwriters and storytellers have a lot in common: we work to paint a picture, to evoke emotion, and maybe most importantly, to share unique perspective about issues that matter. We do this because we understand the danger of the single story - the picture painted with a brush so broad that viewers fail to appreciate the beauty in the details.

 As a band from Chicago, we know the prevailing “single story” about our city is not one of deep dish pizza or the World Champion Cubs; rather, it’s about violence - violence that disproportionately affects communities and families on certain sides of the city. It portrays the youth in these areas as dangerous and careless. Our current President uses Chicago as a poster child for everything that’s wrong with our country, while our former President worked for years to organize and unify it.

 The truth is, the kids in our city don’t need to be “fixed.” Chicago’s kids are awesome. They’re creative. They’re fearless. They’re bursting with energy and hungry to learn. But kids from disadvantaged communities in our city don’t always have the opportunity to tell their stories in their own words - to feel seen for who they are, rather than who the news makes them out to be. That’s why The Shades are proud partners of Guitars Over Guns, an organization aimed at using music and mentorship to shift Chicago’s single story in a new direction.

 Guitars Over Guns matches mentors with schools to help students choose and follow their passions. In addition to being professional musicians like The Shades – gigging regularly, writing, recording and releasing music  – Guitars Over Guns mentors are compassionate people who believe in the power of music to change lives. Whether in the classroom or in the studio, we work to create safe spaces for youth to express themselves, push themselves, surprise themselves, perform and create.

 Our goal isn’t necessarily to create the next Jimi Hendrix, Aretha Franklin, or even The Shades. Our goal is to give students an opportunity to use the arts to build the skills they need to thrive in school, at work, and one day, as leaders in their own communities, dismantling Chicago’s single story.

 To learn more about our passion for working with Chicago’s young musicians, follow us on Twitter and Guitars Over Guns on Twitter, and come to see us perform at the Lagunitas Brewing Company Tap Room on Tuesday, September 25th at 5:30pm to benefit the David L. Hoyt Education Foundation’s ‘Give Back to School’ Fundraising Event!


You can also follow The Shades on Spotify and Facebook!


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Brijana Bondy Staff Photo

Brijana can be found reading a book on a hammock while listening to her favorite tunes.

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