Today, the Human Rights Campaign joined with Grammy® /Emmy®/Tony® award-winning actor, singer and activist Billy Porter to release an inspiring video encouraging people to vote and marking 100 days until the 2020 election. The video, which features Porter’s new cover of protest song “For What It’s Worth,” audio from HRC President Alphonso David’s speech at HRC’s 2019 National Dinner and inspiring images of protest past and present, notes that both protest and voting are necessary to create change. “For What It’s Worth” was originally written by Stephen Stills in 1966, at the height of the civil rights movement.
“With only 100 days until the 2020 election, it is more important than ever to recognize the importance of using both protest and the ballot box to make our voices heard in this upcoming election, the most important of our lifetimes,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “I am so proud to join with Billy, who has long been an outspoken advocate for what is right, in sharing this important and inspiring video. Billy’s voice helps us demonstrate the power of truly seeing beyond ourselves and using each of our individual experiences to make real change.”
“The song ‘For What It’s Worth,’ originally a protest anthem from the 1960s, remains as relevant today as it was when it was first released,” said Billy Porter. “In pairing the song with Alphonso’s prophetic words about the power of seeing beyond yourself, this new video shares an important message for 2020: keep protesting, but also remember the sacrifices that have been made for our right to vote, and get yourself to the ballot box too.”
A transcript of Alphonso’s full remarks, featured in the video, is below:
We are at a crossroads in this nation. We have seen an increasingly disturbing painting, a painting reflected on our television screens and in our newspapers, a painting of history repeating itself.
There has been and continues to be a widespread indifference and bigotry advanced through the highest halls of power, a fundamental regression of our society.
We’re losing our soul.
If we are going to weather this existential crisis that we face in this country, we must see beyond ourselves. We cannot win this war against hate if we live in our silos. We cannot win this war against division by remaining divided. We cannot win this war against indifference by ignoring each other. We must unite and break down the barriers that too often allow some of us to forget about the rest of us.
Regardless of how we self identify, we share a common dream, the dream of full equality. It is the dream that led Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera to fight back at Stonewall. It is the dream that led Harvey Milk to run for public office. It is the dream that led Edie Windsor and Jim Obergefell to fight discrimination all the way up to the Supreme Court.
When we dig deep to see beyond ourselves and we see others for who they are as human beings, our power has no limits. I say that whoever you are, however you identify, see yourself in the person who looks nothing like you.
Let our next greatest achievement be realizing the dream of full equality for all of us and let it begin right here with each and every one of us.
Check out Billy Porter’s full version of “For What It’s Worth” here.