"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
"America is a tune. It must be sung together."
"I love to tell my students when I start a class: ‘When an old woman or man dies, a library burns to the ground.’ You begin to see humanity rather than faceless worlds… it’s the human voice that allows you to enter that intimacy and break down the barriers, the silos. You won't remember my lectures. What you'll remember are these sounds, like the ballads and Sacred Harp of white people or the work chants of black people. The music you hear, some of it's going to really get inside you, and you will carry that with you. And it's going to open you up."
"What is straight? A line can be straight, or a street, but the human heart, oh, no, it's curved like a road through mountains"
"Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogancies. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace—a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men."
"Russia launched a concerted attack on our political system… There were multiple systematic efforts to interfere in our election. That allegation deserves the attention of every American."
"Honor to the soldier and sailor everywhere, who bravely bears his country’s cause. Honor, also, to the citizen who cares for his brother in the field and serves, as he best can, the same cause."
"The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him."
"Facing an existential crisis of democracy, Americans cannot resign ourselves to disenfranchisement and dismay. We must find hope in the energy of voters who supported access to health care, economic opportunity and high-quality public education in record numbers… Use the ballot box to create the change our communities need and deserve… Voters deserve the right to pick their leaders and set the direction of our nation. And we shall not rest until this democracy is fully realized."
"America’s founders intended our system to work — through the testing of ideas and the application of reason and proof it would be possible to arrive at a basis for common ground… For this to work, we have to actually believe in an objective reality. And that’s what we need right now, we don’t just need one leader, we don’t just need one inspiration, what we badly need right now is that collective spirit. And, I know that those young people, those hope carriers are gathering around the world. Because history shows that whenever progress is threatened, and the things we care about most are in question. We should heed the words of Robert Kennedy… he said, “Our answer is the world’s hope: it is to rely on youth. It’s to rely on the spirit of the young.”"
" Music was like a bridge… when we’d get out of jail, someplace in the Delta, Mississippi, the blight of Alabama or Nashville, that moving music brought us together. And that’s why I love the song “Happy.” I tell people all the time, “Be happy.” Be happy. Enjoy life. Don’t be down all the time."
"Black-led, community-based organizations throughout Tennessee have been registering more voters, turning them out to vote and winning more elections for progressive issues and candidates. The fact that racial progress here has resulted in a white backlash is consistent with Tennessee history."