Folk music activist and social activist Joan Baez joined hands with Justin Jones, a Tennessee Democrat, to perform a rendition of "We Shall Overcome" in response to Jones' recent expulsion from the state House.
Jones, who had played a leading role in a gun violence protest, was one of two Black Democrats who were expelled from the House by the GOP-led Tennessee House. Jones referred to the expulsion as an “attack on democracy,” and it is expected that he may be able to rejoin the body following a meeting by the Nashville metro council on Monday.
Baez, who was a friend of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and an iconic figure of the civil rights movement of the 1960s, often sang "We Shall Overcome" during her performances. The song became a rallying cry of the civil rights movement and was notably sung by Baez during the March on Washington.
Jones, in a tweet, referred to meeting Baez as part of a "movement of the spirit." He wrote that she stood with them in their "struggle in Tennessee" and expressed hope for young voices to lead the movement.
You can see a clip of the performance below.
Many were moved by the performance and expressed their support.
The performance of "We Shall Overcome" by Baez and Jones is a reminder of the power of music in social and political movements.
The song has a long history of being used as a call to action in the fight for civil rights and social justice. Baez's connection to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and her involvement in the civil rights movement give her rendition of the song a special significance.
In an interview with The Tennesseean, Baez expressed support for Jones and his colleague, fellow Democrat Justin Pearson, saying that movements are driven by "little victories and big defeats" and that "changing hearts and minds requires people connecting over the little victories."