Decolonizing Community Singing

Photo by Lyndsey Scott

This is an evolving resource, designed to support community singing spaces to be safe, welcoming and liberatory for all voices. These conversations, resources and songs are part of a collective commitment to increase our awareness of how systemic oppression moves inside these spaces and heal them, starting with our own hearts and minds. Please join us in this lifetime commitment to listening, learning and resisting oppression together.

This is a hub for freely and generously-shared offerings by others. Edits and additions welcome – please email Everything here is encouraged to be shared and re-posted elsewhere.


Decolonizing Community Singing:
A Free Listening & Learning Panel
with Shireen Amini, Hannah Mayree & Dodie Whitaker
Facilitated by Aaron Johnson of Holistic Resistance, Hosted by The Bird Sings
Recorded March 28, 2022

Click here for the chat log


We plan to continue these conversations, so stay engaged with us to learn about the next opportunity to listen in.

*** An Important Request ***
For white folks, please do not email, call or approach the presenters at events or in other circumstances about what was shared in this panel without their invitation and consent.

This conversation builds upon an important document that was published three years ago, Who Is Community Singing For? The document is suggested reading prior to watching the panel and can be downloaded for a small donation here:

Do You Want to Stay in Conversation With Us About This?

If you have watched this panel (live or recorded) and wish to receive follow-up from us for support, deeper learning and/or action opportunities, please fill out one of the two forms here, based upon your racial presentation:

Follow-up support for BIPOC family:
(This form goes to Aaron at Holistic Resistance.)

For White folks and/or people benefitting from white privilege:

Mixed-Heritage people: we welcome mixed heritage folks to join either or both of these groups depending on lived experience and self-identification. We acknowledge the complexities of holding multiple intersecting identities and are working to create more spaces for folks of these lived experiences. We also want to acknowledge the reality of colorism and the range of experiences for people of color.

Solidarity Fund

If you would like to contribute to a solidarity fund that will keep these panels going as well as support BIPOC songleaders to attend community singing events, we welcome your support here. This is a temporary pass through fund collected and distributed by The Bird Sings. 100% of funds go to BIPOC songleaders and a transparent accounting is available upon request anytime.


3-Part Podcast Series from Holistic Resistance with Lisa Littlebird 
In these conversations Aaron Johnson and Porsha Beed of Holistic Resistance talk with Lisa about how they met in Lisa’s white-led community singing space and the journey of healing, awareness and relationship that has birthed from that experience. All three sessions were recorded in 2020, though posted at different times, and represent a snapshot in time on a lifetime reach for one another.


Who is Community Singing For?
by Jennifer Morales, Dodie Whitaker, & Lauren McElroy
An essential reference, authored by BIPOC-identifying singers that is serving as a central resource welcoming BIPOC/ People of the Global Majority voices in community singing environments. Gratefully provided here by Vox for Change, a program of Dodie Whitaker.

Creating a Welcoming Environment for Trans and Non-Binary Singers, compiled by Emily Bate

Trans & Non-binary Vocal Resources, compiled by Emily Bate

Decolonizing the Music Room
Decolonizing the Music Room is a nonprofit organization using research, training, and discourse to help music educators develop critical practices and center the voices, knowledge, and experiences of BBIP (Black, Brown, and Indigenous People) in order to challenge the historical dominance of Western European and white American music, narratives, and practices. Their website features many writings and resources, including links to songbooks and detailed song backgrounds to support ongoing education on these issues.


Reach For Life! Songs for Holistically Resisting Playlist

Boots on the Ground Community Singing Playlist

Restorative justice-themed songs in TheBirdSings Online Library (ever-growing)