Hundreds gather at Lincoln Memorial to Chant 4 Change

The Rev. Alan Gates of Epiphany, San Carlos, joined other religious leaders to celebrate Chant 4 Change — an interfaith gathering at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. Saturday, October 8. Representatives from Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, and Cherokee communities offered opening blessings under cloudy skies and a steady sprinkling of rain. By mid afternoon, skies cleared and voices were raised to chant for peace, unity, and reconciliation in the United States and in the world.
It was no accident that Chant 4 Change was organized just weeks away from the national primary elections. Organizers defined the event as intending to offer a positive and compassionate voice to the often negative language of national politics, saying “If you love your neighbor without consideration of their religion, politics, race, sex, age, economic status, it may seem there is no place for your voice to be heard. Chant music has long powered revolutionary action from Gandhi to Martin Luther King, Jr. Chant4Change is ‘conscious action’ — an alternative to the negativity.”
With many braving the sometimes stormy weather, and thousands passing by, music echoed from the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument. Artists included Sufi qawwali singers, contemporary Sanskrit chanting, Gregorian chant, and an appearance by the Kirtan Rabbi. Voices raised in songs of peace, hip-hop artist MC Yogi, stirred the crowd asking, “I want to see a million peace signs across the world tonight.” Hundreds of joyful participants heeded the call and raised their hands in hope and peace.