Working with middle schoolers has always been a passion of mine. When I taught eighth grade at King Middle School in Berkeley, I started an after-school songwriting group where we focused on songs for a social purpose. During that class I wrote “Equality” and produced a little music video with kids from King. We performed this version of the song to commemorate Obama’s inauguration ceremony.
Anti-Bullying and LGBTQ: “You Be You”
At Live Oak School in San Francisco, I worked with fellow teacher John Gaudino to lead the Gay-Straight Alliance club for middle schoolers. One year, students were particularly concerned about stories in the news about bullying. I wrote the song “You Be You” and we made a video (with film maker Sean Nipper) to share our anti-bullying message.
Nursing is the Norm: “I Saw You Nursing Today”
Maybe everyone dreams of going back to their high school and taking the stage. For me it happened in 2002 when I was asked to perform at the Berkeley Community Theater in front of 2000 audience members. The gig involved playing lullabies while a gathering of breastfeeding women tried to break the Guinness Book of World Records for most women breastfeeding at one time in one room. We set the new record with 1130 babies latched onto their moms. All these years later, I was happily surprised when Dr. Katrina Mitchell asked me to write a song for a conference of the American Academy of Breastfeeding docs. She wanted the song to highlight how “nursing is the norm” across many species. After extensive research on everything from platypi to echidnas, I came up with “I Saw You Nursing Today.”