On Wednesday, from 12 p.m. to 12:10 p.m., the Campanile carillonist will play “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” also known as the black national anthem. It will be the first time the three-stanza song has ever been played on the Campanile carillon.
“Given the campus climate, it’s a really positive thing,” said LaShonda King, an adviser for the College of Letters and Sciences and communications chair for the Black Staff and Faculty Organization, or BSFO.
On March 19, the results of a 2013 systemwide survey to assess the UC climate revealed that black students, staff and faculty were perceived to be among the least-respected groups on campus.
“We wanted to do our part,” King said of the BSFO. “We wanted to do something to uplift our community.”
After a suggestion from Rebecca Ulrich, the BSFO chair, to have “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” played on campus, King began to collaborate with the music department to make that vision a reality. Happily, the department agreed. King provided the sheet music and set the date: Sept. 17, the same day as a BSFO meeting and Black Wednesday, a weekly gathering of black students in front of the Golden Bear Cafe from noon to 2 p.m.
BSFO members will be meeting at the Campanile at noon to sing along and are inviting everyone in the campus community to join them. In fact, there are already plans for Dr. Mark Wilson, the director of the University Gospel Chorus, to participate.
“People are very excited,” King said. ” ‘Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing’ was so uplifting to our community in the early 1900s and is still very inspirational today. Many people have sung it at least once in their life.”