ORLANDO, Fla. - The University of Central Florida’s Gospel and Cultural Choir recorded a special rendition of "Lift Every Voice and Sing" in honor of Black History Month.
"This song confronts the fact that The United States has gone through many racial injustices, but it also confronts the hope that we have," said Tiffany Pugh, alto section leader for the choir. "I really love this song because it shows the resilience of African-American Communities or different minority communities as a whole."
Choir members said they chose to record and release a new music video featuring the song because of the pandemic and the social and political climate of the last year.
"I hope when people hear this song that they understand the importance of unity," said the president of the choir, Hector Garcia.
The choir has been advocating unity since its inception at UCF more than 40 years ago. The choir’s treasurer, Lourdgenie Lamothe, said it has been providing minority students with a sense of on-campus community, spirituality and unity.
Lamothe said she experienced culture shock when she was a freshman at UCF. "I’ve never been around predominantly white students, so it was definitely different. Sometimes I felt like an outcast because I was either the only black girl in my class or one out of a few."
She said joining the choir felt like coming home. "The first time I went to practice the choir members did not know me but they embraced me like I was part of the family. It felt so welcoming so warm."
"It's been a space where we've been able to be truthful about how we feel," Pugh said. "Having a space to truly be able to talk about how you're afraid to be pulled over by the police or you're afraid to speak your mind sometimes because of how you will be viewed is… a safe outlet to be able to express yourself. I really appreciate them for that."
The choir plans on releasing the music video on social media and offering it to organizations and churches as virtual performances.