Austin and the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom

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Austin working with the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom

The pandemic means more home time for all of us. For ´Til Dawn Director Austin Willacy, it’s provided an opportunity to connect with new singers and hone his engineering and production skills.
Austin just finished a Teen Lab with the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom–a nationwide organization dedicated to building trust and relationships between Muslim and Jewish women and girls.  In it, he supported them in composing a mission statement for their teen chapters, but not the way you think.  Their mission statement is a song!  We Are Many, We Are One was sourced, co-written and remotely recorded by 30 teens from SOSS chapters across the country. 
Austin co-facilitated the SOSS sessions with Sarah Brajtbord. Austin, Brajtbord and Micah Handler – founder of the Jerusalem Youth Chorus, are the founders of Raise Your Voice Labs, a creative culture transformation company that launched in mid-September.  
“The deep intention for healing and relationship building at the core of the Sisterhood set the stage for dialogues and processes that were their own beautiful journey, and these young women are so talented!” Austin said.  “The song that grew out of it is very moving, and you’d never know it was all recorded virtually.”
The singers and instrumentalists recorded their parts on their phones and sent them to Austin, who edited all the parts together to build the recording.
“Their mission is alive in a different way than a 2-3 sentence statement on a website.  It’s their words and their voices … and they can sing it,” he said.
Like in his work with ´Til Dawn, the Teen Lab centered community building and connection – and made everyone feel like they were part of a team even though they are in CA, NYC, PA, AZ, CT, and TX. 
We Are Many, We Are One is sung in English, Arabic and is beautiful to watch. The song, sung in English, Arabic and Hebrew, includes these lyrics:
We can’t rewrite history, but we can open our eyes
Creating our story, the ink never dries
We are many, we are one
Doesn’t matter where we’re from…
We are many we are one, different faces just one sun
In addition to his work with ‘Til Dawn and Raise Your Voice Labs, Austin is a solo recording artist and a member of The House Jacks.
“It was so cool to be doing this work and sharing with ‘Til Dawn about it the whole way through,” Austin said.  “When I showed them the video of the song, several of the members of ‘Til Dawn were moved to tears.”.

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