After the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Colin Dussault didn’t know how to talk to his then-10-year-old daughter. “As I raise my daughter and see what’s going on, I feel helpless, sad and isolated,” he says.
So he wrote a poem. Directed at America’s youth, the words were an apology for the violence he felt adults allowed to happen. Shout “stop!” to the violence, it urges.
The Lakewood songwriter soon decided the cathartic lines should be sung. Enlisting a dream team of Cleveland musicians including Michael Stanley and Alex Bevan, Dussault transformed his poem into “Song For Our Children,” an anthem for young Americans fighting to end gun violence.
Moved by the poem, Bevan joined first, devising a melody and recording a guitar track. From there, the project “was like a snowball,” Dussault says. He lengthened the piece from nine to 12 stanzas so more artists, from Stanley to Chris Allen and Austin “Walkin’ Cane,” could join the cause. After students were criticized for March’s nationwide March For Our Lives, Dussault organized the Snowflake Choir, a backing chorus of about 40 children, including his daughter and her friends, to sing the refrain: “Stand up! Speak up!” For the final touch, iconic Indians’ centerfield drummer John Adams laid down percussion.
“That song helped me because we all came together because we have a common belief that our children need to be kept safe,” says Dussault.
The song helped more than just him. Proceeds for the track, sold at concerts and online, are donated to Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America. The tune even reached a Parkland teacher who lost two students in the shooting. After discovering the song during a Cleveland visit, she emailed Dussault asking to meet him and his daughter. The new friends talked for hours.
“Music is just as powerful as guns,” Dussault says. “They can shoot bullets, but we can shoot songs and emotions.”