The Year We Couldn’t Keep Quiet

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It was a year of small gains and unrelenting setbacks, but the Bay Area held strong in 2017: making inspired art, expressing ourselves and leading the national resistance. Against a backdrop of often-overwhelming crises, individual artists showed us how to keep moving forward.

A day after the presidential inauguration, an estimated 300,000 people linked arms and merged voices in women’s marches across the Bay Area, joining nearly 5 million marchers worldwide. Distributed at many of these marches were copies of Resist, a 40-page newspaper featuring political cartoons and graphics capturing “women’s voices” in response to the new administration. Among those voices was work by 14-year-old political cartoonist and Oakland 8th-grader Quinn Nelson.

In answer to the president’s attempts at initiating a travel ban on citizens from seven Muslim-majority nations, Sudanese singer Salma Al Aasal joined Aswat Ensemble and other guests at Oakland’s Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California to perform Notes Against the Ban, music from Libya, Yemen, Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Iraq.

Mission-based band Soltron brought their Afro-Cuban sound to the streets of San Francisco, challenging local gentrification and national politics with horns, drums and snappy beats.

Throughout the year, the Bay Area met hate and prejudice with song, dance and celebration. In this video, we highlight some of the many artists who helped us navigate the heartbreaks and disappointments, and celebrate the moments when the Bay Area's creativity, resilience, and collective strength shined bright.


With cinematography by Claudia Escobar, Kelly Whalen, Elie Khadra, Benjamin Michel, Peter Ruocco, Mike Seely, Omid Zoufonoun, Armando Aparicio, and Manjula Varghese, editing by Kelly Whalen, and music by UC Berkeley alumna Connie Lim, aka MILCK, and her breathtaking song Quiet, we close out 2017 remembering we can’t and won’t be quiet. - Text by Sarah Hotchkiss