Garth Brooks to Florida Shooting Survivor Emma Gonzalez: "Do Not Let Hate Win"
The country superstar, who normally stays out of politics, also released a new song in preparation for Saturday's March for Our Lives demonstration.
On his weekly Inside Studio G session with fans on Facebook, Garth Brooks gave an emotional shoutout to Emma Gonzalez, one of the student organizers of March for Our Lives, and sang portions of a previously unreleased song in preparation for the March 24 event.
Toward the end of the 30-minute video, around the 24:36 mark, Brooks and his producer showed the letter posted by Gonzalez, a high school senior who survived the Feb. 14 Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, to anyone joining the march. Brooks’ producer gave the singer a little tutorial on some of the march’s details (for anyone who may still need those). Brooks then addressed this line in Gonzalez’s letter: “I believe the young people in this country can change the world, and wouldn’t that be something?”
“OK, Miss Emma,” Brooks said, “It’s not yours to change, it’s yours. You understand that. You’re the future. …This is your world: Take it, shape it, mold it.”
He also advised that she and fellow marchers in Washington, D.C., and across the country “be patient, be loving because there might be some cross voices that enter in this march. Be loving, be tolerant. Do not let hate win. … Your generation is the generation for the school shootings. Let’s make sure the next generation is not. Fair enough?”
Brooks, who normally stays away from political issues, then grabbed his acoustic guitar to sing a song that he wrote with Tony Arata (who wrote Brooks’ classic “The Dance”), which Brooks hasn’t yet recorded. The song, which features a father singing to his children, includes the lines “To my children I make this vow: to matter then, it must matter now/ If we’re ever going to take a step beyond the road from here to gone/ Because there’s an endless stream I see walking in my dreams/ So many different voices, so many different wings/ Those without are those with plenty and the meekest are the strong/ All are one among the many marching on the road from here to gone/ We’re all one among the many marching on the road from here to gone.”
Wiping away a tear, Brooks, the father of three daughters, then reiterated his message to Gonzalez: "Miss Emma, everybody who will be marching: Love. Do not let hate win. Love.” He closed with another shoutout for the march, saying, “Be a part of it.”
This story first appeared on billboard.com