Central Jersey Cello Society-My Motivation

My Motivation for this Project

After the unimaginable murder of  people attending a Bible study in their church in Charleston during the summer of 2015, I mailed a sympathy card to the people of Emanuel AME Church, with the promise that I would try to do something, however small, to promote positive social change. I spent the next few months contemplating what I could do to help turn the tide of violence and hatred in our world. 

During the summer of 2015 I learned more about the issues of race, poverty and injustice through Trinity Church's Sacred Conversations on Race and through hearing Bryan Stevenson speak and reading his book, Just Mercy.

My idea was to bring volunteer cellists together, cellists of all ages, to give a cello recital at Trinity Episcopal Church in Princeton (which is my church). It became part of a weekend program to reflect on people who are imprisoned, particularly those in solitary confinement and on death row. 

Eight cellists (two high school seniors, two college students and four adult cellists from Sinfonietta Nova) donated their time and talent to transform people's hearts through music and to raise money to help two organizations  carry out their life saving and life giving work. About $1,400 was raised through a free will offering and donated to:

  Equal Justice Initiative and Centurion Ministries 

The event was preceded by a screening of a powerful speech by Bryan Stevenson, director of the Equal Justice Initiative , filmed when he spoke in September 2015 at Trinity Church Wall St. in New York. 

As part of the cello recital, a wrongfully convicted man, who was exonerated through the efforts of Centurion Ministries,  got up to speak. He explained how a lack of resources affected his ability to defend himself.  

I believe that Cellists Chime in for Change helped people reflect on the way we treat others, especially those of a different race and economic status. It brought to light some of the hidden problems in the U.S. criminal justice system. It also brought hope that we can come together to reflect and move towards humane treatment of inmates.

Suzanne Dicker