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Announcing the Winners of the Braver Angels Songwriting Contest


We are proud to announce the 3 winners and 10 honorable mentions in our Braver Angels Songwriting Contest. Winners will each receive cash prizes, be interviewed on the Braver Angels Podcast, and perform in a virtual concert August 7th with Peter Yarrow and Steve Seskin (click this link on August 7th at 5pmPT/8pmET to watch!)

We picked the following songs from over 200 impressive submissions. We are astounded by how many members of Braver Angels showed the courage to express themselves through music—especially in these difficult and divisive times. Thank you to everyone who contributed their voice to build this movement! Check out our full song collection HERE.

Drum Roll Please…..

1st Place goes to “A United State of Humanity,” by Jon Baker and Donna Elaine Miller

Our judges felt this was a song in which everyone—across the political spectrum—could find inspiration. Not only do the lyrics capture the spirit of our organization, but the energy and optimism of the music and performance will encourage our future work. 

2nd Place goes to “Even You” by Thomas Prasada-Rao

This song is, in itself, a brave and angelic statement: a songwriter’s refusal to deny the humanity of someone who was denying his. In sharing his response to a protestor’s sign, Tom shows his listener how courageous acts of love can be an appropriate and productive response to extreme expressions of hate. 

3rd Place goes to “Say Can You See” by Scott Cook

Our judges were particularly impressed by how this song expressed strong political convictions while still valuing those who disagree. It held our interest not only through its catchy instrumentals, but also through its demonstration of respect, honesty, and self-awareness. 

And here’s a list of our honorable mentions (in no particular order):

  • “Stronger” by Catherine Miles / Jay Mafale
  • “Samad and Archie” by Olivia Brownlee (note: the featured image at the top of this article is from Olivia’s illustrated sheet music for this song!).
  • “Idea Virus” by Rolf Hendriks
  • “The Quiet Voice” by Alex Wong and Elise Hayes
  • “Bird of Freedom” by John Dennis
  • “Braver to Do” by Mia Rose Lynne
  • “Together We Rise” by Bob Sima
  • “No Place Here” by Matthew Bell
  • “The Great Divide” by Jud Caswell
  • “On the Waves” by Dale Carpenter

There were countless other fantastic songs we aren’t recognizing here. So keep watching for more featured entries on our website and social media (e.g., check out our earlier “Music Dialogues” Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.)

Finally, thank you to our red and blue judges, our music committee members, and those who spread the word about our contest (especially The Kerrville Folk Festival, Music to Life, and Dalis Allen.) We couldn’t have done this without your generous support!

To all our Braver Angels: please keep making music! And if you’ve got something more to sing, send it to us here!

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Help us build a movement

Our 2024 National Convention, taking place in Kenosha, WI this June 27-29, will be a launching pad for better, more hopeful politics. We’re going to Kenosha to create hope – American Hope – and we need your help.

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