Advocacy director, the New York State Alliance for Quality Education
Singer, Resistance Revival Chorus
Jul 13, 2021
Zakiyah Ansari is a parent organizer and advocacy director for the New York State Alliance for Quality Education, an organization focused on educational justice issues. She has spent two decades on the frontlines fighting against education inequity and the oppression of Black and brown people.
She is also a founding member of The Resistance Revival Chorus, a collective of more than 60 women and non-binary singers who sing songs of resistance and uplift, born in the fraught months following the 2016 election of Donald Trump. The group carries on the tradition of the civil rights protest song—at scale: Over the past four years, the RRC or its individual members have performed at Black Lives Matter demonstrations, women’s marches, LGBTQ+ rallies, on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” “Saturday Night Live” and more.
“We quote Toi Derricotte, who says, ‘Joy is an act of resistance’,” Ansari tells Brooklyn Magazine. “We’ve sung through joy, through grief, through the pandemic, inside and outside.”
And now they’ve sung on wax, too. The RRC’s debut album, “This Joy,” a collection of historic traditional protest songs, covers and originals with a who’s who of guest artists, was released in October.