Music for Action - State Radio
2011/04/14
By : Cynthia La Grou
Boston based alternative band, State Radio, led by singer / songwriter Chad Stokes Urmston, is known for its blend of Roots-Reggae, Ska, Punk and Rock musical styles which are equally fused with an eclectic mix of social activism and politically charged viewpoints. Stokes, former member of the band Dispatch, formed State Radio in 2002.

Since Dispatch disbanded, they've reunited three times (a fourth time coming up this summer) which included a free show in Boston that brought 125,000 fans to the Charles River in 2004, a three-night, sold out run at Madison Square Garden in 2007 to raise funds and awareness for poverty-stricken Zimbabwe, (marking the first time in history an unsigned band had headlined the Garden, let alone sold it out for three nights) and a formal reunion in 2008 when the musicians came together for an acoustic benefit show at Washington, DC's Kennedy Center.

Stokes continues to carry over a rich legacy of musical activism benefiting a host of causes. Movements need music and although aligning music and the call to action for audiences is one thing, living it out by working along side fans is quite another. Most bands have touring schedules - State Radio has an "Action Calendar." Stokes work benefits multiple causes - Bikes Not Bombs, Learning Center for the Deaf to name a few.

During their sold out, 25-city tour last February, and throughout the rest of 2009 including another 25-city fall tour, the band performed service projects in every town they visited, from serving lunch at a homeless shelter in Houston to building a community garden at an inner city elementary school in Washington, D.C.

Calling All Crows , a service organization started by Stokes and State Radio tour manager Sybil Gallagher, is dedicated to mobilizing musicians and fans to empower women around the world. Through the groups volunteer fan base, Calling All Crows has raised over $200,000 to empower women in Sudan and Afghanistan and invested more than 10,000 hours of service in local communities across North America and Europe. (State Radio/Calling All Crows has also recently presented Oxfam with a $100,000 check to go towards Oxfam's Stove Project in Sudan.)

Calling All Crows believes that violence against women is the global issue of our generation. Victims of violence - rape, murder, sexual exploitation, trafficking, and other culturally mandated abuses face far greater risks for a host of health problems, including HIV/AIDS. Many are unable to have healthy babies, or care for and support their families. The United Nations reports that 1 in 3 women worldwide will be beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in their lives. When fear spreads through communities, girls cannot go to school, women cannot hold jobs - resulting in increased poverty and instability.

Counting All Crows supports The International Violence Against Women Act (S. 2982) which will:

● Mandate the appointment of senior officials in both the State Department and USAID to be responsible for the issue;

● Require interagency coordination, monitoring and evaluation of programs and regular briefings to Congress;

● Provide comprehensive, five-year individual country plans for 5-20 countries with high levels of violence against women and girls;

● Provide a strong programmatic component to respond to violence against women in humanitarian relief, peacekeeping, conflict, and post-conflict settings; and

● Spotlight widespread violence against women and girls in real time - such as in the Democratic Republic of the Congo - by requiring the Secretary of State to develop emergency response plans.

● Build the effectiveness of overseas non-governmental organizations -particularly women's non-governmental organizations - in addressing violence against women.
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