Singer-songwriter Jess Klein, known for her captivating storytelling and poignant lyrics, has unveiled her latest single, “That Was My Family.” The song sheds light on the crisis on the southern U.S. border, using a masterful blend of evocative images and melodic guitar to paint a picture of the experiences of immigrant families in the present as well as the past — stories that are a part of our collective history.
Drawing on her personal heritage, Klein delivers a heartfelt message about the plight of people seeking safety and refuge. She reflects on her Jewish ancestors’ journey to escape oppression in Russia and acknowledges the safe life they were able to establish in a new land.
“A hundred years later, coming from a different direction, possessing a different color skin, it would have been my family subject to detention, parents being separated from children, being sent back to the violence and fear,” Klein reflects. “I feel that it’s my responsibility as the granddaughter of immigrants to use the life I’ve been granted to try to help create a safer and more just world for all groups of people, in any way I can.”
To inspire empathy and raise awareness, Klein draws parallels between current immigration stories and those of Americans whose families may have been here longer.
“Human migration is as old as humanity,” she notes, “Groups of people seeking safer lives. When we criminalize it, we are really just turning against members of our own larger human family.”
From a little girl wrapped in her mother’s embrace to families crossing deserts in search of safety, the song captures the hopes, fears, and resilience of those facing adversity. The lyrics eloquently transport the audience into the experiences of people desperately seeking a better life for themselves and their loved ones in the U.S.
The song’s chorus rings out powerfully, expressing the artist’s personal connection to the issue: “That was my family / Esta es mi familia / We came here on our knees / Vinimos de rodillas / Stood up strong again in the arms of freedom / That was my family / Esta es mi familia.”
As an artist, Jess Klein continues to use her platform to shed light on important social justice themes, many of which will be explored in her upcoming album, When We Rise. The Bluegrass Situation has hailed her work as “one part grassroots social activism, two parts alt-country guitar rock,” while the New York Times has named Klein “a songwriter with a voice of unblinking tenacity.”
To follow Jess Klein and learn more, visit www.jessklein.com.