“We Know What To Do” - Song and Music Video by Sharon Katz, MT-BC

As the founder and director of The Peace Train, Community Music Therapy Project which I initiated in 1992 in my home country, South Africa, I was invited by the San Diego Foundation in 2018 to do bi-national work between the USA and Mexico. This is how our new project, “The Peace Train Transcending Barriers”, began. In early 2020 I came to base my work and project in Tijuana, Mexico working with the organization Promotora de las Bella Artes which provides choral programs to hundreds of children living in poor and vulnerable areas of the city. When the covid-19 pandemic hit, I was working with hundreds of children, teaching them South African songs and educating about the history of racism in South Africa and the election of Nelson Mandela as President, and the role of The Peace Train in the transition. We had just returned from a tour to Cuba, and while I was working with a group of about forty children who comprise the PBA main choir, I wrote the song “We Know What To Do” to inspire the children that we will be able to cope and survive the pandemic, but only if we keep positive and do the right thing. I taught the children the song on Zoom and I sent the lyrics and my firsts recording of the song to them electronically. I then recorded and filmed the song with the two children of our musical director. Individual children sent their videos to me using Whatsapp and I edited these into the video. When I finished editing, we had a “Premiere” of the video and we were able to discuss with the children how they felt being on lockdown, what being in the choir meant to them and what coping strategies they were developing. At the end of 2020 we held a “Drive in Concert” where we performed this and many other songs. The lyrics of the song are in English and Spanish and the translation is “Wash your hands, don’t touch your face, we must protect the human race. We will survive and stay alive. As a matter of fact, we’re going to thrive. We can make it through, ‘coz we know what to do. Social isolation we must do what’s right. Text communication, we will win this fight. We can make it through ‘coz we know what to do.”

One year later, we have continued offering vocal and dance programs to children in the community on Zoom and they are all managing with the isolation, largely because of their involvement in our programs. Many have lost family members to covid-19, are living in crowded conditions and poverty and in areas vulnerable to drug cartels. I also provide music therapy weekly to children who live in a migrant shelter, and in a safe house to children who have been rescued from child trafficking. These programs are a lifeline for the children.


Sharon Katz, MT-BC

Tijuana, Mexico February 13, 2021