City Council sings song known as 'black national anthem'

The New York City Council stood and sang "Lift Every Voice and Sing," often referred to as the black national anthem. It is a powerful song. But what this all boils down to is: are we living up to our ideals as a country? If we aren't, is there an appropriate way to raise the bar and respectfully protest?

Jumaane Williams, a council member from Brooklyn, and other members of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus led the song. It was a much discussed and potentially divisive wrinkle to the council agenda.

"Lift Every Voice" was written in 1899 as a poem. Dr. Joseph Lowery performed the song at President Obama's inauguration. It was also performed recently at the opening ceremonies of the National Museum of African American History And Culture.

An ongoing conversation and disappointment by some has taken form in many ways, seen through violent protests on the streets of Baltimore and the peaceful protests by someone like NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Many people have been critical of both forms.

Williams started sitting and praying during the pledge of allegiance in chambers both in support of Kaepernick and also to draw attention to policing and gun violence

Williams said this is about using all the tools we have to move conversation in productive way.