Nitika Chopra is a chronic illness advocate, inspirational wellness speaker and self-love guru. She’s also a member of the Resistance Revival Chorus, a group of 60 people identifying as women who seek to resist, and scatter joy through the art of song and, with their monthly Resistance Revival Nights. A commitment to inclusivity, resistance and joy make Nitika Chopra and the Resistance Revival Chorus women we’re watching.
Tell us about the Resistance Revival Chorus. How did it get started, and what is its mission?
Resistance Revival Chorus was started by some of the founding members of the Women’s March: Paola Mendoza, Sarah Sophie Flicker and Ginny Suss. These women had been at the forefront of what happened during election time, and by the summer of 2017, they were feeling exhausted and depleted from being on the front lines. They spent time with legendary civil rights activist, singer, songwriter and actor Harry Belafonte, who shared his belief, “When the movement is strong, the music is strong.” He talked with them about finding joy in resistance. Through the Resistance Revival Chorus, we try to show up and create that for people as much as we can possibly can. We have to keep resisting, keep showing up and we can’t give up—but if our bodies are breaking down and our spirits are tired, how do we keep going? Finding the joy in the resistance is the answer.
What made you want to be a part of the Resistance Revival Chorus?
Paola and I have been friends for a long time. She had emailed a group of her friends to join the Resistance Revival Chorus, including me, and the first though in my head was, “That’s so cool!” When I was younger, I took voice lessons weekly for 15 years. In my culture, performing or flaunting my spirit was not encouraged, but as a young girl, singing to me always felt like I was holding God’s hands. I thought Paola’s idea was great, but I was hesitant to join because of all of those feelings of not being supported when I was younger. When Paola posted the first rehearsal of the Chorus on Facebook, though, I thought, “These are my people!” I’ve been with them since the second rehearsal.
We love that the Chorus showcases artists across all genres during its performances. Why is it important to use myriad art forms to further the resistance?
The resistance isn’t just about one cause. It’s about every voice, every moment of oppression, every time people are pushed down and told they’re not okay. From love to women’s rights to performing in a language other than English—we’re not living in a bubble. If we’re really resisting, we better include everyone. We can’t choose one cause to resist on behalf of; everything matters. We all have our own passionate causes outside of the Chorus, but the most important thing is to be inclusive in resistance.
I had the pleasure of attending a Resistance Revival Chorus performance last month at City Winery in New York City. During the night, the audience was reminded that, “Joy is an act of resistance.” For anyone who has ever visited your site, you seem to radiate joy and positivity! How do you continue to find joy in your daily life?
Honestly, I do it in every single moment that I can. A big part of that is being aware of what my needs are. When I tap into that and what I’m craving in that moment, I can bring a joy and lightness to what I’m doing. People think of it as a cherry on top, but I look at it as a necessity. How can I bring joy into every moment? Sometimes it’s what I’m wearing, or sometimes it’s allowing myself to sleep in, or my daily oat milk latte. It makes me feel so good! I make sure I get what I need. I’m conscious that joy is possible in every moment. It’s up to us to be committed to that—we have to do that work. We have to choose joy.
With our frantic news cycle and the onslaught of disheartening stories swirling around us daily, it can feel overwhelming to take steps to get involved. What is your advice for women who want to resist, but don’t know where to start?
First of all, you’re not alone. Part of why I joined the Chorus is for that exact reason! What I’ve found, and I’ve never been an activist or participated this way before, but really, just show up. Show up, be willing to listen and ask your questions. If you’re saying you don’t know where to start, your’e not looking hard enough! Go on Instagram or Twitter. Follow Women’s March. Follow Black Lives Matter. Follow Paola. Follow Ginny. This will give you plenty of ideas!
And remember, you don’t have to always make a splash with what you’re doing, but it all matters. Will it move the needle if you call a senator? Yes. Keep showing up and prove that you’re not just in it for a photo opportunity. If you want to make the world a better place, look to those who do it daily, then follow their lead. No action is too small. Not doing anything is not going to help. If you’re feeling shy, gather a buddy who doesn’t know what to do either and team up to support each other, applaud each other’s actions and share ideas. Make it a game to keep showing up!
As we’re speaking, NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman—a progressive who has made his platform one of supporting women’s issues—has just been accused of abusing women. It seems every day, the need for the Resistance Revival Chorus grows. How do you envision the performances growing to further meet the current climate of women speaking truth to power?
One of the things that we’re coming up against is that the Chorus is often asked to sing where the audience might be uncomfortable with what we’re saying. For example, we’ve been to many different organizations, and in the song, “Rich Man’s House,” we’re talking about going down to the NRA and the White House—that can bring up a lot for the audience. I wasn’t taught to do this, to resist in the face of opposition. I was taught, as an Indian woman, to stay in line and not ruffle feathers. I feel uncomfortable in these particular situations, but I’m going to keep at it. We’re going to keep showing up in controversial spaces. The more we grow, the more we can hopefully resist with our music.
What’s next for the Resistance Revival Chorus?
Our next monthly Resistance Revival Night will be on July 11, 2018. Follow us on Instagram @resistancerevivalchorus for up-to-date information and to know when tickets are available. We’re also singing at the Gay Pride Parade in New York City and the Summer Stage in Central Park! It’s breathtaking to see it all come together.
Get inspired by other female leaders by following along with our entire Women We’re Watching series.