When a Boston police officer shared a video of her powerful rendition of "American the Beautiful" online, it caught the attention of Kelly Ripa and thousands of others awed by her take on the song.
Kim Tavares, a self-taught singer, has been with the Boston Police Department for 19 years. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Tavares said she wanted to find a way to share a message of unity and peace during such a tumultuous time.
"What inspired me to sing 'America the Beautiful' were the lyrics,” Tavares told "Good Morning America." "If you think about those words from the verse, no matter what you’re going through, there’s still going to be 'beautiful, for spacious skies' and ‘amber waves of grain.'"
"I think people like the tone of my voice. It’s clear, and that’s me. When I sing, I like my voice to be soothing, to be calming. That’s needed at this time," she added
Tavares said she was inspired to post the video after the death of a fellow Boston Police officer of coronavirus.
"We had just lost our first officer to COVID-19, and we had his funeral this past Saturday," she said, noting that she posted her clip that evening of April 18. "The whole day it was raining and the weather was bad, and I was thinking that there was an officer that we can’t even give a proper send off. We can’t hug the family," said Tavares.
"At that moment, in the evening, I was scrolling through my phone and I wanted to hear something comforting. I thought, 'Let me post this one,' she said.
According to Boston Police Department Sgt. Det. John Boyle, there have been about 74 other Boston Police officers who have tested positive for COVID-19 and more are in quarantine.
"Everyone is staying safe, we’re following CDC guidelines," said Boyle. "Community policing is about reducing fear and building neighborhoods without fear. Right now, there is a lot of fear in our city, nation, the world, and we’re on the front line to fight crime but also fight that fear."
Shocked by the online attention, Tavares said that she is happy that her voice and her message has resonated with so many people. She says she reads all the positive comments.
"I read [one comment] where a lady said, 'My husband and I are sitting here watching you and we’re both crying,' and I commented, 'Girl, now you have me crying!'" said Tavares. "That’s what it’s all about, that connection. Wherever you are in the world, you’re connecting."
"The uniform doesn’t make me who I am, I make the uniform. I’m a person under here,"she said. "I’m representing not only Boston or the Boston Police Department, but I’m representing single mothers. I’m representing women and I’m representing myself."