Thank you Joan Baez!
This diary is to express my admiration for Joan Baez, to thank her for all she has done, and to draw inspiration from her for the struggles that lie ahead. Joan’s singing can fill me with the sublimest emotion and her voice and spirit have shepherded me through trial and tribulation over a lifetime punctuated by tragedy – as all of ours are. Her voice washes through my troubled soul like a river of grace and mercy. And one can’t help but admire and be moved by her personal courage and commitment to humanitarian and progressive causes. She has not only fought, but has led us through many righteous battles. She is a warrior for humanity, possessing the voice of an angel and the heart of a lion.
Her voice is like a person who has discovered all the secrets of nature and then utters them back reverently and elegantly while nature listens and nods in approval.
~ so eloquently put by my good friend Norwegian Chef
Joan Baez ~ Oh Freedom – Turn Me Around
At a time in our country’s history when it was neither safe nor fashionable, Joan put herself on the line countless times, and her life’s work was mirrored in her music. She sang about freedom and Civil Rights everywhere, from the backs of flatbed trucks to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s March on Washington in 1963. In 1964, she withheld 60% of her income tax from the IRS to protest miltary spending, and participated in the birth of the Free Speech movement at UC Berkeley. A year later she co-founded the Institute For The Study of Nonviolence near her home in Carmel Valley. In 1966, Joan Baez stood in the fields alongside Cesar Chavez and migrant farm workers striking for fair wages, and opposed capital punishment at San Quentin during a Christmas vigil. The following year she turned her attention to the draft resistance movement. As the war in Vietnam escalated in the late ’60s and early ’70s, she traveled to Hanoi with the U.S.-based Liaison Committee and helped establish Amnesty International on the West Coast.
~ excerpted from Joan’s official biography
Throughout the turbulent 60s Joan helped millions of my generation both to resist the rightwing madness and to heal from the many terrible tragedies that befell those of us in the civil rights movement and the resistance to the Vietnam War. She was our Florence Nightingale. Her ability to soothe and heal were (and remain) phenomenal.
Joan gave me one of the highlights of my life
I was a young gay man in San Francisco in the late 1970’s, the Golden Age of gay liberation. It all came crashing to a halt the day Dan White assassinated Harvey Milk and George Moscone in 1979. It was like the day Kennedy was shot for San Franciscans.
A hundred thousand or more gathered in the Castro that evening with candles, and we marched down Market Street to City Hall. Politicians and activists spoke, but the purpose of the meeting was the gathering and the crying together. Strangers hugged and cried on each others’ shoulders.
Then Joan Baez took the mike on the City Hall balcony, and sang Amazing Grace in the purest soaring a capella I’ve ever heard in my life. It was as if an angel had descended to give voice to all the sorrow and hope our hearts could hold. She mesmerized the huge crowd, and afterward we all felt visited by grace. It was one of the few truly spiritual experiences of my life.
OPOL, I hope you and Daniel bring home similar memories from DC. I’ve had the good fortune of meeting your amazing son, and am glad you’re taking him. We need his conscience in decades to come. Wish I could come the 2000 miles, but it’s not in the cards. Like others, I’ll be there with you in spirit.
~ a recent comment from my dear friend Dallasdoc
Joan Baez ~ Amazing Grace
Joan Baez ~ Where have all the flowers gone?
Bob Dylan & Joan Baez ~ Blowing in the wind
Joan Baez ~ Marching up to freedom land
From the depths of my soul and the bottom of my heart, thank you dear sweet angel Joan Baez.
P.S. Join us this Saturday, September 15th in Washington D.C. as we honor Joan’s spirit by marching against our runaway outlaw government! Kossacks are meeting up at the site of the National Christmas Tree on the ellipse (15th & E Street) beginning at 11:00 a.m. We’ll join the march at high noon.
Additional info. on rideshares, room and board, the march, etc. is available at Road2DC.