CNN: Candlelight vigil in Tucson for victims of Saturday's shooting rampage.
And candles of whichever holiday of light you may have been marking in December, are lit in vigil, now . . .
Before we head into more on the news, below, we hope you had a chance to enjoy the holiday season with friends, family and communities, and to renew yourselves for the strength and resolve it looks like we will all need, to continue to work for peace & justice in 2011.
We closed out 2010 with a powerfully moving Solstice Concert that broke Syracuse Community Choir records with 750 in attendance. Our friends in activist-song, Francisco Herrera & Colleen Kattau, led "Yo Te Nombro (Libertad)" with the Choir that night (video here). Then, we returned to MD and celebrated the holidays by staying in one place--home.
Now, we're headed back out on the road for concerts this month in CT, VT, NJ, MA, IL, MI and next month in WI, MA/RI, OK, IA, IL, FL & GA.
Full back cover photo from "roots, rock & revolution." Love the Lomo effect!
Fri Jan 14 New London CT: Friday Night Folk at All Souls. We share the evening with friend, Geoff Kaufman, and his “Acoustic music . . . with a pinch of salt.” Get ready for three-part harmonies!
Sat Jan 15 Stratford CT: A winter house concert in Stratford. Come early for the benefit reception for UUCGB.
Sun Jan 16 "Radio with a View" on WMBR: Tune in online.
Sun Jan 16 Charlotte VT (State #24): House concert at the Macauley's, in the Burlington area!
Tue Jan 18 "In the Tradition" on WCUW: Listen online.
Fri Jan 21 Deptford NJ: Philadelphia area house concert dedicated to the memory of Lillian & George Willoughby: Quakers, lifelong activists and, as George used to say, “professional troublemakers.”
Sat Jan 22 Reading MA: We kick off the 2011 concert year at the Ivy Chord Coffee House. Come enjoy the beautiful acoustics at this wood-warm sanctuary.
Fri Jan 28 Evanston IL: We're excited to return to the Unitarian Church of Evanston! Premier tickets get you front row seats and a pre-concert reception.
Sat Jan 29 Chicago IL: We join host Rich Warren for Folkstage, an uninterrupted, one-hour live concert. Tune in online.
Sat Jan 30 Kalamazoo MI: We sing at the People's Church morning service and present a full concert performance in the evening!
AND, IN FEBRUARY:
Wed Feb 2 Milwaukee WI (TBD)
Fri Feb 4 Providence RI
Sat Feb 5 Tulsa OK
Fri Feb 11 Des Moines IA
Sat Feb 12-13 Moline IL (Quad Cities)
Sat Feb 16-17 Storm Lake IA
Fri Feb 25 Tallahassee FL
Sat Feb 26 Atlanta GA
Check out our Live page for performance details for all of our concerts.
Screenshot of Palin PAC Map from CREDOAction
Beyond "A Tragedy"
Last night on our facebook page, Sandy posted a link to CREDOAction's petition, "Tell Sarah Palin: Violent threats have consequences", and wrote, "this is beyond a tragedy, it's an outrage! speak out against hate-speech, hate-mongering and hate-maps, too."
We have all been aware of the climate of increasingly violent speech and imagery from the right wing and its "Tea Party," including:
--August '09's town hall meetings and rallies complete with guns and "It's Time to Water the Tree of Liberty" signs
--Sharron Angle's "Second Amendment remedies"
--Bill O'Reilly's demonization of Dr. George Tiller as "Tiller the Baby Killer". (See also, Rachel Maddow's special documentary, "The Assassination of Dr. Tiller").
--Sarah Palin's infamous "Take Back the 20" map, sighting the crosshairs of a gun over 20 Bluedog Democratc districts (including Rep. Gifford's), which Palin announced by tweeting, "Don't retreat. Instead -- reload!" (We would have given you a link to PalinPAC.org to see the map, but, the site was taken down hours after the shooting. Luckily, The Maddow Blog and Truth-Out.org still have the images.)
--Bob Beckel's call for the assassination of Julian Assange, on Fox Business
--And the more unseen hand of master manipulators like Dick Cheney, Dick Armey & Karl Rove.
Here's a view from Arizona activist, professor, Executive Director of Peace & Justice Studies Association, and our friend, Randall Amster in The Huffington Post:
Today's shooting of Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and a Federal Judge who had previously been the target of anti-immigrant protesters, among other victims, is a sobering reminder of the political climate that has been fostered here in Arizona. Back in July, I wrote about this developing "climate of fear" in an attempt to share these concerns:
"One of the unspoken tragedies and implicit intentions of Arizona's anti-immigrant law, SB 1070, is the promotion of a climate of fear among certain segments of the population. This fear-mongering strategy has been cooked up by the bill's leading proponents and most likely beneficiaries: the governor, right wing state legislators, and an unscrupulous sheriff who shall remain nameless.... Fostering an environment of racialized violence is the harsh reality of Arizona's drive toward legislated intolerance . . ."
Whether or not it turns out that the gunman in the Giffords shooting was politically motivated, the overall climate in which it occurred cannot be dismissed, and a recitation of some of the key background details is essential for a fuller understanding. For one, John M. Roll, the federal judge killed in the shooting, had been at the center of the state's complicated political battle over immigration, . . . that the building housing the Mexican-American Studies program at the University of Arizona was vandalized at almost the same time as the shootings occurred, and that Judge Roll had recently been assigned to hear the lawsuit challenging Arizona's new law (HB 2281) banning Ethnic Studies. (Read more.)
It's beyond time to defuse this powder-keg of a political climate, demand that hate-mongers are held accountable and call out violent speech wherever we hear it--whether from politicians and pundits or friends and family.
And to support the courage of people who speak out. Like Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik. Dubbed 'the anti-Joe Arpaio' Sheriff by aolnews.com, Dupnik said, "When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government. The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous." And, as quoted in a recent email from People for the American Way:
"We have become a very angry country, part of it very ugly. And that even though we have free speech in this country, constantly 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, making the people angry at government ... may benefit some party, but I think those people have to consider that they may have some responsibility when incidents like this occur and may occur in the future."
Now, Dupnik, himself, is coming under attack from right-wing and Fox News. Sign People for the American Way's letter of support for Dupnik here.
2010 - Looking Back
States, Homes & Videos
We began the year by launching our ambitious "50 States in 2010" Tour, in January, and, in March, revealed that the tour was--yup, you guessed it--our way of celebrating Pat's 50th birthday! As you can see from VT being listed as "State #24" we didn't get to the whole country in 2010 but we also hadn't planned on some other things coming up: like recording our song "T.E.A. (Taxed Enough Already?!), complete with "exuberant marching band accompaniment," in April and then, thanks to our "emma's revolutionary T.E.A. Partiers!", creating the full-blown vaudeville video extravaganza. Launched in July, the video has garnered nearly 7300 views!
We also hadn't anticipated taking time off the road to prepare to sell our house in MD and "really take our show on the road" by moving into a small, high-efficiency RV. Only to, "presto! change-o!", have those plans stopped in their tracks by a last-minute and end-of-the-season backout of the buyer. Still, thanks to all of you who responded to our version of the "good news, bad news, who can say" parable, we were able to fill in the gaps in our touring schedule and finish out the year with concerts in six states.
High camp in a snow storm at around 4700m on day 5 of Martina Navratilova Mt. Kilimanjaro Climb, from TimesUnion.com
"Kilimanjaro" Goes to Kilimanjaro
At three December shows, we sang our song, "Kilimanjaro" with a special dedication: our friend, environmental activist, and sports enthusiast, Linda Ann Burtis, and her husband were part of a group raising money for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation by climbing Kilimanjaro--with Martina Navratilova! Linda and David were older "by decades" than the Olympic athletes they climbed with and were affectionately called "bibi" and "babu"--"grandma" and "grandpa"--by the Tanzanian porters who led the trek.
As Linda emailed after she arrived home:
Our Kili climb turned into quite an ordeal, where Martina Navratilova could have died, and needed to be rescued. Six porters brought her down from the mountain during the night on a stretcher. The trail was bumpy and rocky and she needed oxygen--so it was not easy for her and her rescue team. She was met by an ambulance and rushed to the hospital.
A few hours later, another climber got altitude sickness and needed to descend.
We had unbelievable rain/snow every day/night, so we were all soaking wet and cold much of the time. Dave and I made it to summit camp (15,300 ft.) and decided not to join the final push to the top. We were with several Olympic athletes who summitted and met us at summit camp after their midnight ascent, looking totally wasted--so we knew that we could not have made the summit climb. We're okay with that and pleased that we stayed strong and fit to get to Barrafu Camp despite the extreme weather.
I had your Kilimanjaro song on my MP3 player and played it for Deo Gratias, one of our guides, who loved it so much, I gave him my MP3 player.
Since Martina's rescue made world headlines, the news stations here rushed to our house yesterday when we arrived home for stories. See link, where they played your song on the 5, 6 & 11 pm news!
Also, check out this wonderful video of Tanzanian porters singing their own Kilimanjaro song!
2010 marked the passing of two dear friends:
Art Kamell, retired labor lawyer, activist and husband of Connie Hogarth. Connie & Art worked together on issues of local politics, peace, civil rights and the environment with many local and national groups and through The Connie Hogarth Center for Social Action at Manhattanville College. We were married at Connie & Art's nearly 10 years ago and, through the years, stayed with them when we were in the area. We will miss Art for his love of music, chocolate and a good joke.
Lifetime activist and "Granny for Peace," Jessie Cagan, about whom the Village Voice wrote, "Right up until her death on December 5, you would have spotted Jessie Cagan, one of the city's great fighting spirits, at any number of rallies for righteous causes." Since her high school and college years in Ohio, Pat has known Jessie and her family, including daughter, Leslie (longtime leader of United for Peace & Justice), and son, Steve (award-winning activist photographer). Jessie loved our music and we loved her.
And in early 2011, Judy Bonds, Executive Director of Coal River Mountain Watch (above). The "god-mother of the anti-mountaintop removal movement", Judy received the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize and the Sierra Club's Emma Goldman Award for her work. We first met Judy at the "Iraq and Appalachia: Connecting the Dots" conference at Wheeling Jesuit University in 2007.
Coal River Mountain Watch co-director Vernon Haltom wrote:
One of Judy's last acts was to go on a speaking trip, even though she was not feeling well, shortly before her diagnosis. I believe, as others do, that Judy's years in Marfork holler, where she remained in her ancestral home as long as she could, subjected her to Massey Energy's airborne toxic dust and led to the cancer that wasted no time in taking its toll.
. . . [W]e will remember Judy as one of the great heroes of our movement. . . While we grieve, let’s remember what she said, “Fight harder.”
Especially as we begin a new year, we thank you for all you do in the world and for your support of us and our music this past year. We loved seeing so many of you in 2010.
Click below to forward this enewsletter to music- and justice-lovers in your world, so that we can continue to widen the circle and expand the constellation.
We look forward to singing with you, wherever you are, in 2011!
Pat Humphries & Sandy O