Friday, July 15, 2011

Joan Baez

Awesome Woman of the Day is Joan Baez, (b 1941) Joan Baez is a singer who possesses one of the most incredibly beautiful voices of our time. She was a full fledged member of the 60s folk movement. She introduced Bob Dylan to audiences (and was romantically involved with him for several years) and and influenced singers such as Emmylou Harris and Bonnie Raitt.

This very talented woman throughout her career gave unselfishly of her time and resources to causes she believed in.

Her first act of civil disobedience was in high school when she refused to leave her classroom for an air raid drill, believing the bomb scares were government propaganda. She was also active in the Free Speech Movement at UC Berkeley.

In the 1950s after hearing Martin Luther King speak about civil rights and social justice, and the nonviolent movement, was so moved that she marched with Dr. King and demonstrated with him at many civil rights demonstrations including the march from Selma to Montgomery.

She performed “We Shall Overcome” at the 1963 March On Washington. Her recording of “Birmingham Sunday” was used in spike Lee’s “4 Little Girls”

In 1966 the worked with Cesar Chavez for the migrant farm workers and preformed at a benefit on their behalf.

In the anti-war movement Ms Baez was a vocal and active supporter. She advocated withholding taxes used for war and withheld sixty percent of her own. She founded the Institute for the Study of Nonviolence and encouraged draft resistance. Her husband David Harris went to prison for resisting the draft.

Joan held a free concert at the Washington Monument in 1967 protesting the war. It was attended by 30,000 and opposed by the DAR. She marched and demonstrated in many anti-war protests, ending with the “War Is Over” celebration in 1975. When she visited North Viet Nam in ’72 to deliver Christmas mail to POWs and was distressed at the level of human rights violations. Unlike some on the left at that time, she organized a full page advertisement of those atrocities. Ms Baez has been a staunch critic of human rights violations of countries on both left and right. In Chile, Brazil and Argentina she was prevented from performing and subjected to death threats. She has traveled the world bringing food and medicine to troubled regions.

Joan has been a fierce advocate for Gay and Lesbian rights since the late 70s. As in her other causes, she has appeared and organized benefits for them.

In 2006 Joan received the Distinguished Leadership Award from the Legal Community Against Violence for her lifetime of work against violence.

Joan Baez has been and continues to bring light to dark places, and, by the way, continues singing.

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