Folk singer Pete Seeger died this week at the age of 94. He was a lifelong advocate for peace and justice, a tireless defender of the oppressed and a Unitarian Universalist. Responsible for so many great songs, including “If I Had a Hammer,” “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” and “Turn, Turn, Turn,” Seeger also helped popularize “We Shall Overcome” as a theme song for the Civil Rights movement. Most of all, he was a musical and social revolutionary who envisioned a better world for everyone.
Here are 20 reasons why Pete Seeger matters.
- Because the wealthiest nation in the world cuts food stamps.
- Because the most violent nation in the world uses war to impose peace.
- Because of voter restriction and campaign finance laws.
- Because of minimum wages and women’s wages.
- Because music changes lives.
- Because of “right-to-work” laws.
- Because of the National Rifle Association.
- Because of Freedom Industries.
- Because no human being is illegal.
- Because “this machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender.”
- Because our government monitors what books we read.
- Because education is not job training (watch “What Did You Learn in School Today?”).
- Because we are still fighting for reproductive justice.
- Because corporations are not people.
- Because freedom marches to its own beat.
- Because of violence against women, people of color, GLBT folk and the poor.
- Because one child in America is homeless, hungry, ill and hopeless.
- Because religion should be about Truth, Understanding and Love.
- Because we need to keep overcoming.
- Because this land was made for you and me.
(Adapted with gratitude from an article posted by Adam Weinstein on Gawker this week.)