Graham Nash On the Importance of Fighting Injustice: 'We Are Better Than This' - Billboard
by Melinda Newman, Courtesy of Billboard Magazine
As political tensions rise ahead of the midterm elections, outspoken artists like Graham Nash are planning events focused on social activism
As the government struggles to reunite migrant families separated at the U.S./Mexico border as a result of President Donald Trump's zero tolerance policy, musicians are coming together to support the families seeking refuge.
Among the initiatives is The Lantern Tour: Concerts for Migrant and Refugee Families, a five-date outing starting Oct. 23 that will feature artists such as Graham Nash, Emmylou Harris, Jackson Browne and Mary Chapin Carpenter, which will benefit the Women's Refugee Commission.
Founded in 1989, the WRC supports the rights of women and children displaced by conflict and crisis. Funds from the concerts, which will begin exactly two weeks before the Nov. 6 midterm elections in the United States, will go toward ending family separation and detention.
Signing on was an easy call for Nash, who has a long history of activism. "In my heart, and as a father, the thought that children of any age are being separated from their parents or guardians under great emotional stress, panic and fear is abhorrent to me," says Nash, 76. "We are better than this, and we must stand up against this sad affair."
The tour also reunites the rock legend with like-minded artists, many of whom he has known for decades. "I respect them all, and I'm delighted to have been asked to get involved and raise funds and awareness of this human problem and to help in some small way," he says. "Let our voices be heard that our humanity is at stake."
A number of acts have not only spoken out against the family separations but also aligned with organizations to help. In June, John Legend and wife Chrissy Teigen donated $288,000 to the ACLU to protest the border action. Singer-songwriter Mario Domm of duo Camila released the single "Sueño Americano," with all proceeds going to immigrant centers on the U.S.-Mexico border. Likewise, proceeds of Gaby Moreno and Van Dyke Parks' "The Immigrants" will go to CARECEN, while Jesse & Joy are working with UnidosUS to raise awareness, which includes using their single and video "Un Besito Más." Los Tigres del Norte and Alejandro Fernández have joined with Dream Big Nevada to invite Dreamers to every stop of their U.S. arena tour.
Nash has some thoughts for artists who are unsure of how to start giving back, regardless of the cause. "The only advice I might give is to follow your heart and your intuitions," he says. "Your life is made up of the choices you'll make. Choose the ones that satisfy your heart and soul. You instinctively know what's right and what's wrong. Choose wisely."
Leila Cobo contributed to this story.
This article originally appeared in the Aug 4. issue of Billboard.