Activism

CELEBRATING THE LIFE OF TOM HAYDEN: A COMMITTED MAN

on March 2, 2017 No comments

REMEMBERING TOM HAYDEN

Tom died last October surrounded by people who loved him. For the last 4 months, Tom’s widow Barbara Williams, Troy Garity, my son with Tom, and I have been working together to create a memorial that honored and celebrated Tom’s 6 decades of commitment to peace, justice and democracy. 

In the course of preparing the memorial, I reread many of his books and speeches, watched films, news footage and interviews of Tom that Troy and Barbara assembled and read letters that friends and colleagues of his were sending in about the impact Tom had on their lives. And I was able to see with even more clarity than when he and I were together what an extraordinary life of dedication he lived and what a lasting impact he had on countless lives. 

From a working class family in Royal Oak, Michigan, a student and alter boy in the arch conservative Father Coughlin’s Temple of the Little Flower, Tom became editor of the prestigious Michigan Daily and, after reporting on the new Free Speech Movement in Berkeley in the early 60’s, the civil rights bus boycotts and sit ins in the South, he stepped out from behind his notepad and became an organizer and builder of movements. He was able to whisper to me the day before he died that seeing people willing to die for their beliefs changed him forever. And it was ‘forever.’ He never stopped trying to make Democracy a reality.

We held the memorial at UCLA’s Royce Hall on Sunday February 19. People came from all over the country who had been in the trenches with Tom, some from the very beginning. There were people who were part of creating the seminal Port Huron Statement on which Tom was the lead writer and editor— the document that laid out in beautiful, even soulful, language an entirely new vision of what a Democratic society would look like. It was a profound departure from the doctrinaire, ideological view of the “old Left” and it brought hope and inspiration to a new generation of young activists who came together as SDS: Students for a Democratic Society. To illustrate the cultural impact that the Port Huron Statement had, we were able to get clips from “Mad Men” and the film, “The Big Lebowski” in which characters talked about the document and how “cool” it was. 

Two of the Chicago 7 defendants, Rennie Davis and John Froines, were at the memorial. 

Troy, Barbara and I had the speakers arranged in chronological order so that one could see the entire sweep of Tom’s life as an organizer/strategist/movement builder/writer/journalist/State Senator. 

Troy, edited a wonderful opening video called “Who the Hell is Tom Hayden?” and then started everything off with an emotional, funny and welcoming speech that really set the perfect tone. 

A beautifully emotional Alfre Woodard read from Tom’s memoir, Ed Begley spoke about Tom’s commitment to the environment and how it changed his life, ending by saying that he named his daughter Hayden in Tom’s honor. 

Bobby Kennedy Jr spoke about Tom’s Irishness and why the Kennedy family asked Tom to be one of the pall bearers at Robert Kennedy’s funeral. Kevin DeLeon, President Pro Tem of the California Senate, talked about what Tom accomplished as a member of the state legislature for 14 years when term limits forced his retirement. Delores Huerta spoke. Bonnie Raitt, a longtime friend and supporter of Tom’s, sang “Change is Gonna Come.” 

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Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Jason Mraz and Joel Rafael Donate over $85k to Standing Rock

on December 14, 2016 No comments

Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Jason Mraz, Joel Rafael and John Trudell’s Bad Dog donated over $85k to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe this week from proceeds and donations from their November 27 benefit concert at the Prairie Knights Pavilion in Fort Yates, ND, seven miles from Oceti Sakowin Camp.

Bonnie Raitt, Nick of Time song by Bonnie Raitt (Standing Rock Reservation, 27 November 2016)

Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Brown Thing Called Love song by John Hiatt (Standing Rock, 27 November 2016)

Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Joel Rafael, Jason Mraz I Am a Patriot (Standing Rock, 27 Nov 2016)

Jackson Browne, rap and Take it Easy with Bonnie Raitt (Standing Rock, 27 November 2016)

Bonnie Raitt with Val McCullum Well Well Well song by Dylan O Keefe (Standing Rock, 27 Nov 2016)

Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne Angel From Montgomery song by John Prine (Standing Rock, 27 Nov 2016)

Joel Rafael, Jackson Browne, Bad Dog, et alii Rockin the Rez (Standing Rock, 27 November 2016)

Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt World in Motion (Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, 27 November 2016)

The benefit concert sold over 1,500 tickets to the general public and provided 800 free tickets to the Standing Rock community and water protectors. In addition to the money raised for the Tribe, Browne, Raitt and Rafael spent the day before the show at the Oceti Sakowin camp, donating over 500 blankets to those staying for the winter.

Bonnie Raitt with Faith Spotted Eagle and family at the Oceti Sakowin camp. Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Jason Mraz and donated $85k to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

“What an incredible honor it was to get to experience the powerful coming together of so many thousands united in spirit and commitment to nonviolence, to protect the water and sacred sites,” said Raitt in a press release.

“Arriving at the Oceti Sakowin Camp, with tipis, yurts and campers stretched as far as the eye could see, remains one of my life’s most memorable experiences. Meeting with the tribal elders, taking part in sacred ceremonies, witnessing the incredible work and coordination to provide food, sanitation, security, schooling, medical care and spiritual sustenance to those thousands who have been in the camps and on the line since the summer was incredible. I was filled with such great respect and admiration,” Raitt said.

Chairman Dave Archambault II’s family join Jackson and Bonnie at Oceti Sakowin camp: Betty Archambault, Joel Rafael, Dave Archambault, Sr., Bonnie Raitt, Donna Archambault Rogers and Jackson Browne. © Jackson Browne

“We hope the decision to halt construction will prevail in the New Year, but I know the people taking a stand there will continue their fight. We are committed to moving away from our dependence on fossil fuels and into a safer, more job-intensive green energy future. In the meantime, the resilience, strength and courage of all those at Standing Rock will continue to inspire my commitment to nonviolence and the power of people coming together to impact social change,” she said.

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A Love Letter To My Other Woman

on July 30, 2016 No comments

Joe Galliani

by Joe Galliani, aka the Creative Greenius

This is my love letter to Bonnie Raitt – the other woman in my life.

I am here in Santa Barbara with Deb, celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary, having driven up the coast 100 miles from our home in Redondo Beach to see Bonnie play at the Santa Barbara Bowl.

Bonnie doesn’t know I’m here. I didn’t let her know I was coming. Didn’t even send her a text or leave a voicemail.

Even if I had it wouldn’t have made any difference. She wouldn’t care, believe me. How could she? Bonnie Raitt doesn’t know me. She doesn’t know I’m here to celebrate our 35th anniversary.

She doesn’t know that on my birthday next month it will be the 36th anniversary of the day in 1980 I proposed to Debra at a Bonnie Raitt concert at the Universal Ampitheatre. Not just any Bonnie concert – the one with Sippie Wallace!

Bonnie doesn’t know that six years earlier, Deb helped produce a performance Bonnie did at the Kiva while Deb was a college student at Michigan State in 1974. Or that the poster from that gig at the MSU Kiva hung proudly in Deb’s Seal Beach apartment when I first met her.

Bonnie has no way of knowing she was the indelible and non-stop soundtrack for my earliest years in California, as a 20-year-old seeking movie screenwriting fame and fortune in Hollywood.

It was 1977 and I was living on Romaine Avenue off of Vine, between Melrose and Santa Monica, in the gritty low income side of Tinseltown. I roomed with my screenwriting partner who had 4 cassette tapes and a stereo tape deck.

Two of those cassettes were Bonnie’s first two albums and songs like Women Be Wise” “Finest Loving Man” “Big Road” “Give It Up Or Let Me Go” “I Know” “Love Me Like A Man and You Got To Really Know How were not only giving me a lesson in the blues, but were also preparing me to appreciate and cherish strong, talented, independent women, who can and will give as good as they get. Just like the one I fell in love with and married 35 years ago.

So maybe it’s no surprise that I have spent the last 39 years choosing to work with and befriend exactly those kind of women – in every area of my life. Or that today at 58, the vast majority of my closest friends and colleagues are almost exclusively women I admire, respect and want to spend my time with.

I know Bonnie wouldn’t take the credit for any of that. How could she? We’ve never talked about it.

Just as we’ve never discussed how much I always loved watching Bonnie sing with her father, Broadway legend, John Raitt. They sang duets at almost every Los Angeles area concert she played for years. The joy they shared filled the hearts of all who heard them. And they meant something uniquely special to me.

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