Peter Yarrow, performer and song writer, of the Peter, Paul and Mary folk trio, will perform and speak of his activism in the fields of tolerance, peace and equality.
Many issues have moved Peter Yarrow to commit his time and talent. Equal rights, peace, the environment, gender equality, homelessness, hospice care and education are among the many. All have utilized his skills as both a performer and an organizer.
Peter’s gift for songwriting has produced some of the most moving songs in the Peter, Paul & Mary repertoire including “Puff, the Magic Dragon,” “Day is Done,” “Light One Candle,” and “The Great Mandala.”
As have so many folk music performers, Peter has tried to use his music to inspire and bring people together to help create a more just and peaceful society. Through such efforts, beginning in the early 1960’s, the music of Peter, Paul and Mary became, for literally millions of people, the inspiration for their activism leading to a life-long commitment to advancing positive social/political change.
Very early in their career, Peter, Paul and Mary joined the Civil Rights Movement, which brought them to Washington in 1963 to sing at the historic march led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as the equally historic Selma-Montgomery march in 1965. Peter went on to produce and coordinate numerous events for the Peace/Anti-Vietnam War movement, including festivals at Madison Square Garden and Shea Stadium. These efforts culminated in his co-organizing the 1969 Celebration of Life, the now-famous March On Washington to end the war in Vietnam, in which a half-million people participated.
Yarrow is currently committed to what he considers to be his most meaningful undertaking to date. Called Operation Respect: “Don’t Laugh At Me”, this initiative is based on his passionate belief that music, with its power to build community and catalyze change, can be a powerful educational tool as well as a source of inspiration for children and educators alike. It employs character development curricula combined with music which are combined to help to create a climate of respect in schools across America and beyond. In Israel, in addition to reducing bullying and other such acts, 63% of the schools are using the “Don’t Laugh At Me” Program to reduce hatred, fear and alienation among students that increases greatly in the wake of military conflict and other painful acts of violence.
Peter believes that "We may not have achieved our dreams in the time frame that we once believed was possible, but the magnitude of what is yet to be achieved only confirms the crucial nature of our commitment. Knowing this, we cannot stop now."