JUST EARTH: Singing for Justice, Peace, and Sustainability on our one and only planet!
Singers like Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Holly Near and so many other great performers who sing about what they believe in and about what's going on in the world have always inspired me. In the 1970's, when enough people helped me realize that I had a good voice and could sing, I began using it to sing out in the same tradition as these beloved movement singers. With the help of friends along the way, I've enjoyed singing and leading songs at hundreds of gatherings since then, from labor picket lines to rallies for the homeless, from Occupy movement demonstrations to anti-war protests. Through it all, I've witnessed the important role that singing has in the long struggle for social justice. My most recent outlet for providing "music with a message" is with a group we call, "Just Earth." Jamie Fota, Len Webb, Diana Porter and I make up the group, with other musician friends stepping in now and then. Jamie, a fellow Quaker, is also a lead singer, songwriter and guitarist, who's resonant voice and energetic rhythms enliven audiences. She has recorded several albums, including "Out of the Silence" (https://www.amazon.com/Jamie-Fota/e/B000APN9C6) and "Willow Morning"with the group of the same name. (https://www.reverbnation.com/willowmorning) Len is a a former music teacher who plays trumpet, keyboards, harmonica and percussion, while also providing vocals ranging from bass to tenor(!), and Diana is an all around accomplished singer and musician, known in Cincinnati as a founding mother and influential leader of the MUSE, Cincinnati's Women's Choir, who frequently provides arrangements for our songs. Our first CD is due out in 2017!
Just Earth's recording of Paulette Meier's original song, "The Race to the Bottom," provided the soundtrack for this video montage. The song was written to protest the privatization of public sector jobs and the current attack on public employee unions in statehouses around the country. The video, produced by documentary filmmaker/activist Barbara Wolf, includes photos of public employees on the job and photos of protest rallies in Wisconsin and Ohio in 2011, when thousands gathered to oppose Republican legislation cutting unions' rights to bargain collectively for public workers.