2021 Humanitarian of the Year
Bestselling author might be the next place we could start since Cash made the New York Times Bestsellers List for her memoir, Composed. She’s also written countless essays, articles, and prose appearing in The New York Times, Rolling Stone Magazine, and Oxford American Publications, among many others over the years. Roseanne has even authored one children’s book as well as several other book titles.
One might next naturally think of her as a mother and a wife, while of course, many of us remember her most as a daughter of American Rock n’ Roll.
But people are much less likely to equate the name Roseanne Cash with the word Humanitarian despite the fact that she’s always been active, using her voice wherever she felt it would do the most good.
Many are unaware—if not surprised—of how tirelessly Cash has worked throughout her career against gun violence.
Chances are if one were to research Rosanne Cash and gun reform, one would find dozens of essays, articles, and interviews that leave no question as to where Cash stands on gun control, often leaving herself and her family as open targets for gun enthusiasts. But, despite the fear, Cash has carried on sharing her message telling the Associated Press in an interview in 2017, “A lot of times I feel I don’t have the courage, but I say it anyway. Because I cannot … sit here and watch children being slaughtered when they go to school. It’s wrong. It’s immoral.”
And say it she did. That same year, following the Las Vegas mass shooting during which 59 were killed and more than 500 people were hurt at a country music concert, Cash published an Op-Ed in The New York Times, urging other Country musicians to come out and stand up to the N.R.A. The article made waves across the music industry and earned responses from publications such as Billboard Magazine, Pitchfork, and Rolling Stone Magazine.
The following year, Cash was presented with the 2018 Spirit of Americana Free Speech Award by the Americana Music Association in partnership with the First Amendment Center for consistently using her voice to “speak her truth” throughout her career. In addition, thanks to her many contributions to art and culture, Cash has been awarded an honorary doctorate from the Berklee College of Music, a Smithsonian Ingenuity Award for the Performing Arts, and the 61st Edward MacDowell Medal.
On March 31st of 2021, Cash released her latest powerful new single “The Killing Fields” which is “a reckoning with the dark legacy of southern lynching” according to the singer’s website. In a statement, Cash said, “A few years of my own personal reckoning with painful issues of race, racism, privilege, reconciliation, and individual responsibility led up to the moment in the summer of 2020, when finally, no one could avert their eyes from the truth of white privilege in America, and the damage and sorrow caused by systematic racism. I wrote “The Killing Fields” in that summer,” explained Cash. “All that came before us is not who we are now.
As if to underscore this statement, Cash released the single on April 9th, 2021, on a limited-edition 7″ vinyl with all proceeds from the sales to benefit the Arkansas Peace and Justice Memorial Movement, an educational online memorial to commemorate the victims of lynching in the State of Arkansas in collaboration with the Equal Justice Initiative, Just Communities of Arkansas, and Coming to the Table.
The song was paired with Cash’s single, “Crawl into the Promised Land” which was released in the Fall of 2020 leading up to the U.S. Presidential Race. The song speaks of the resilience of the human spirit.
Limited Edition signed copies of “The Killing Fields” are still available at the Rosanne Cash store.
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