We are pleased to announce that we will be honoring singer, songwriter, and human rights activist Joan Baez with our Justice in the Arts Award at our 26th Annual Awards Dinner.
Joan Baez made her major performance debut at the 1959 Newport Folk Festival. A stunning soprano, Joan’s natural vibrato lent a taut, nervous tension to everything she sang. Yet even as a then 18-year-old, her repertoire reflected a different sensibility from her peers. In the traditional songs she mastered, there was an acknowledgment of the human condition, undoubtedly influenced by her Quaker upbringing.
For over five decades, as a singer, nonviolent activist, and humanitarian, Joan has kept her pact with the spirit of her voice. At times when it was neither safe nor fashionable, Joan put herself on the line countless times, and her life’s work was mirrored in her music. She marched on the front line of the civil rights movement with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; organized resistance to the Vietnam War; and helped bring the Free Speech Movement into the spotlight. She marched with the Irish Peace People; inspired Vaclav Havel in his fight for a Czech Republic; helped established a fledgling organization called Amnesty International; and stood in the fields with Cesar Chavez and the migrant farmworkers; and she continues to fight for the abolition of capital punishment.
Her recent honors include her introduction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (2017), Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award (2015), the ASCAP Centennial Award (2014), and the NARAS (Grammy®) Lifetime Achievement Award (2007). She is the author of two autobiographical books: Daybreak (1968) and And A Voice To Sing With (1987). Her latest studio recording is Grammy nominated Day After Tomorrow (2008).
Joan Baez at the 2016 Awards Dinner
Those who attended the 2016 Annual Awards Dinner will undoubtedly remember Joan’s a cappella performance of “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” which was an especially touching moment that stood out from an already moving evening. Joan attended to present the 2016 Justice in the Arts Award to her dear friend and fellow artist, Jackson Browne.
Ms. Baez joins Sen. Bernie Sanders, Judy Clarke, and Speedy Rice as an honoree for this star-studded event. Additional appearances, including surprise guests, Special Recognition Awards, and live entertainment will be announced.