After learning that her father’s name was seen on the T-shirt of “a young man in Charlottesville, a self-proclaimed neo-Nazi, spewing hatred and bile” while participating in last weekend’s violent march in Virginia, Rosanne Cash has shared a statement on behalf of herself and her siblings on her Facebook page.
“Johnny Cash was a man whose heart beat with the rhythm of love and social justice,” she writes. “He received humanitarian awards from, among others, the Jewish National Fund, B’nai Brith and the United Nations. He championed the rights of Native Americans, protested the war in Vietnam, was a voice for the poor, the struggling and the disenfranchised, and an advocate for the rights of prisoners.”
In 1964, Johnny released the album “Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indians,” drawing attention to the difficulties faced by Native Americans at the time. In 1978, he received the United Nations Humanitarian Award for his charity work. He also wrote a Christian novel, “Man in White,” in 1986 and was a frequent performer at Billy Graham’s Crusades. In 1990, an audio version of Johnny reading the New Testament was released.
The statement goes on to say, “His pacifism and inclusive patriotism were two of his most defining characteristics. He would be horrified at even a casual use of his name or image for an idea or a cause founded in persecution and hatred.”
“Our dad told each of us, over and over throughout our lives, ‘Children, you can choose love or hate. I choose love,’ ” Rosanne wrote on behalf of her family.
The statement closes with the family asking that Johnny’s name “be kept far away destructive and hateful ideology.”
Johnny isn’t the only member of Cash family who has stood up for their strong beliefs. Rosanne serves on the board of the Center to Prevent Youth Violence. Her song, “Jim and George,” has also been utilized to help fund LGBT, AIDS and youth programs.