This week, Operation Respect would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to Bethany Yarrow, who once again has touched us with her extraordinary musical talent and her giving spirit!
It all began with a song…
In 1997, Bethany took her father, Peter Yarrow’s, hand and brought him to hear Steve Seskin sing “Don’t Laugh at Me” at the Threadgill Theatre at the Kerrville Folk Festival. Bethany had told her dad that, at the campfire the night before, the song had brought everyone to tears for reasons that she believed were perfectly aligned with what Peter, Paul and Mary had always stood for and believed in, and she was right.
Not long after, the trio recorded the song “Don’t Laugh at Me” which set in motion Peter’s determined effort to reach out to experts to help him create the Don’t Laugh at Me classroom-based curriculum. Don’t Laugh at Me, adapted from materials by Morningside Center for Social Responsibility (formerly Educators for Social Responsibility Metropolitan Area) and Engaging Schools (formerly Educators for Social Responsibility), became the foundational basis for Operation Respect.
Lift Us Up
Today, we are so pleased to share a new, powerful and moving video and song called Lift Us Up, written by Peter and Bethany (Bethany sings the lead). This message of hope and love is needed now more than ever in these difficult times and we know it will inspire you as it has us. Please share it broadly!
When listening to and viewing this song, you will hear and see Bethany movingly transmit the truth, beauty and prophetic message of this song, which is characteristic of her performances as a dedicated singer/activist.
Bethany’s music has been deeply influenced by the spirituals and ceremonial music of the Americas, and their African root traditions. Like her father, she is a gifted singer and activist, whose charismatic stage presence stems from the intense passion she feels for her advocacies.
Bethany’s causes are many, but these days she is primarily focused on Earth Activism including stopping fracking, extreme energy extraction, and pipelines that traverse indigenous sacred sites, endanger rivers and water tables and are spiraling the planet into global climate chaos. Bethany co-organized the Black Hills Unity Concert, an annual tradition now in its fourth year, which is a gathering honoring Native musicians and activists and calling for the return of the sacred Black Hills to Lakota/Nakota/Dakota tribes as per the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty. Bethany’s daughter, Valentina (age 9), is the apple of Bethany’s eye and is also a singer whose solo voice on the Peter-penned song “Where Are My Rainbows” attests to a lineage carried on.
How lucky are we that Bethany has shared her extraordinary gift with Operation Respect since our very birth? She is a true member of our Operation Respect family by blood and heart who, over our 18-year existence, has served as a musical ambassador for our efforts. We are so grateful for all the times she has performed and spoken on our behalf.
Thank you, Bethany, for lifting us up and continuing to move and inspire us all to carry it on!