Songs Written and Performed by Parkland, Fla., High School Students and Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul & Mary to be Part of Livestream Call for Unity in COVID-19 Fight

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Survivors of 2018 shooting tragedy use music to express messages of hope and inspiration, and advocate for action to address society’s most-urgent challenges; part of The Call to Unite, an event starting tonight that’ll virtually bring together a host of luminaries and thought leaders, including former President George W. Bush, Yo-Yo Ma, Tim Shriver, Oprah Winfrey, Quincy Jones and Deepak Chopra.

It’s been five decades since “music of conscience” has played such a pivotal activist role. In the 1960s, songs by Bob Dylan; Joan Baez; Pete Seeger; Peter, Paul & Mary; and others were the match that lit the fire that drove the movements for civil rights, peace, and race and gender equality.

WHO:
Legendary songwriter and performer Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul & Mary) and six musically gifted Parkland, Fla., students who survived the Feb. 2018 tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

WHAT:
A 12-minute performance of four songs – two written and sung by the Parkland high school students and two classic folksongs sung by Peter Yarrow:

  • "This Land Is Your Land," written by Woody Guthrie, and "Puff the Magic Dragon," written and performed by Peter Yarrow.
  • "The Children Will Lead The Way" and "Shine," written and performed by students Sawyer Garrity, Andrea Pena, Marisol Martinez, Sofia Rothenberg, Ariana Otero and Payton Francis.
  • Under the mentorship of Peter Yarrow and 12 other songwriters who traveled to Parkland just three months after the tragedy, the students wrote the songs to memorialize the teachers and classmates who lost their lives, and transform their own feelings of anger, sadness and fear into hope, perseverance and action.

WHEN:
The Parkland Project performance will air tomorrow, Sat., May 2 (in the 9–10 am ET window). The taped segment (https://vimeo.com/411541032) reflects a joint, collaborative effort by the students, despite performing in physically disparate locations. The Call to Unite event will air continuously for 24 hours, starting tonight, Friday, May 1, at 8 pm ET.

WHERE:
UNITE’s website (https://unite.us), Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other major platforms (@TheCalltoUnite; #answerthecall).

WHY:
In an unexpected but powerful choice, The Call to Unite organizers invited six high school students from Parkland, Fla., to perform – as a unique opportunity to share their songs in the call to unite Americans in the fight against COVID-19 and emerge from the crisis as a more inclusive, humane and caring society.

The Parkland Project is but one chord of the rising musical voice that’s spawning student-led movements across the country, advocating for remedies to society’s most-pressing issues -- from gun violence, gender inequality, hunger, and bigotry to climate change, dwindling natural resources, and limited access to affordable health care.

It’s been five decades since “music of conscience” has played such a pivotal activist role. In the 1960s, songs by Bob Dylan; Joan Baez; Pete Seeger; Peter, Paul & Mary; and others were the match that lit the fire that drove the movements for civil rights, peace, and race and gender equality.

Some 50 years later, music is having similar societal impact – morphing tragedy and heartbreak into motivation for young adults to express their voices and help shape the issues critically important to their futures. This “music movement” is happening far and wide. In Parkland, Fla., Emma Gonzalez and David Hogue lead a growing number of Floridians – young and old alike -- pushing for gun control. In Sweden, Greta Thunberg has become the epicenter of the global effort to reverse climate change.

The Parkland Project also produced a 10-song album, “Wake Up, America,” slated for release later this year. Proceeds will fund two student-led Parkland non-profits: Change the Ref, which backs political candidates in favor of gun control, and Shine MSD (Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School), which provides psychological and arts-based therapy to those struggling with grief and trauma in the aftermath of the tragedy.

“Through music, the students are helping each other heal and express their humanity on a level no other communications medium could duplicate,” said Manuel Oliver, the esteemed artist whose murals honor his son Joaquin, who was killed in the shooting. “Though the music emanated from tragedy, the songs are messages of hope and inspiration to rally Americans in reclaiming the moral high ground, and restoring kindness, respect and concern for one another.”

For more information, contact:
Sean Healy, Healy Corporate Communications
sean@healycorp.com
201-857-2520 or 201-218-2039/cell

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