By Lauren Shelburne
On January 27, folk artist Joan Baez will celebrate her 75th birthday by launching an 18-city North American tour with Amnesty International with a star-studded performance at the Beacon Theatre in New York City.
The performance will celebrate both Baez’s 50-year career with songs from every decade, and also bring awareness to the issue of mass incarceration of minorities in the United States. Audiences will have the opportunity to support the cause at shows with the help of Amnesty International workers.
Amnesty International works to bring justice and human rights to those all around the world while educating the public about these issues. The organization won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1977 for its contributions to bring peace and justice to the world. Baez began her work with the renowned non-profit in the 1970s after meeting Ginetta Sagan, a torture survivor and Bay Area activist.
Margaret Huang, interim executive director for Amnesty International USA, is excited to continue working with Beaz. “We are excited to continue our longstanding collaboration with Joan and look forward to welcoming her fans to join Amnesty International and take action on human rights issues here in the United States,” Huang said. “The United States is the leading jailer in the world. Together, we can change that.”
Baez took part in the Conspiracy of Hope tour in 1986 as a featured performer and was a special guest in the 1988 Human Rights Now! tour. On May 21, 2015 Baez was honored alongside Ai Weiwei with the “Ambassador of Conscience Award” for their leadership in the human rights field.
“I am pleased once again to be joining forces with Amnesty International, this time on the critical and urgent issue of racial and ethnic disparities of incarceration, right here in the United States,” Baez said.
Baez’s birthday performance will be recorded and produced as part of the Great Performances series on PBS and will feature notable performances from artists including Paul Simon, Emmylou Harris, Jackson Browne, Mary Chapin Carpenter and more. Baez will then travel throughout the eastern region of the United States and conclude the tour in Buffalo, NY on March 26.