A participant in this past weekend’s white supremacist rally in Charlottesville was photographed in a Johnny Cash t-shirt, and at some point, someone passed said photo to the children of the late country legend. Cash’s offspring–that’s Rosanne, Kathy, Cindy, Tara, and John Carter Cash–were not pleased by the association, as you might imagine. Last night, Rosanne Cash, an acclaimed musician in her own right, posted a joint statement with her siblings about the photo to Facebook. The kids stopped just short of saying their dad would have hated the neo-Nazis’ guts but that’s pretty much the sentiment they conveyed in their message. “To any who claim supremacy over other human beings, to any who believe in racial or religious hierarchy: we are not you,” the statement reads in part. “Our father, as a person, icon, or symbol, is not you.”
Read the full statement below.
A message from the children of Johnny Cash:
We were alerted to a video of a young man in Charlottesville, a self-proclaimed neo-Nazi, spewing hatred and bile. He was wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the name of Johnny Cash, our father. We were sickened by the association.
Johnny Cash was a man whose heart beat with the rhythm of love and social justice. 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. Along with our sister Rosanne, he was on the advisory board of an organization solely devoted to preventing gun violence among children. 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. The white supremacists and neo-Nazis who marched in Charlottesville are poison in our society, and an insult to every American hero who wore a uniform to fight the Nazis in WWII. Several men in the extended Cash family were among those who served with honor.
Our dad told each of us, over and over throughout our lives, ‘Children, you can choose love or hate. I choose love.’
We do not judge race, color, sexual orientation or creed. We value the capacity for love and the impulse towards kindness. We respect diversity, and cherish our shared humanity. We recognize the suffering of other human beings, and remain committed to our natural instinct for compassion and service.
To any who claim supremacy over other human beings, to any who believe in racial or religious hierarchy: we are not you. Our father, as a person, icon, or symbol, is not you. We ask that the Cash name be kept far away from destructive and hateful ideology.
We Choose Love.
John Carter Cash
August 16, 2017
‘Not one of us can rest, be happy, be at home, be at peace with ourselves, until we end hatred and division.’ Rep. John Lewis.
Not to worry, white supremacists: there’s plenty of musical options still available to you. We’re sure the members of Skrewdriver, Prussian Blue, or any number of completely limp and shitty neo-Nazi bands would be proud to see you rocking their gear.