Saturday, September 26th, 2015 was an epic day to continue the quest for peace in our world. The message doesn’t get more direct or simple.
NO MORE HURTING PEOPLE.
That message resonated with me the first time I saw the iconic picture of Martin Richard holding up his sign. And of course I was also taken with the wise and innocent face of a little eight year old boy…as was the world.
Two years ago, I wrote a blog about a song I wrote in tribute of Martin Richard, in hopes to give the Richard family a little comfort. But also, because, if I hadn’t done anything, I would blow a circuit over the insanity that occured during the 2013 Boston Marathon.
In short, my hopes were to raise enough money with proceeds of downloads of my song, “Martin” to have a bronze statue erected of Martin. I called my friend, acclaimed portrait artist David Wells Roth, to ask him to recommend a sculptor. He said, Victoria Guerina is amazing!
While speaking with Victoria, I said, “It has to be a life size bronze figure of Martin holding his sign!” She got it, right away.
I called her and said, “That’s it!”
Well, the money from the downloads could barely cover a cover for a bronze statue. (In fact, I think I was dellusional believing that enough people still download to pay for music.) So I called David Wells Roth, again, and asked if he would be willing to paint a portrait for the family with the little funds I had raised. He said, he didn’t want anything. David’s sister was murdered at a young age, and he knew what that kind of loss was like. So he donated his time and talent and heart. (I insisted on paying for materials.) I was floored by his generosity.
Then eighteen months later, I received a call from Bill Richard, the father of Martin. The feeling was beyond words when he told me that his family was not only touched by the song and David’s portrait, but he also loved the little model of Vicky’s sculpture.
Fast forward…Bridgewater State University is erecting the Martin Richard Institute for Social Justice. (Bill and Denise Richard graduated and met there.) The ceremony was held yesterday, and although the materials were covered for the bronze, Victoria spent five months completing the statue, gifting her time, talent and heart, as well. I am floored by her generosity.
HERE IS THE PORTION OF THE PROGRAM WITH VICTORIA AND ME.
And I am grateful for the honor of singing my song for the Richard Family at the ceremony. Their adorable daughter Jane, also sang in the St. Ann Choir.
And although the speeches by the President of Bridgewater State, Frederick Clark, Mayor Marty Walsh, Dr. Durgin Jr, Dr. Dana Mohler-Faria, and lastly and especially, the father of Martin, Bill Richard, were absolutely moving and inspiring, leaving not a dry eye in the house…I imagined what the ceremony would have been like without music; without the statue; without art.
And there in the epicenter of it all, was the precious statue of Martin Richard, holding up his…art! His masterpiece! NO MORE HURTING PEOPLE.
I had asked Bill Richard, before I spoke and performed, how the sign had come about. He told me it was created during a school class, where the teacher assigned the students to make a sign to hold, as they were going to a peaceful protest march for social justice. He thought it was during the time of Trayvon Martin’s death.
When I wrote the song, I wondered what Martin would have wanted to be when he grew up, a fireman or an astronaut? But now it is clear to me that he would have been an artist…and an activist, with his art. And he still is.
I cannot thank the Richard Family enough for including us to share our art. We feel so honored to be a part of this healing process and Martin’s important message.
I also had a brief conversation with President Frederick Clark, and was happy to learn that Bridgewater State University has great music and art programs. I also applaud their dedication of The Martin Richard Institute of Social Justice.
In conclusion, I am so proud of our collaboration between artists Victoria Guerina, David Wells Roth, and Martin Richard. And I dedicate this blog to all artists trying to make a difference. The world needs art. And art needs to be supported by the world.
And although all of the above is positive, and we do our best to better really bad situations…the bottom line is, an 8 year old boy was taken from this earth, and no statue will ever fill that hole in the hearts. I am so sorry for the loss of Martin Richard. But I am inspired by the strength of the Richard family, and Bill’s words at his speech…”be kind.”
Please spread Martin’s message all over the world. (The apple does not fall far from the tree.)
NO MORE HURTING PEOPLE.
To download “Martin”, click here.
And I’d also like to share my favorite picture of the day of Martin’s remarkable and brave sister, Jane.