On December 14 at the Beacon Theatre in New York City, musicians including Jackson Browne, Common and Pete Seeger will play "Bring Leonard Peltier Home in 2012," a benefit for imprisoned Anishinabe-Lakota activist Leonard Peltier. Billed as "an evening of music and learning," the event will be hosted by Harry Belafonte and Seeger. Peltier, anAIM leader and activist, was found guilty in 1977 of the murders of two FBI agents in a 1975 incident on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Peltier's imprisonment has been condemned for decades by Native activists, and Amnesty International listed his legal difficulties in its "Unfair Trials" category in its 2010 annual report on justice in the United States. To learn more about Peltier, visit whoisleonardpeltier.info.
Rapper Common, who is hailed as a conscious and thoughtful artist working in a genre maligned as crude, was a late addition. His presence on the same stage as Seeger and Belafonte, two of the music industry's most seasoned social activists, is bound to bring awareness of Peltier's story to a larger and younger audience.
Indian country will also be represented at the event, with performances by two-time Grammy winner Bill Miller (Stockbridge-Munsee band of Mohican Indians), NAMMY winner Jennifer Kreisberg (Tuscarora), Margo Thunderbird (Shinnecock), the Oneida Wisconsin Singers, and the Eagleheart Singers.
The event will feature several speakers, perhaps most prominently Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, a former boxer who endured a 22-year odyssey of trials and incarceration for murder before being freed in 1985, his conviction overturned. Carter's story was the subject of a 1999 film starring Denzel Washington. Author Peter Matthiesson, actor Peter Coyote, and Former Amnesty International President Jack Healey will also speak.