I Met Peter Yarrow
Trip Start Mar 04, 2007
34Trip End Jun 15, 2007
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"Of course," I replied. "Why?"
"Peter will be here at 2 pm today to meet with a small group. Would you like to join us?"
Along with Paul McCartney, he's on my list of people I would like to meet, so it was a no-brainer to say yes, I'd be there.
Not much time to think about clothes, etc; after all, I had to team-teach the first Quaker History class before Peter got here.
He arrived with a huge smile and his guitar, which he immediately pulled out and began singing, "Don't Laugh at Me." I was the only one who knew the song (from country radio by Mark Wills) and was singing along (under my breath) until he asked us all to join in. It is the theme song of his organization Operation Respect.
We sang "Puff, The Magic Dragon," "Blowing in the Wind" and several other songs as he explained Operation Respect. Over the past nine years, he has worked as an organizer as well as a performer to bring respect into the classrooms of America. Working closely with Educators for Social Responsibility, their goal has been to train teachers and administrators to resolve conflict creatively as a way of doing things, not a subject. They are teaching educators to create a safe environment of mutual dialogue and making choices based on nonviolent conflict resolution. Music and the arts are key elements of the program. There are over 40,000 people who have been trained in the program to date.
As we sang with Peter and learned some new songs, they illustrated how music speaks louder than words and can create a climate of understanding and respect. As a Jew, he is working for peace by translating this program into Arabic; he asked if he could bring trainers back to the Ramallah Friends School when it was completed. The Director and Board Members immediately accepted his generous offer for next school year.
Peter, Paul and Mary have been one of my all time favorite singing groups -- and here I was, meeting Peter Yarrow and in Ramallah too! Life is totally unexpected!