Johnny Cash’s children say they were “sickened” to see a white nationalist demonstrator participating in the alt-right march at Charlottesville wearing a T-shirt featuring the name of the country music icon, and have released a statement declaring that the views of white supremacists, white nationalists, neo-Nazis and other racist fringe groups are exactly what the “Walk the Line” singer spent his life fighting against.
Via news footage of the horrific events that unfolded, the Cash family became aware that some members of the neo-Nazis marching in Charlottesville, Virginia, were wearing Johnny Cash t-shirts, and were understandably appalled.
Cash’s children let it be known that they were “sickened” to see their father’s name associated with the white supremacists, and posted a message on the Facebook page of singer Roseanne Cash to make it perfectly clear that Cash would have been in 100-per-cent opposition to the racist, anti-Semitic views they espoused.
“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,” reads the statement.
“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.”
Cash’s children point out that their father “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 honour. Our dad told each of us, over and over throughout our lives, ‘Children, you can choose love or hate. I choose love,'” the statement continues.
“We do not judge race, colour, sexual orientation or creed. We value the capacity for love and the impulse towards kindness,” adds the statement. “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.”
The Cash family statement concludes: “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.”
The message is signed by Rosanne, Kathy, Cindy, Tara and John Carter Cash, and ends with a postscript containing a quote from civil rights leader and U.S. Representative John Lewis: “Not one of us can rest, be happy, be at home, be at peace with ourselves, until we end hatred and division.”