UUA President Bill Sinkford introduced the Ware lecture by listing some of the past lecturers including, "a poet who used music" to express a message of social justice, Malvina Reynolds in 1972. He listed "We Are a Gentle, Angry People" as one of the key songs which have spread through the Unitarian Universalist movement and "speak to our identity."
Holly Near spoke in story and song of her own personal history to "share some of the moments in my life that kept me an activist." From the modeling of critical thinking and responsibility by her mother and father to her own overcoming of shyness and embarrassment to add her voice to opposition to the war during her college years, to a career in television ("The Partridge Family made me a feminist"), Near's tales of earlier experiences were interwoven with songs, "Something Changes in Me" and "I Am Open and I Am Willing."
Near spoke of how important it is to be able to look back and know that we did something of value. Sometimes, she said, she despairs, and then tries to practice remembering others who have been in trouble before us. "Survivors must wonder if there ever will be another day." It's important then to take action, one at a time, and hope that it will build, not knowing whether it will or not. "Let people in history look back at us and see what we've done"—but if that looking back is to happen, we have to do something now.
The important question, Near said, is "How do we stop the huge destructive corporate machine that is moving across our planet?"
The Great Peace March
by Holly Near and Desimini.