Rosanne Cash and the Cash family said they were “sickened” by a video that showed a “self-proclaimed neo-Nazi” in Charlottesville wearing a Johnny Cash T-shirt. Rosanne Cash posted the fervent note on her Facebook Wednesday on behalf of herself and her siblings Kathy, Cindy, Tara and John Carter.
“Johnny Cash was a man whose heart beat with the rhythm of love and social justice,” the Cash family said. “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.”
The Cash family went on to call their father’s pacifism and inclusive patriotism “two of his most defining characteristics” and said he would have been horrified to see his name or image associated with a “cause founded in persecution and hatred.” The letter also noted that several members of the extended Cash family had fought the Nazis while serving in the military during World War II.
“Our dad told each of us, over and over throughout our lives, ‘Children, you can choose love or hate. I choose love,'” the letter continued. “We do not judge race, color, sexual orientation or creed. We value the capacity for love and the impulse towards kindness. 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 note closed with the Cash family asking that their name be “kept far away from destructive and hateful ideology,” and the firm message: “To any who claim supremacy over other human beings, to any who believe in racial or religious hierarchy: we are not you.”
Along with the Cash family, numerous musicians have spoken out against last Saturday’s white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, including Dave Matthews Band, Lorde, Lady Gaga and John Legend. Many have also criticized President Donald Trump’s tepid condemnation of white supremacy and insistence that “both sides” are to blame for the violence.