Dolly Parton has issued an open letter to her fans on the occasion of her 75th birthday. Part personal reflection, part inspirational challenge, Parton’s message, posted on the singer’s website, asks readers to be compassionate.
“My wish is that everyone does something a little different today. Let’s call it a call for kindness. If you want to donate to your favorite cause, then donate. If you want to give an old friend a call during these lonely times, give them a call. If you can safely volunteer, then raise your hand to do so,” she wrote in part. “The choices are limitless.”
Parton also emphasized the importance of commitment in her letter. “I always encourage people to dream big but I also take great care to follow that up with the message to work hard. We can’t just hope for a brighter day, we have to work for a brighter day,” she wrote. “Love too often gets buried in a world of hurt and fear. We have to work to dig it out so we can share it with our family, our friends and our neighbors. So today, January 19th, let’s get to unearthing love. Love is more contagious than a virus so let your best self shine in a glorious light and others will be inspired by you.”
Born January 19th, 1946, in Sevier County, Tennessee, Parton wrote songs about her own hardscrabble upbringing. She evolved into a global icon, transcending country music to become an ambassador for positivity, compassion, and acceptance. On her birthday, she says she’s “choosing the quiet path so I can stay close to the ones I love to count my blessings and think hard about what this new year will bring.”
Thanks to Parton’s own generosity, that means hope: In April, the singer donated $1 million to Nashville’s Vanderbilt University to successfully help develop a Covid-19 vaccine.