In 1972, Marlo Thomas’ album Free to Be…You and Me had a profound effect me. Even today, I listen to that album and am emboldened to ensure that people are treated equally. The album probably was one of the very earliest inspirations to help me find my voice and allowed me the comfort and safety to use that voice to eradicate racism, homophobia, and misogyny. So you can only imagine my sadness when I read that Marlo Thomas declared the concept she espoused nearly 40 years ago dead to children because of bullying. What saddens me more is that I fear she is probably right.
Thomas’ recent article seen in the Huffington Post resonates with some of my deepest fears as she exposes the hard work yet to be done:
Just how many dead teenagers, driven to end their own lives, is it going to take for adults to stand up and say,What the hell is going on? There was a time when the words “Free to Be” embodied a hope that whatever a kid was, was good enough. But “freedom” doesn’t describe the world of this generation. Or of their parents.
The polarization I have witnessed just in the past 30 years is remarkable and disheartening. As the religious right holds the nation hostage, its path of destruction has managed to shut down conversations–conversations that could prevent suicides. I would argue that Thomas’ message of now almost 40 years ago is needed more than ever! Click here to read the full article that inspired me to compose this post. Click here to order your copy of Free to Be…You and Me for you and for your kids.