Today marks the 36th anniversary of John Lennon’s assassination by Mark David Chapman. Thankfully, Chapman was denied parole for the ninth time in August for the rock legend’s murder. He will come up for parole again in two years. So for two more years we can forget him and remember the man he took from us despite him.
The story of how Lennon died is so chilling, but today I remember not how John Lennon died. I choose to remember how he lived–as an activist who topped J. Edgar Hoover’s secret FBI “enemies” list (his dossier was over 300 pages), who had to fight deportation from the U.S. for participating in anti- Vietnam War efforts, and who had to battle even harder to secure his green card to live in the U.S.
Lennon’s example of standing up against injustice is not lost on me. I’ve long believed being a BMW (a bitcher, moaner, & whiner) solves no one’s problems. Getting involved, being an activist, learning as much as possible about my issues, educating others, mobilizing and organizing on my issues…those are things that can promote progress. Lennon proved himself a leader of people–one who would stand up at the front of the crowd and show them how to work for social justice even at the risk of being labeled “subversive” by the U.S. government. One doesn’t have to agree with Lennon’s left-wing politics to recognize and honor his dedication and investment in progressing his beliefs for peace and justice.
Photographer Allan Tannenbaum took the last photo shoot of Lennon for promotion of what would be his last album, Double Fantasy, ten days before his death. Tannenbaum said, “He loved to push boundaries like that,” referring to Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, posing nude. The photographer related that “nudity was just another form of expression for them.” The image most easily found online from this photo shoot shows such happiness and ease from the couple.
One of Allan Tannenbaum’s photos from John Lennon’s last photo shoot.
To honor his activism and his life on this day, I stand with his widow, Yoko Ono, in pleading for common sense gun laws in America. On her Facebook page, Ono eloquently wrote:
Every day, 91 Americans are killed with guns.
We are turning this beautiful country into a War Zone.
Together, let’s bring back America, the green land of Peace.
The death of a loved one is a hollowing experience.
After 36 years, our son Sean and I still miss him.
Yoko Ono Lennon
8 December 2016
She also shared this heartbreaking and shocking image/meme:
So today’s jukebox duo of songs are to celebrate the activist, the leader, the man–John Lennon.
“Remember” by John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band
“Power to the People” by John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band