Popular rock band Switchfoot rallied support Wednesday evening for someone whom they consider their hero – Dr. John M. Perkins.
"This is a celebration of life, unity, and race reconciliation," said Jon Foreman, lead singer and guitarist of the Southern California band during a special concert at Belhaven University in Jackson, Miss.
The concert was dedicated to the John M. Perkins Foundation, which was recently robbed. The foundation's music studio was severely impacted.
"The purpose of this night is to commemorate the unlikely partnership of a civil rights patriarch from Mississippi and a rock band from San Diego," Foreman explained. "They have a music studio that was robbed a few months back and, with the money we raise, we can get that program back on its feet. I'm hoping that this concert can be a lightning rod to attract the attention of more donors, and more folks who can partner with the JMP Foundation in and around Jackson."
The foundation was founded in 1983. It is dedicated to developing the lives of youth, leaders and the underprivileged in Jackson and around the world and advancing racial reconciliation.
Breaking down racial barriers and crossing color lines is what Perkins has been doing all of his adult life.
Perkins, the son of a sharecropper from New Hebron, Miss., was called to the ministry in 1960. After fleeing the South and heading to the West coast as a result of the murder of his brother, he returned years later to fight for freedom and civil rights. The 80-year-old civil rights leader is well-known for his contributions to community development and racial reconciliation. Perhaps, he is better known for having consistently responded to racial prejudice, violence and hate with love.
As Foreman wrote in an earlier commentary on The Huffington Post, "His story is living proof that love is louder than violence, louder than hatred, and louder than racism."
When Foreman got to meet Perkins earlier this year, he was left speechless during much of their conversation.
"He told me that our generation was quite possibly the generation that could make our national creed a reality: 'All men are created equal,'" the famed singer recalled. "Yes, for the first time in our nation's troubled history true equality might be reflected by our actions not just our words."
Perkins asked Foreman to write him a song about the justice of love and the love of justice, and how compassion breaks the cycle of violence and creates new life. The civil rights activist inspired Switchfoot's Top 10 Modern Rock single "The Sound (John M. Perkins' Blues)."
On Wednesday, the Dove Award-winning band drew a large crowd for "An Evening with Switchfoot and Dr. John M. Perkins."
That night, Perkins expressed his hope for unity as he recalled the segregation in churches decades ago.
"We worshipped here, they worshipped there, and that was it. We are all God's children and should be able to worship together. This night is a great night for Switchfoot and myself to be here together; this is a great night."
Proceeds from the concert are being used to assist in the development of a new music studio at the John M. Perkins Foundation.
On the Web: http://www.jmpf.org/content/