A very special event is happening this Sunday, continuing a legacy of community engagement created by the late Richard Walton.
The 1st annual Red Bandana Concert is being held at 3pm at Shea High School 485 East Ave in Pawtucket. The purpose is to establish The Red Bandana Fund which will give an annual award to those groups and/or individuals that best carry on the ideals of Richard Walton. You can buy tickets here: www.soup.org/page1/RedBandana.html
Every summer, Richard would hold a magnificent gathering of community activists, artists, musicians and friends on his birthday at his shoreline house in Pawtuxet. A cigar box was placed on a card table and people were asked to make a contribution to Amos House or the Providence-Niquinohomo Sister City Project. People brought their checkbooks, food, drink, instruments, friends and their children for a full day of fun and companionship. The last party held there was in 2011 where as Richard billed it his 80th birthday Part IV. The year after, Richard did not have the energy to hold it at his house so the last one was successfully held at the Roots Cultural Center. Here’s what he sent me to announce it:
Hi, Steve: I'm so damn disorganized. I've probably already asked you this but I wanted to make sure. You have such a wide circle of friends and I hope you are spreading the word about my 80th Birthday Party, Part V on Sunday afternoon, May 27 at Roots. I just ran out of steam and didn't have the energy to pull together another big party here ... but Bill Harley and Len Cabral had the terrific idea of holding it at Roots, a damn good place. This may well be my Last Hurrah but I didn't want what had become a tradition to end with no notice. I hope it's a success. More details follow ... and I certainly expect to see you there. Thanks for your help. Richard.
This year would have been his 85th birthday. When he passed, numerous people expressed the desire to continue the party both out of respect and to continue to support the causes Richard pushed for his entire life. So on Sunday, the tradition will be reborn with performances from some of Richard’s favorite musicians and a gathering of Richard’s large group of friends. Proceeds will benefit Richard’s organizations with a silent auction and raffle and the sale of actual, Red Bandanas, imprinted with the image of Richard that you see here.
Local musician and two time Grammy winner Bill Harley put it this way:
This Sunday is the first annual benefit concert for the Red Bandana Fund honoring Richard Walton’s life and work. The first Red Bandana Award will be given to Amos House, an organization that truly represents Richard’s spirit and ideals.
If you’re in the Rhode Island area, we’d love you to be there. Richard Walton was one of my dearest friends, and I miss him every day. He was a very kind man, and very supportive, and also resolute in his commitment to the least in our society. The Red Bandana Award will be given annually, and we hope to make the concert annual, too.
My gut feeling on this is that the Award will become a focal point and affirmation of all the incredible work being done in southeastern New England, and will be a way for all of us active in issues of peace and justice to touch base with each other. I think it’s going to be around a long, long time.
I’m sure Richard would have loved this – I only wish he were here to see it.
Come if you can – it will be a great time. And a memorable one, too.
On behalf of the Red Bandana Fund committee, we invite you to come and lend your support for this unique event, the first of what we hope to be many as we continue to honor the life of this remarkable man.
To learn more about Richard Walton, you can read my posts on his passing here www.rifuture.org/rip-richard-walton-you-taught-us-how-to-live-part-12.html and here www.rifuture.org/rip-richard-walton-you-taught-us-how-to-live-part-22.html.