Williams ’89: “Bridge Broadly and Creatively”—Interview in The Progressive

Dar Williams ’89 is touring on her Image by Tristan Loper

Dar Williams ’89 is on her Mortal City 20th Anniversary Tour and also writing a book on eight cities she has visited frequently, including Middletown, Conn. (Image by Tristan Loper)

“A featured performer at the The Progressive’s 100th anniversary party in 2009, [Dar] Williams [’89] has always identified with progressive causes,” writes Bill Luedes, associate editor of The Progressive magazine, by way of background to his Q&A with Williams that follows. “She toured with Joan Baez early in her career and has embraced feminist, anti-war, and pro-environment positions.  She’s taught a class titled ‘Music Movements in a Capitalist Democracy’ at her alma mater, Wesleyan University. A mother of two children, she has written a novel for young adults, Amalee, and is working on a sequel.”

In the interview, Luedes explores the reasons for the sense of community found among audience members at Williams’s concerts, as well as the meaning behind certain song lyrics to tease out her reaction to the recent political climate. When he asks her to recommend community action for individuals, Williams is first descriptive before prescriptive: “My particular expertise these days as a traveler is that I’ve watched towns and cities evolve and become very resilient, and fun, and unique, and prosperous on their own terms. And the secret is bridging. It’s when the local church has a fun clothing swap fundraiser with a temple, and then the next year they bring in the mosque. It’s one group working with the senior center, which works with the elementary school, which works with the Lion’s Club. … I would encourage people to bridge broadly and creatively in their communities, not just because that creates the most fun and resiliency, but also because it creates the most points of access for people to be part of the community, which is what democracy is at its best.”