Thank you very much. I was glad I got to read the citation earlier today because I had all my tears earlier, but I thought it was very beautifully written. Thank you. This award does mean a lot to me. Danny has received some awards this year, but this one touched me when I received the invitation and I read the story of Lovejoy. I was just particularly moved by his persistence in standing up for what he believed in, by his relentless fight for the rights of others and in the end his dying for his ideals.
My parents, my sister and Mariane are all very honored that you chose to recognize Danny for possessing qualities similar to Lovejoy and the qualities for which this award is given–intelligence, integrity, craftsmanship, character and courage. Danny had all those things though we have had some family discussions as to how Danny was courageous. Danny was very cautious. He refused to go into Afghanistan. He was very careful for his physical safety and that of his colleagues. He even initiated a check-in policy at The Wall Street Journal to ensure reporter safety.
But he was very courageous in a different way. He did not let anyone or anything intimidate him into abandoning his truth or his search for truth. He was not intimidated when his eighth grade teacher held a swastika in his face. My parents were called and he told them about it in a matter of fact way, as if saying, “Upset? Why would I get upset if a teacher wants to make a fool of himself?” He was not intimidated by anti-American demonstrators burning the American flag. He told one of his colleagues, “I want to look in their eyes and see why they hate us so much.” In the end he was not intimidated by his captors into lying about his Jewish identity. “I am Jewish. My father is Jewish. My mother is Jewish,” he said, firm in his truth, his truth that of a common humanity. Danny was an ordinary guy with an ordinary sense of decency, but where he was extraordinary was in staying true to himself and his principles.
The night after I read the story of Lovejoy and the description of the award I had a dream and in my dream Danny had a distinct walk. It was kind of like his normal walk, but exaggerated. The walk, the Danny Walk, in my dream embodied integrity, courage and all the qualities of the award. It had another quality, which maybe Lovejoy had. I don’t know. It was in his name though, and it’s joy. Danny had a lot of joy and humor so his walk embodied that too. The Danny Walk was a bouncy, confident, ordinary, yet courageous walk. And in my dream after he died there were many people walking the Danny Walk. The Danny Walk is what the Daniel Pearl Foundation is continuing through projects done in Danny style.
So, we are planning another global music day next year where people can unite again in the stand against intolerance. We’re also sponsoring a youth writing contest on developing solutions to intolerance and we’re planning a recording of a song that Danny wrote called “The World Is Not Such a Bad Place.” When Danny went to visit a friend who was pregnant and overdue, he took his two band mates with him and he thought maybe the baby was scared to come out, scared of this world. So, on the spot he started signing, “Come out, come out. The world is not such a bad place.” And then he proceeds to describe the beauties of the world. So, we’re planning a recording of this song with stars from the Muslim countries and from Western countries to send a message for hope.
We believe that Danny is a powerful symbol to inspire people all over the world to reduce cultural, ethnic and religious hatred and to move even beyond tolerance to the kind of acceptance, respect and even celebration that Danny had for people from every background. Thank you on behalf of my parents, Ruth and Judea, and my sister, Michelle, and Danny’s wife, Mariane, and his son, Adam. Thank you for this award, which symbolizes the qualities that Danny had in his life that have touched so many people in his death.
For 50 years Colby’s Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award has recognized journalists for their courage, so it ran against type when Tamara Pearl said, “Danny was very cautious,” referring to her brother, slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, this year’s recipient.
Speaking to a hushed Lorimer Chapel audience on a cold, rainy Nov. 13 night, she drew a distinction between recklessness and courage. Her brother did not court peril, she said. “He was very careful for his physical safety and that of his colleagues.” He did his research. He assessed risk. He rejected going into Afghanistan because it was dangerous.
In another way, though, he was courageous, his sister reported. “He did not let anyone or anything intimidate him into abandoning his truth or his search for truth. “He was not intimidated by anti-American demonstrators burning the American flag. He told one of his colleagues, ‘I want to look in their eyes and see why they hate us so much.’
In the end he was not intimidated by his captors into lying about his Jewish identity. “His truth was that of a common humanity. Danny was an ordinary guy with an ordinary sense of decency. But where he was extraordinary was in staying true to himself and his principles,” said Tamara Pearl, who came from western Canada to accept the award on behalf of her family and the Daniel Pearl Foundation they cofounded to promote cross-cultural understanding through journalism, music and innovative communications.
“We believe,” she concluded, “that Danny is a powerful symbol to inspire people all over the world to reduce cultural, ethnic and religious hatred and to move even beyond tolerance to the kind of acceptance, respect and even celebration that Danny had for people from every background.”
President William Adams echoed that sentiment in a citation addressed to the murdered reporter. “Those who took your life hoped to kill that for which you stood. Instead they inspired a worldwide effort to promote your ideals and to honor your memory.”
Gary Putka, representing the Wall Street Journal, remembered an extraordinary colleague. “In a culture as steeped in cynicism and competition as journalism, what has utterly disarmed and humbled me in recent months are the stories that have poured forth from his colleagues within the Journal about the full throttled, wide-open kindness of Danny Pearl,” he said. Praising Pearl’s humanity and his talents as a fiercely intelligent and inquisitive journalist, Putka said he couldn’t imagine a better choice for the Lovejoy award. “Danny now stands as a symbol and a martyr to our cause—to enlightenment and free expression, a martyr for understanding between peoples and the quest for truth.”
This year’s convocation marked the 200th anniversary of Lovejoy’s birth and Colby’s 50th Lovejoy award. Valedictorian of the Class of 1826 at Waterville College, now Colby, Lovejoy was an abolitionist editor who grew increasingly strident in his denunciations of slavery. He was shot by a pro-slavery mob in Alton, Ill., in 1837 and was buried on his 35th birthday.
On Nov. 9 the Town of Albion, Maine, celebrated Lovejoy’s legacy with a ceremony at the Lovejoy homestead. Richard Moss, Colby’s Gibson Professor of History, led the event, and other events raised money for a Lovejoy monument in town. (Colby magazine, Winter 2003)
Colby College remembers alumnus Elijah Parish Lovejoy through the annual Lovejoy Award, which honors journalists who demonstrate courage, integrity, and craftsmanship.
Born in Albion, Maine, Lovejoy graduated from Colby in 1826. On Nov. 7, 1837, in Alton, Ill., the newspaper editor and publisher was killed after he refused to stop publishing anti-slavery editorials. He was called America’s first martyr to freedom of the press by John Quincy Adams.
Current Lovejoy Selection Committee Members include Matt Apuzzo ’00, reporter and investigative correspondent, New York Times; Nancy Barnes, senior vice president and editorial director, NPR; Sewell Chan, editorial page editor, Los Angeles Times; Marcela Gaviria, producer, PBS FRONTLINE; Neil Gross, Charles A. Dana Professor of Sociology, Colby College; Martin Kaiser, former editor and senior vice president Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; Mindy Marqués, vice president and executive editor, Simon and Schuster, former editor, Miami Herald; and Ron Nixon, global investigations editor, Associated Press.
For more information, visit colby.edu/lovejoy