Joan Baez Sings Protest Songs with Tennessee Legislator at Newark Airport

Lawmaker Justin J. Jones, who had been expelled for protesting gun violence, sang "We Shall Overcome" with the folk-music legend.

Two Tennessee state legislators—Justin J. Jones and Justin Pearson—became national celebrities after they were expelled from the state Legislature for joining protestors calling for gun safety legislation after six people were killed in a school shooting there last month.

Another member of the legislature who protested with them, Gloria Johnson, survived a motion to expel her. After Jones, 27, was reinstated to his seat, he led a march of thousands—mostly young people—back to the Tennessee Capitol building. (Pearson has also since been reinstated.)

On Sunday, Jones and Johnson were on a plane to Newark when they realized that folk-music legend Joan Baez was on the same flight.

In Newark Airport, after the plane landed, Jones approached Baez and asked her to sing some protest songs with him. As Johnson filmed, they held hands and sang two freedom songs from the Civil Rights Era: “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me ‘Round” and “We Shall Overcome.”

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Later, Jones wrote on Twitter:

“When you get off the plane with the legendary Joan Baez you know it’s a movement of the spirit. She stands with us in our struggle in Tennessee and said she’s hopeful to see young voices leading. ‘WE SHALL OVERCOME…’

Serendipitous, indeed.”

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