Peggy Charren

Yesterday’s news of the death of Peggy Charren is a huge loss to Creative Voices and the nation. We have all lost a great friend and fighter for children, free speech, and better speech in our national media.  As a member of CV’s Board of Advisors, Peggy — our sole Advisor ever awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom — gave generously of her time and organizing skills to forward our battles against censorship.

Our relationship with Peggy did not get off to an auspicious start.  I was in a Las Vegas casino during a break at the NAB’s national convention, where we had planned a presentation to tell the assembled broadcasters that their efforts to merge into a few giant conglomerates were hurting the diversity of voices and viewpoints, and localism, on the American airwaves, and thus harming free speech and reducing to only a few powerful corporations the number of viewpoints in the media widely available to the public.  As you can imagine, this was not a popular position at the convention, and, in fact, the number of broadcasters who actually attended our presentation could be counted on two fingers. So, I was a little down, and I wandered over to the casino to watch a friend play at the craps table.  Then, my Palm Pilot rang:

ME:  Hello, Jon Rintels.

PEGGY: Hi, Jon Rintels. It’s Peggy.

ME: Who? Please speak up, it’s loud in here.

PEGGY:  IT’S PEGGY!

ME: Peggy who? I don’t know a Peggy.

PEGGY:  PEGGY CHARREN!

ME: WHO? WAIT, I’M WALKING TO A QUIET PLACE.

PEGGY:  PEGGY CHARREN!  PEG-GY CHAR-REN!  PEG-GY CHAR-REN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thus began a beautiful friendship and mentorship.

If you don’t recognize the name Peggy Charren, do yourself a favor and read her Boston Globe obit, here.  See how one person can change society for the better.

She will be greatly missed.