I wanted to share a note of sadness and commemoration for the passing of a hero of mine (and many), Howard Zinn, who died yesterday. I'm sure that many of us have read or seen his A People's History of the United States, a sprawling, riveting chronicle of American history from the ground up, led by activists and everyday people - not the typical textbook focus on the U.S.'s Founding Fathers and the elites. His work has inspired countless activists and although it is often labeled "revisionist" history, to me it reads as our real American history, especially since many of us were never taught in school about the people and struggles that he identified and amplified.
Professor Zinn lifted up the critical role of dissent in forming and advancing our democracy and justice and dignity for all people. He paid particular attention to the profound struggles and voices of people of color, women, immigrants, gay men and lesbians, poor and working class people, and those who were simply "sick and tired of being sick and tired."
When I was in college in Boston protesting the Gulf War in the early 90's, Professor Zinn would often speak and draw parallels between the present day and our nation's past struggles for peace, dignity, equality, and justice. The past often does repeat itself and that's one reason, among many, that our work here to support great leaders, activists, organizations, and changemakers is so important.
My heart is heavy for this loss. A chronicler of the struggles of ordinary people taking on injustice in order to make this nation actualize the words in its Constitution, an educator of many - including Alice Walker and Marian Wright Edelman, his former students, and a hero to many, including me, has died. May Howard Zinn rest in peace.