Things Present Things Past

I found a great piece of activist history thanks to Janos Mate – a legendary campaigner for Greenpeace a few decades ago!

The memory of swimming in protest around a colossal US warship with nuclear weapons on board, in Vancouver’s harbour, in 1989, is still fresh in my mind! It was so incredibly cold in Burrard Inlet, even in August with a wetsuit. But the rush of the dramatic action, and later being on the Greenpeace protest boat, was enough to warm me up! Check out the actions above on YouTube.

Activism and sustained creative action is an important part of political change and I wrote about it a lot in my book “OUTSIDE IN: A POLITICAL MEMOIR”. Activism brings us together, amplifies our voices, and creates awareness in broader society about critical issues. In the 1980’s the threat of nuclear annihilation was always present. Today we face a catastrophic climate emergency and it’s incredible to see the force and creativity of activism at work on this front today, just as we saw against nuclear weapons 40 years ago. Building a movement for social and climate justice is something we can all be involved in. 

When you take time to look around you – you can find activism and change in the most unlikely places. That’s what Samantha Allen has written about in her wonderful book, “Real Queer America” as she journeyed through red, conservative states and found powerful groups, people, events and actions that defy homophobia, transphobia and racism. It was a pleasure to be on the same panel as Samantha, at the Miami Book Fair, November 24. We’d never met before but we clicked right away as we shared our writing and experiences. The Miami Book Fair was a fabulous event – heard many authors, but loved hearing historian, Dr. Carol Anderson speaking about voter suppression from her book “One Person No Vote”. She’s one powerful person – educating and sharing tools for change. 

Activism can come from books too! Thanks Miami Book Fair for bringing together again, an eclectic and diverse mix of writers, readers and activists.