From the front lines of a movement to a moving account of our history, and our community.
IT WAS MY mother who taught me that we were all responsible for maintaining the health of our American democracy. She was active in the Seattle League of Women Voters; served on the statewide community college board; and worked tirelessly for Forward Thrust, a series of bond issues that made many civic improvements, including halting the dumping of sewage into Lake Washington.
In the 1960s, horrified at our war in Vietnam and our treatment of black people at home, I took her activism in a different direction, joining the increasingly militant Weatherman wing of the Students for a Democratic Society as we tried, in our desperation, to overthrow the U.S. government. I have a fat FBI file of memos from frustrated agents trying, and failing, to find me.
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However, along with many of my white, basically middle-class and well-educated comrades, it eventually became clear to me that the struggle was a marathon, not a sprint. It was time to move on to different tactics, which (no surprise) had to include earning a living. I find it telling that the vast majority of us ’60s radicals opted for social-service jobs: teachers, physicians, social workers, attorneys, professionals and consultants in environmental organizations and, in my case, nursing.
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I feel very privileged to have been allowed to chronicle the history of the Seattle Liberation Front and the Seattle 7. It reflects so well the story of our city and our region, both our normality and our craziness. We are willing to try new things; willing to fail; and, most of all, willing to live our principles in the midst of a community that tries to do the same.