Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Tribute: Howard Zinn, The Grand-Dad of Citizen Media

In line with the previous post on Protest Poetry and the Power of Voice, listen to excerpts of Voices of A People's History of the United States on NPR to understand that as a tribute, Howard Zinn, deserves and would ask us to be brave about our past and our future, about our voice and intention.  The President's State of the Union Speech, reminded me why Zinn, was such a great influence in my life and will always be.

Most people remember Zinn, for his greatest contribution to humanityA People's History of the United States, it was published in 1980, and has sold over 2 million copies.  In many ways Zinn, paved the path for Citizen Media by providing a platform for stories to come to light, of those people rarely heard in mainstream histories.   At 87 years of age, Zinn, lifelong activist and educator, produced the film The People Speak, on the History Channel in collaboration with Matt Damon, where Hollywood celebrities read Indigenous, African-American, immigrant, women, laborers, and activist accounts of the history of the United States.

Zinn having fought in the Vietnam-American War, spoke out against the war in Vietnam, in Iraq, and in Afghanistan and he inspired youth to ask questions, be patriotic and fight back with disobedience for justice.  In one of his last appearances, he urges us in this YouTube video below, not to give up the social justice struggle because while we are in it, "we are already winning."

Listening tonight to the President's State of the Union Speech, I have to agree again with Zinn, "Watching great ideals settle into the compromise of legislation and governance is a sobering reminder that Obama is no longer a hopeful symbol for so many of us but someone with an incredibly difficult job before him." Your words of wisdom live on, Howard Zinn, but you may rest in peace.