May 11, 2010
Here at ACE, we add our voice to the nationwide tribute of Howard Zinn, who led by his example and inspired us and several generations of American activists.
“He so believed in America that he believed it could transcend itself. He lifted up alternative futures, and insisted they were possible.”
- —James Carroll, The Boston Globe, February 1, 2010
On January 27, 2010, the world lost one its most outspoken voices for social justice, historian and activist Howard Zinn. Best known as the author of A People's History of the United States, Zinn dedicated his life to the telling of history from the perspective of those who stood in opposition to the schemes of the powerful: those who fought against slavery and Jim Crow, who opposed war and militarism, who participated in the struggles of the working class, who demanded equality for women and the LGBTQ community, and many others.
He sought to use history in service of the creation of a more just world, once explaining, "I wanted students to leave my classes not just better informed, but more prepared to relinquish the safety of silence, more prepared to speak up, to act against injustice wherever they saw it."
At ACE, we share Zinn's understanding of how social change takes place. As we work for environmental justice, we are guided by the belief that the power to influence history does not reside solely in the hands of powerful men, sitting around the tables of government offices and corporate boardrooms most of us will never see. Indeed, history has been, and continues to be shaped by the actions of ordinary people like ourselves who come together to struggle for justice. The realization of a socially just and environmentally sustainable world requires nothing less.
In honor of Zinn's legacy, we invite you to join local activists and organizers in a celebration of his life on May 15. Howard Zinn will truly be missed, and the more we engage with increased passion the challenges of the present moment, the more we keep his legacy alive.