Remembering the life of ANSWER organizer Bill Massey

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Bill Massey defiant at a hearing of the House Un-American Activities Committee on September 12, 1963. Moments after this photo was taken, Bill jumped on the table and yelled, "There's more freedom in Cuba than in Louisiana!", the Jim Crow home state of the HUAC chairman. He was arrested and dragged away by six police officers. Photo: Associated Press.

Message from Brian Becker, National Director, Answer Coalition

I will be traveling to Chicago this Saturday along with other organizers from the ANSWER Coalition to participate in a tribute to the life of Bill Massey. Bill Massey was an organizer and activist with the ANSWER Coalition since its founding on September 14, 2001. His determination, adherence to principles, militancy against racism and war, capacity for work and his stamina -- even when he had become very ill -- were Bill's personal traits. He was also funny, ironic, kind and compassionate. His wife, partner and comrade Beth Massey shared Bill's commitment to the same movement for radical social change.

In addition to being an organizer against racism and war, Bill was a socialist. He grew up in a poor, working class family in the Bronx. At a young age he identified as a political conservative but he hated racism. After he got out of the Marines he hitchhiked from New York City to Albany, Georgia to participate in the famous desegregation campaign. He was arrested and held in the same jail with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and others. While in Georgia, Bill abandoned political conservatism and learned about and became a socialist. He never looked back.

If you are in the Chicago area on Saturday, July 14 consider joining with other organizers, friends, family members, comrades and me in a celebration of Bill's life and legacy. Bill always joked about wanting to deliver the eulogy at his funeral. He is getting his wish. There will be a 23-minute video made by Gloria La Riva of Bill talking about his life -- and most importantly sharing his memories of being a revolutionary fighter for 55 years. There will be an open Mic so come prepared to share your impressions. After the "shout out," there will be a buffet of some of Bill's favorite foods while listening to some of his favorite tunes and a chance for good conversation.

You can find more information about the memorial service here

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Brian Becker,
on behalf of the ANSWER Coalition


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