By coincidence, I was with Al at two of the three actions he was arrested at mentioned in the City Council resolution.
Al Fishman Presente! – Long-time Peace Activist and Socialist
Memorial service will be held May 27, 2011 at 12:00 noon at Central United Methodist Church, Woodward at Adams in Detroit.
Detroit City Council Memorial Resolution for Mr. Al Fishman, Peace and Human Rights Activist [Adopted unanimously May 24, to be read at May 27 memorial meeting]
WHEREAS, Al Fishman was a leading peace and justice activist since being discharged from the U.S. Army in 1947 after which he organized countless picket lines, marches, rallies, teach-ins, and forums;
and WHEREAS, Al Fishman was involved in opposition to the Korean War, including the defense of Lt Gilbert, an African American officer who was court-martialed for refusing to order his men into a “suicide mission”. He also served as the Michigan coordinator of the Vietnam Moratorium;
and WHEREAS, Mr. Fishman, as a supporter of human rights, participated in protests against the racist murder of Emmett Till; the racist frame-ups of Willie McGee, The Trenton Six and the Martinville Seven; the political frame-up of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. He was a member of the National Negro Labor Council and it’s campaigns for jobs and helped force Black representation in trade union leadership. He was a member of the Michigan Congress Against Repression, participating in its activities against police brutality, and in the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression , and the campaigns to free Angela Davis and Rev. Benjamin Chavis;
and WHEREAS, Al Fishman, notwithstanding, the corrupt and undemocratic aspects of our electoral system – about which he spoke frequently – was a dedicated participant in the process of advancing peace and social economic justice through electoral politics. He was proud of the fact that he participated in breaking racist barriers in landmark campaigns to advance the political representation of African Americans, including the campaigns of Charles Diggs, William T. Patrick, John Conyers, Richard Austin, Erma Henderson , and Coleman A. Young. He was organizer and State Co-Chair of the New Democratic Coalition, which served as a unifying force for progressives in the Democratic Party. He was an active supporter of George McGovern for President;
and WHEREAS, Al Fishman was part of the campaign, led by the Honorable Erma Henderson, to eliminate redlining. He helped to organize the Michigan Coalition on Utilities and Energy, which opposed unwarranted utility rate increases;
and WHEREAS, In the spirit of the Ghandi-Martin Luther King teachings about non-violent resistance, he risked arrest in a number of peace and justice actions. He was arrested protesting apartheid at the South African Embassy in Washington, D.C., for protesting the Indonesian massacre in Dili, East Timor, for protesting the continuing development of nuclear weapons at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in Nevada, in support of the striking Detroit newspaper workers, and against the then imminent US invasion of Iraq;
and WHEREAS, Detroit’s Al Fishman co-chaired a coalition opposed to the first Persian Gulf War. After the attack on the World Trade Center, he co-convened the twenty organizations of the Detroit Area Peace With Justice Network, which was part of dozens of protests against the war on Iraq; he led annual events to commemorate the horrors of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki;
and WHEREAS, Since the early 1980’s, he was a member of Peace Action – at that time called the Nuclear Freeze Campaign. He served Peace Action of Michigan for many years as a Co-Chair and as its representative on the National Board of Directors. He served as a member of the local Board of Directors, writing frequent articles for its quarterly newsletter;
and WHEREAS, Al was a member of the New Jewish Agenda, the first, and for some time the only, Jewish American organization that supported Palestinian statehood. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, That the Detroit City Council mourns and honors Al Fishman, one of our City’s finest Peace, Civil and Human Rights, and Labor activists, advocates and champions, one of our true Citizens of the World.