I just got word Al Fishman, former national Peace Action board member and longtime leader in Peace Action of Michigan and the Detroit peace and justice community, passed away. I don’t know any details yet, just that he went to the hospital yesterday for a knee problem and had a massive heart attack.
I love Al. I’ve known him for close to twenty years, and in all that time he was one of the most indefatigable, consistent voices of conscience for peace, social and economic justice, and solidarity with peoples’ struggles I have ever known. (A colleague reminded me Al’s first arrest was for petitioning for nuclear disarmament in Stockholm, in 1950!)
He had a particularly keen understanding that the peace movement needed to work with and be in solidarity with people of color organizations and labor unions, as our struggles are inextricably linked. I disagreed with Al on politics once in awhile (Al, wherever you are, we can still argue next year about whether Peace Action should endorse Obama, in fact I’m counting on it!), but I never lost respect or affection for him personally, and never for a second doubted his opinions came from a place of integrity, sincerity, commitment and love.
My only regret is I didn’t get to say goodbye to this wonderful man. I’m sure our national board co-chair, Helen Weber, and other Peace Action of Michigan folks will let us know how we can properly honor and celebrate Al’s life.
Rest in peace my brother, you’ve certainly earned it.
Alvin Fishman, Presente!