Yesterday, the world lost one of its bravest champions of peace and social justice: Howard Zinn. In December of 2008, The Center for Civil and Human Rights was honored to host Dr. Howard Zinn as part of its 60th Anniversary celebration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Zinn, along with his colleagues, spoke to a packed auditorium after a preview of “The People Speak,” a documentary inspired by his work “A People’s History of the United States,” which captures the lives and speeches of ordinary people who made history from the bottom-up, fighting for justice and democracy. From his advising of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee during the Civil Rights Movement, to his active participation in the Peace Movement against the Vietnam War, to his unwavering commitment to speaking truth to power as a citizen, intellectual, and teacher, Howard Zinn, above all, was a man that dedicated his long and vibrant life to the building of a world safe for human compassion and love. For this, he will be greatly missed.
“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. This, of course, was a recipe for trouble.” -Howard Zinn
“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness… And if we do act, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents.” -Howard Zinn