“Yehi zichra mahapecha”: May her memory be a revolution. These Hebrew words were the first thing that came to me on hearing about the loss of Marty Nathan, a person who spent such a long time being so steadfastly, defiantly revolutionary. One of my strongest beliefs is that we should listen most carefully to anyone who has spent a long time being consistently on the right side of history. This is exactly where Marty was for about a half century of activism: from health care access to racial justice and addressing the climate crisis she was a shining example of living and acting out the values she had. Just this year she was such a worthy Frances Crowe Award recipient. Frances founded what has become The Resistance Center and set the legacy we continue working to fulfill. At TRC we are deeply grateful for all the ways Marty supported our campaigns for peace, demilitarization, youth advocacy, and migrant justice.
Marty had some real privileges in life. She could’ve chosen just to be happy with those. Instead she chose to share what she had through working with groups from La Cliniquita to her more recent climate justice work and tireless anti-pipeline organizing. Her activism came at a terrible cost, especially when she lost her husband and was a victim herself of white supremacist terror in the 1979 Greenboro Massacre. Then and so many times since she could’ve given up but instead only seemed to come back stronger and fiercer.
As a species we are under serious threats, all of our own making. If we respond to the escalating climate crises we continue to cause with our same old tools of racist and white supremacist violence, xenophobia, nationalism, increasing authoritarianism, and war with weapons of mass destruction then humans may not survive the next century. If we do come together to save ourselves and the planet, it will be because we have the courage to act on the legacy of brave activists like Marty Nathan. May her memory and example inspire all of us to be a part of her revolution!
~from The Resistance Center, 11/30/2021