Friday, April 18, 2008

Activist, Artist, dies. His art and contribution lives on

Living through an era, certainly does not make one an expert on it. Only on my tiny little aspect of it. And in the 1960s when Americans protested the war in Vietnam, I lived in a cozy little farming community safe in my child's world. But thankfully there were others committed to keeping our country on the right track.

One of those, an activist and artist, Tom Lewis, stepped up the peaceful demonstrations against the war and was among the "Cantonsville Nine" who introduced the more violent approach to war demonstrations -- attacking Selective Service offices and burning draft cards.

It wasn't many years after Mr. Lewis took his stand that I wished I had the guts to do something like that to save the young men of my community, my fiance, my neighbors, my brother from going off to that senseless war.

Somethings never change, except now we have no Selective Service to silence. But Mr. Lewis continued to protest, right up to his death on April 4, the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s death.

I can't tell you any better about Tom Lewis and his life than Scott Schaeffer-Duffy has at "Inside the Belly of the Beltway Beast." Also, BaltimoreSun offers another homage to this man's life work.

In the photo above, Mr. Lewis poses next to his award winning art at the Fitchburg Art Museum in 2004. He never stopped standing up for his beliefs and opposing those activities he knew to be wrong. He was among protesters outside of the White House in 2005 and more recently against Darfur at the Sudanese Embassy.

Perhaps more long lasting than even his part in history will be his art. Artists are the world's first activists and fiber artists know how to needle their art to get their voices heard. Tom certainly voices my sentiments about war: "No More War. War Never Again. Peace, it is peace which guides the destinies of people..." Amen. I hope he found his peace.

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