Weekend Voices 1/03/09

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

Audio contributed by: Meredith DeFrancesco, Eric Olson, Jim Harney

Music from School of the Americas Annual Protest at Ft. Benning, GA

Today we pay tribute to Bangor resident—and world citizen—Jim Harney, who died on December 26th at age 68.

Harney was former Catholic priest, and one of the Milwaukee 14, a group of priests and faith-based peace activists who broke into draft boards and burned about 10,000 Selective Service records with homemade napalm in a protest against the Vietnam War in 1968.  They read from the gospel while the records burned.  He spent more than a year in jail for his part in that protest.

In recent years many of us knew Jim Harney through the faces and voices of others that he shared through his photographs and stories.  The photographs of people he met in Iraq have adorned pins and posters, putting a real face on war.  Jim traveled extensively in Latin America, interviewing and photographing people whose stories might not otherwise be told— the poor, survivors of systemic economic violence, those struggling for change.  He accompanied them on their journeys–  running with his friends in El Salvador as US bombs rained down on them, sleeping in the mud in the corn fields, crossing the desert with the undocumented.

After learning he had terminal cancer,  Harney planned a walk  from Boston to Washington DC last summer, to call attention to the plight of the undocumented.  He was able to make it as far as Rhode Island.

In December 2008, Jim Harney was given the Sacco & Vanzetti Social Justice Award from Community Church of Boston— an award that over it’s more than 30 year history has also been presented to Howard Zinn, Scott and Helen Nearing, Cesar Chavez and Rachel Corie.

FMI: www.posibilidad.org, celebratingjim.net/, www.soaw.org