Anne Braden was a great person and a wonderful inspiration to several generations fo activists. Jimmy, Beth, and Anita were her children, but she had many many "adopted children" all over the place, whose lives she influenced -- and will continue to influence for years to com.
- David Nolan
I was asked by Colorlines to do an interview with Anne several years ago. She understood class profoundly, though she is mostly recognized for her lifelong fight against white supremacy.
She worked from morning til late at night for the KY Alliance & SOC never thinking about herself. She will live in our hearts & memories. She set the standard for never waivering commitment to the movement for racial, economic & social justice.
- June Rostan
I was privileged to get the chance to organize together with Anne and C.T. Vivian, one of Dr. King's closest associates as we, together, created the National Anti-Klan Network in 1979. The Klan was rising again and Anne had a lot of experience with their attacks throughout her life. I was the Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights and we put together a national network against the klan which later became known as the Center for Democratic Renewal, putting a positive spin on what we were trying to do.
The Klan had announced that there would be no more black marches in Alabama and we all went there to make clear that we were marching -- blacks and whites and other races together and that we were not going away. It was a dangerous day. You could feel the tension in the air and you could see that there were tons of weapons on both sides -- the Alabama National Guard on one side of us and the Klansmen on the other. Anne was clear that her work and our work was to help whites understand racism and to join the struggle -- and to be in solidarity wherever we could be with the African American Community.
She was a great teacher -- mainly by the way she modeled her life. We have to raise up some new Anne Braden clones now because we can't do without her vision and persistence.
- Marilyn Clement, Healthcare-NOW
I met Anne when I was 19 years old and itching to do some social justice work. Immediately upon meeting her, I knew she was a woman who had done great things, I could just feel the fire of this humble woman radiating from her soul. I was so incredibally inspired, knowing that this small woman from little ol'looaville kentucky, had stared down the huge beast of kentucky's institutionalized and socially accepted racism. I was inspired to fight because Anne never quit, no matter how far away victory seemed. Because of my involvement with the Alliance, I spent the last 10 years as a union, political and community organizer. Thank you Anne for continuing to inspire, for continuing to build. You changed the course of racial politics. You will be missed.
- Sherry Wright, AFSME
She got it. Anne got it. she understood very early how to connect the dots and she was one of few who made those connections about the relationship between racism and international issues of peace and justice. One of my early learnings came from Anne's piece on the peace movement and its inherent racism. I think it broke some ground for many whites on this question of whites organizing within around race and what walls needed (white supremacy) needed to be torn down. Her work and legacy will continue. Thank you Anne for your courage and the strength it gave to so many.
My question: where are the next generation of Anne Braden. Now is when we need them. Young people need to hear the lessons taught by people such as this. Today is a massive rally against the anti-immigration and racist actions of this government. They marched from the westside of Chicago and they came out of shops, and restaurants and small businesses. yes, this is the people's movement that needs to be fueled. Our democracy, our freedom and the justice that is due to the world happens when the people speak. Anne, we will miss you. but your work will not be in vain. Peace
- Mary Scott Boria
Anne's passing reminded me that we also lost another of our "firestarters" since that panel at the Sonoma Gathering - Tim Sampson. I'm so thankful that we were able to hear from and honor them as organizers. I'm sure both of them and many other long-time organizers receive honors in the community, but it is extremely important to receive recognition from peers for a life well-lived in the long struggle and for racial and economic justice. Anne and Carl and Tim all brought a joyfulness to the work as well. It makes me thankful again for NOA and for all the many companeras and companeros I have met and gathered with over the years.
- Cathy Howell, AFL-CIO, Willmington, NC
Anne Braden always showed generosity towards young people wanting to learn how to fight for social change. I have a personal debt to the Bradens as role models of lives lived honorably for peace and justice. As a teenager in Louisville, I looked upon their example with awe. Years later, when People for Amnesty won the fight against federal indictments against ten of us who were Vietnam war resisters in the 70s, Carl Braden sat next to my father at a victory press conference where I spoke. It is a special memory. We need to hold the stories of our warriors for justice close to our hearts.
- Walter Davis, Southern Empowerment Project, Maryville, TN
I am sorry to hear about Anne's passing. I went to her "master class" session that was part of the Firestarters event at Gathering V, and just loved how open and clear she was about her passion for justice and the people who do the work of justice. She seemed both tough-as-nails and extraordinarly compassionate. I am in the midst of Taylor Branch's third book about America in the King years, and as I was reading the passages about the reaction of African Americans in Lowndes County to the march from Selma to Montgomery, I was overcome with emotion and started crying in my cereal this morning. I have the utmost respect for Anne and Carl and the thousands of others who suppored the civil rights movement with fearless dedication. I doubt that Anne will rest in peace until justice reigns on Earth, but that is fitting for a woman who will probably raise hell in heaven.
- James Mumm, Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition _______________________________________________________
I was talking to Patrick about the death on yet another key leader from the past and we talked about how it would be nice if somehow we (NOA) can honor his or her work. Then I reminded him that she was one of our fire – starters at GV along with Tim Sampson, Dolores Huerta (my heroin), and Mandy Carter and it reminded me of a newsletter that I had posted on my bulletin board that I wanted share. It is below
- Idida Perez, West Town Leadership United, Chicago, IL
On the Fire-starters panel, veteran anti-racist organizer Anne Braden focused on the future of the movement.
“For white people we have an overwhelming challenge right now. White supremacy, I like that term better than racism, it’s more descriptive of what we mean and you don't have to get into endless arguments about whether people of color can be racist. I'm really totally convinced if it weren't for the hold that white supremacy has---not only on the power structure of this country but on the minds of white people --- this revolution would have happened a long time ago."
“A lot of it is us white folks who consider ourselves anti-racist---we get in the habit of talking to other white people who already agree with us because that’s more comfortable. We have to have more conscious reaching out to those people who've been misled. They've been lied to for 400 years as to where their interests lie. We need to break through so they can see that instead of people of color movements being the enemy, to see that that’s where they need to be for their future.
“We want to build an anti-racist majority. You don't have to have all white folks, but we’ve got to have more than we have now. I called my class ‘ Building a multi-ethnic organization in a racist society,’ led by people of color. That’s what we have to do.
“We also need not just political but economic education. People don’t understand the economy. The people running it, I think deliberately, make it as confusing as possible so we don’t think we can understand it. I wish I understood it better. Don’t forget, we had a decade or more, in the late ‘40s, ‘50s and even early ‘60s when it was subversive, and I mean subversive, you could go to jail…. you were a traitor if you questioned the capitalist economic system.”
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