Remembering an Area Activist

I’ve attended some Occupy Youngstown and Frackfree Mahoning Valley events over the years. I’m sorry to say not as many as I’d have liked to. Some events are on Saturdays which many times is the worst day of the week for me to attend anything. Other times I’d like to attend events I am struggling with my arthritis. Fact is I’m making excuses and need to get my ass moving and try to be more of an activist. I really appreciate most activists and I’m glad they make up for my slack.

Here is part of a blog I wrote about attending an Occupy Youngstown event in 2011:

“Other folks I saw at Occupy Youngstown were people holding signs and waving to passing motorists, a woman in a wheelchair, a young mother pushing her baby in a stroller, people dropping off  fire wood and an occupier busy sweeping the area and tidying up things. I also saw and heard people I thought had a little too much B.S., ones who were a little flaky, ones who were a little too full of themselves, ones who were too bossy, a young girl trying to act older bugged me, and one woman annoyed me because she wanted people to keep chanting parts of things that were said. On the other hand, I am getting a little old and cranky. I’m going to scowl at you if you ask me to chant something, to sing along, to dance or tell me to smile. Who are all of the above people I’ve been talking about? They are our neighbors, our workmates, our relatives, acquaintances, our brothers and sister fellow Americans, they are us the 99%. Because the 99% includes so many people of various backgrounds we are going to have people we love, some we tolerate and some who the jury is still out on.  All together they are people who I am glad are committed to making this country better. These people at the Occupy movements are your representatives not those bought and paid for suits in Columbus or D.C. These people are disgruntled because they know as a nation we can do better and they’ve taken to the streets to point out we need to take care of Main Street not Wall Street.”

I believe one of those activist that day (unless my memory is shot) was Patti Gorcheff. I’m sad to say I believe she was either the bossy one or the one that had us chant. I believe it was the chanter, but I could be wrong. Patty just passed away the other day, so I’m willing to bet some people remember her as bossy and some as a cheerleader. Truth is I’m a bit shy and don’t go enough out of my way to meet people. I’d like to be more outgoing but as I age I’m turning into a rugged indoorsman. That means I didn’t get to know Patti very well. I noticed from interacting with her on social media that we shared many passions and causes. From the good things I’ve heard about her not getting to know her was my loss.

The real loss is losing young (I say young as she was a few years younger than me) activist like Patti. As I’ve gotten older I appreciate people’s bossiness and cheerleading. That is if they are doing it for a cause that will make that better world for my kids. With age, comes the need to be bossy and more of a cheerleader. That is because you have more of an urgency to see snippets of that better world you want for your children while you are still here. I’m sorry to hear of Patti’s passing as we can’t afford to lose anymore warriors. Patti was the kind of environmentalist that believed a better world was possible. The kind of world where freedom, justice and equality are just as part of nature as air, water, forest and mountains.  Blessings to activist like Patti who have bottomless pockets on their hearts. My children and I thank her for planting the seeds for that better world. Peace to you and your family Patti.

Here is a poem for Patti by my favorite poet, Peter Maurin:

“What Makes Man Human”

1. To give and not to take
   that is what makes man human.
2. To serve and not to rule
   that is what makes man human.
3. To help and not to crush
   that is what makes man human.
4. To nourish and not to devour
   that is what makes man human.
5. And if need be
   to die and not to live
   that is what makes man human.
6. Ideals and not deals
   that is what makes man human.
7. Creed and not greed
   that is what makes man human.

Mike Stout at Occupy Youngstown part 1

Occupy Youngstown: Part 2

“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.”

~ Shannon L. Alder














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2 responses to “Remembering an Area Activist

  1. Jim Jordan

    Just keep moving, Jim, and those “old” bones will be just fine. Wish I had met Patty. You know it’s nice to be an advocate both in speaking and writing, but it’s the “doers” who really stand out and make a difference. YOU ARE BOTH!

  2. Anonymous

    Writing is doing! You are an activist. So…write more! I’ve got to do the same.

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