Sunday, June 20, 2010

A voice from our history

If you were listening to NPR this morning (doesn't everybody?) you might have heard this story about dangerous pesticides in use in the strawberry fields in California.

The story was interesting in itself, but what jumped out at me was this quote:

"This is very likely — because of its chemical structure — to be highly toxic," says John Froines, a chemist and professor of environmental health sciences at UCLA. "It is very worrisome, even frightening, to a chemist. And therefore it should be to the public as well."

Does the name sound familiar? I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't, but John Froines was one of the "forgotten" members of the Chicago Eight. He and Lee Weiner (I used to work with his daughter) were acquitted by the jury of all charges, and what they had in common was that unlike the other defendants, neither would have been considered a "professional" activist at the time.

His work is a good reminder that, regardless of how much attention our work may or may not get, we can continue doing good, socially constructive work, throughout our lives.

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