Fran Boehm Memorial – Speech Notes – PDF

Robert Boehm at the Center for Constitutional Rights President’s Reception

2006 Fran Boehm Memorial Notes

A few weeks ago—in fact two—feb 11–1 took the train out to the five towns forum–

You all know what that is—meets 10- months a year —discusses the political issues of the day-

No speaker is too controversial-no issue that not willing to handle-no matter its unpopularity—

Founded by among others Fran—and bob—at a very difficult time in the 50’s at the demise of American labor party and midst of mccarthy­ Think about that the courage it took to do it —in long island no less—but Fran did it-and stuck with it-

Fran was the chairperson for decades—(Al and Shelley dorfman carry it on) Demonstration of courage; long term commitment to radical politics; life as an activist—

I was the speaker that evening—not always my favorite-cold-far­ Friday—

Fran and bob important —-and 5 towns impt—

Normally both bob and fran would be there—-

Lived in city-but almost never missed a forum in 50 years-even vacations Different this time-bob was there-Fran was in the hospital—-

But I was sure·she would get better—- !am sure we all had the same thought–in her 90’s she seemed like she was in her 60’s—-or less-50’s­ vibrant wiry, outspoken, kinetic energy—I was actually confident—-

Went up to bob to say hello—

Moving moment-I said-I hear she is doing a bit better—

Bob-big tears rolling down his face—i wish I could do more to help her–­ He knew-I didn’t——-impossible—

Talk took place in the Boehm library—imagine—public library-room devoted to to radical politics of Fran—

But it is a legacy of not just a physical space-but what she did-what she stood for—-

And think-although she was not there–!was; and in a few weeks the Cuban ambassador will be—and after that others –and then-

What Fran stood for—goes on—as radical and outraged as ever—­

-in some way we are all her children—– (rode back with emma brier—)

Fran-a long history of outspoken political activism—and organizing Predated my knowing Fran-which began in 1971 at nlg convention n in boulder-still recall them giving us a ride-almost 60–

And for over 35 years at ccr—-

year of ccr founding in 1966-to new Orleans-cofo v rainery-sheriff of miss-receivership—

CCR Honored Fran in 2002-35 anniversary-support– and with bob keeping us honest politically—no straying—

Fran Gave a talk–looked for it and could not find–

But did find something she said about how she became radical—credited bob—-

Middle class Wisconsin—! don’t know if the whole story–

But know what some of her friends have said—

They tell me that sometimes–on a rare occasion bob became enamored of a liberal—Fran would yell at him and bring back into the fold—-

Always knew where she was-spoke her mind—not mince words-

The Partnership of fran and bob worked-in best sense—supporting struggles for social justice—never veering from it—

As I said her political activism predated my knowing her— Fran’s work and history is the history of

latter half of the 20th century

progressive movement—

Civil rights-to women’s strike for peace

From the anti war movement to the anti imperialist movement­ She was radical to the core—

Trolled around: 1. supported 150 ann of communist manifesto

2. PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST : AN OPEN LETTER FROM AMERICAN JEWS TO OUR GOVERNMENT —-

3 .Open Letter To United Nations Secretary-General Kofi

We urge the UN Secretary-General and U .N . members to act now or stand condemned as accomplices of aggression

Fran-   said she and bob-spent most of their adult life trying to combat injustice and inequality—not have a better purpose in life—

Shelly dorfman said-Fran lived the way I would like to—keep going til the end—-

A friend who is here gave her the ultimate compliment—“A traitor to her class”——the kind of traitor we sorely need more of in todays   world—

We miss Fran terribly-but her work, optimism, fighting spirit, radicalness and humanity live in all of us—

Tributes: Ron Daniels and Michael Ratner Amy Goodman—–

joe hill

Remembrances: Bob Boehm Wendy Olesker-daugher­ Diane Boehm–daughter Katie Olesker–grandchild

Makeba Seargeant–grandchild Daniel Winarick-grand child

I had the strangest dream

Jeffrey Rozran-frans twins brother son—-nephew–­ Hans lochner – austria

Blowing in wind

Open-marcus raskin— Al dorfman

Sal russo