Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Marla Ruzicka, Presente!!

Marla and I met during Medea Benjamin's Green Party senatorial campaign five years ago. I had signed on as Medea's labor liaison, which meant I had frequent contact with Marla during the course of the campaign. She was a bundle of boundless energy, enthusiasm and optimism - almost always in constant motion. Her radiant smile brought warmth to any room she occupied. Her magnetic personality drew volunteers to the campaign in huge numbers.

When the Bush administration launched its cruel military invasions of Afghanistan and later Iraq, another dimension of Marla took center stage - her deep abiding humanity and compassion for her fellow human beings. After her trips to these war torn countries, she returned to the U.S. with an iron-willed determination to make a difference.

I listened to her reports and passionate appeals and like so many others was moved to help. Marla would not accept rejection. "No" and "can't do" were not in her vocabulary. She would not allow anyone to dismiss her or to trivialize her message. She pursued potential supporters, funders, and members of Congress with relentless resolve.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be .... The nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists." Marla was the kind of extremist Dr. King would have embraced. Her passion for social justice was boundless and inspiring to all who came into contact with her.

She has passed us the torch and it is now up to us to carry it on.

Marla Ruzicka, Presente!!

Michael Eisenscher
National Organizer
US Labor Against the War