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People’s Thanksgiving honors memory of Pat Hunt

By staff |
December 12, 2017
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Friends and fellow peace activists posed for a group photo in honor of Pat.
At the end of the dinner, friends and fellow peace activists posed for a group photo in honor of Pat. (Photo by Lofton Eminari)

Chicago, IL - The People’s Thanksgiving dinner is held each year as an anti-racist holiday event by Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) in Chicago. Usually a festive affair, this year included a note of sadness because local peace activist Pat Hunt had died only days earlier.

Pat had been a key leader in the anti-war movement in Chicago since 2004. As Libby Frank, her friend, said in her remarks at the dinner, “Pat became ‘woke’ after Bush was elected the second time. Launching the illegal and immoral war in Iraq and Afghanistan brought her into the anti-war movement.”

Pat was a co-founder of CODE Pink; a leader in the defense campaign for the anti-war and international solidarity activists raided by the FBI in 2010; and co-chair of the Coalition Against NATO/G8, which marched on the NATO Summit in Chicago in 2012. That march was the largest anti-war protest in the country during the Obama years. She also played a leading role in the Chicago Coalition Against War and Racism, and Chicago Area Peace Action, among other groups.

In his remarks about Pat, Joe Iosbaker of FRSO, said that she made him think of a story told by Mao Zedong, leader of the Chinese revolution. “In a talk given by Mao in 1944, he said, ‘All men must die, but death can vary in its significance…it may be weightier than Mount Tai or lighter than a feather. To die for the people is weightier than Mount Tai, but to work for the fascists and die for the exploiters and oppressors is lighter than a feather.”

“Pat Hunt lived for the people, she served the people,’ stated Iosbaker.

The Dec. 3 dinner also gave recognition awards to leaders from a number of struggles, including: John Palmer, a Teamster reformer elected Southern regional vice president on the anti-Hoffa slate last year; Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD), the most prominent leaders in the fight to stop deportations in Chicago; Armanda Shackleford, Bertha Escamilla, Carolyn Johnson, and Anabel Perez, all prominent activist mothers whose prisoner sons were tortured by Chicago cops; the Rasmea Defense Committee, the grass roots committee that led the historic fight for the beloved Palestinian community icon, Rasmea Odeh; and the Restore the 34 Movement, a militant group of Chicago Teachers Union members who defeated Mayor Emanuel when he moved to eliminate their jobs.

The program also included the talk by Frank Chapman of Freedom Road Socialist Organization (reprinted in Fight Back!); and a video message from Rasmea Odeh from Amman, Jordan. This year’s dinner, the 26th annual, raised $1400 for Fight Back!