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Howard Zinn was a historian, playwright, and social activist.

He left this Earth in 2010, but what he left behind is a legacy of the written and spoken word that still affects people today.

His body of work talks a lot about the struggle of everyday people to make a difference in the world — often despite incredible forces aligned against them.

He also covered history and politics from a point of view that is almost never represented in our culture — that of the people rather than those in power.


I often say that when I took history in high school and college, there were a lot of books about "this rich white guy that did this, and this rich white guy did that." It was when I discovered Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States" that the lights really came on for me.

I began to realize that my culture and background — son of a union man who worked a blue-collar job in Iowa — had as much to do with history and who changed the course of it as anybody's. One man can spend $100 million and change something, but millions of workers demanding an eight-hour day ? Tens of millions of people in the streets, demanding civil rights? That's how massive change happens.

Howard was also a great orator. The following is a quote from a debate at Johns Hopkins University.


Quote graphic via ChicagoNow.com. (Watch actor Matt Damon perform the speech!)

Here's the full quote:

"As soon as you say the topic is civil disobedience, you are saying our problem is civil disobedience. That is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is the numbers of people all over the world who have obeyed the dictates of the leaders of their government and have gone to war, and millions have been killed because of this obedience. And our problem is that scene in All Quiet on the Western Front where the schoolboys march off dutifully in a line to war. Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world, in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves, and all the while the grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem."

The transcript of the entire speech lives on this page. It you'd like to read it, like in treeware form, it's available in the usual places.

He was about as antiwar as you can be, knowing that all wars inevitably mean killing innocents.

Here's another quote I love:

Quote graphic from Polstar's Short Attention Span.

When I discovered this video of him talking about activists looking back fondly on their lives, it really hit home with me.

It's from the documentary "#ReGENERATION," and it's a fabulous 90 seconds of wisdom about those very people who become active, take things to the streets, and create change right in front of our eyes.

GIF via "#ReGENERATION."

At times, it looks like he has wistful tears in his eyes when he recounts his life of advocacy and action. Maybe it will resonate with you, too?

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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