John, today you heard from some of the many people that you to have influenced and touched. I hope this puts an end to your winning about how your students don’t ever listen to you. But seriously, when I think about your influence on others I can’t help but to think about your influence on me and I can’t think of anyone that has been touched as deeply by you than me.
I think back to when I arrive in Michigan as a very young and naïve student (I was 25 and Kiko was 2 years old). I had no idea of the exciting life that was ahead of me. I came to the “belly of the beast” to get a Master’s degree and leave as soon as possible. Little did I know that I would end up staying for the next 36 year! I came to the US with all the preconceived notions about the “ugly gringos”, as someone that grew up in the last remaining colony of the US. For me, the gringos were pale as paper, unemotional, selfish, narrow minded, ignorant of almost everything, and most of all uninteresting. But then I met you and you introduced me to a wonderful community of people who wanted to change the world. And I realized that the ignorant and narrow minded was me.
It’s been 36 years since we met. You have been my teacher, mentor, friend, colleague, comrade, companions, lover, as of a few years ago, my husband. Our partnership is a big part of who I am and I hope that it is also a big part of who you are.
But we are here to celebrate you, not us. I really admire your passion for science and social justice. And it is that passion that has inspired so many of your students.
Several times today we heard about John’s legendary lack of sleep. Well, John, I guess it is true, you may have to work harder, sleep less. You can’t retire since you have not accomplished everything you set out to do. Capitalism still exist! There is still poverty and war. In short, we have not achieved utopia yet. But, listening to all the talks today I am not worry. I am confident of that those that influenced you (like Dick Levins) and those that you have influenced will continue weaving the fabric of a more just society. And eventually we will get there.
I know how much you love this quote from Bertol Brech, so I will end with it:
“Hay gente que luchan un día y son buenos. Hay otros que luchan un año y son mejores. Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida, esos son los imprescindibles”
There are people who fight one day and are good . There are others that fight for a year and are better. Some fight for many years and are very good. But there are those who struggle all their lives , these are the essential
John, garcias por ser inprescindible!