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A Blast from the past – a poster for “Survivors from Hiroshima” – a delegation of two on their way to the Second Special Session for Disarmament – June, 1982

August 19, 2022

Survivors from Hiroshima – June 2, 1982

Nancy is gong through old cabinets and closets trying to throw out “stuff”. As anyone knows who has tried, it’s hard. Classic example: she found a drawing – probably done by our daughter Molly in 1982. It is on the backside of the poster in this picture. The post brought back a flood of memories.

The speakers:

Dr. Carl Johnson – The Jefferson County Public Health director who insisted on testing the ground and water nearby what was then the Rocky Mountain Nuclear Power Plant. He found both the ground and the water polluted with radioactive contamination, a fact which would be key to the growth of a movement to close the plant (which happened in 1989). He was rewarded for his heroic (a word I rarely use) work by being fired by the county board under pressure from developers and real estate interests hoping to cash in on the surrounding area, polluted or not.

Ellen Lavroff (actually Dr. Ellen Lavroff) – who taught Spanish at what today is Front Range Community College and spearheaded a union drive in the community colleges statewide. Along with Nick Ulibarri, Korean War Veteran, Ellen and I traveled the length of the state of Colorado trying to outsmart the State Board for Community Colleges that was always trying to hide their board meetings from us. Ellen went on to become the president of the Colorado Federation of Teachers and once ran for the presidency of the American Federation of Teachers against what was then the Al Shanker political machine. She lost but kicked Shanker in the shins (politically) or maybe a little bit higher. She had one “bad habit” smoking. In the early 1990s she developed throat cancer which killed her in a few months.

Wilma Webb – The wife of soon to be Denver Mayor Wellington Webb and a force in her own right. A member of the Colorado state legislature for many years and a strong promoter of funding minority cultural programs. She died in 2019.. Both Wilma and Wellington would go on to become important players in the Democratic Party nationally.

Lorraine Garcia – for many years spearheaded the work of the American Friends Service Committee in Denver. The daughter of a union worker in the city’s meat packing industry. That union was one of the strongest and most militant unions in Colorado history – its history written up in a work by the late Dick Gould. Lorraine was influential in getting the area around the old Asarco Plant condemned as a superfund site for clean up with federal funds. She remained an effective  community organizer in minority and working class neighborhood of  northeast Denver (Globeville) for many years.

If I remember correctly – one of the Japanese speakers was from Hiroshima, the other from Nagasaki. They had flown in from Japan to San francisco and stopped in Denver on their way to the Second Special Session on Disarmament at the United Nations shortly after visiting us. In conjunction with that Special Session, peace, union and civil rights groups organized a demonstration in favor of nuclear disarmament in Central Park at which a million people were in attendance. It was described recently in an article in the Jacobin by one Michael Myerson.

One Comment leave one →
  1. William Watts permalink
    August 19, 2022 5:34 pm

    Thank you. I remember this.

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