Eulogizing Adam Shapiro
I had a real experience of Adam at his beautiful memorial service yesterday and was honored to be a part of the service. Thank-you for everyone that contributed to it being such a moving tribute to Adam, a beloved friend to so many!
Here is a text of my comments:
Adam Shapiro Memorial Speech
Thank you all for being in attendance today to honor the memory of Adam Shapiro, and special gratitude for all the folks that helped organize this memorial. I'd also like to extend my heartfelt condolences to his sisters and other family on their loss.
Adam Shapiro, my dear friend, was a most uncommon man.
He was gifted with great intelligence, sensitivity and a wickedly sharp sense of humor. Although he was visually-challenged, he saw truths that alluded many with full sight. He wanted and demanded justice, not for himself, but as a person of faith, for all of God's creations. While some in his situation might have felt cheated and owed something in life, he never did! Instead, he rolled up his sleeves, and became a progressive activist and throughout his life worked tirelessly for the changes that he believed in. He was not disabled, rather, he was blessed with many different gifts of which he made the most of.
We met more than 10 years ago through our involvement with the Green Party, and soon discovered that we had much in common. We were both raised in the same faith on Long Island, were approximately of the same age, and had our world views shaped by the same events - the Cold War, the Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam War, even the EST training in the 70s. We shared a passion for music, and a fervent belief that we collectively could create a better future. When he became involved with progressive electoral politics, he knew little about the process, but in his unique way, was confident that justice could only be achieved by electing leaders that would legislate in the interests of people, all people. He was fond of quoting Malcolm X, whom had pointed out that revolutionary change could come about only “by the ballot or by the bullet”. Being peace-loving as he was, he was clear on which option was the obvious path, and he was eager to take on whatever task would bring us closer to this goal. Never having facilitated a meeting, he agreed to facilitate the very first annual meeting he attended. He then took on the roles of County Co-Chair, State Co-Chair, Membership coordinator, and Delegate to the National Party.
Often, he and I would speak about the burden of responsibility and the difficulty in organizing a political party in a southern, non-registration state with a such a formidable ballot access barrier, that it was too much hard work, that progress was allusive, and that we should just quit it all, and relax and enjoy life. Then we would share a good laugh in the realization that our commitment to change would never allow us to abandon this struggle that we had dedicated ourselves to, and that had become a large part of who we were.
Adam was many things to many people, but to me he was a dear friend and an ally that I will never forget, and in his absence, while our lives are diminished by the loss, our lives will always be the enriched by our experiences of Adam and the beneficiaries of the loving memories of his unique gifts and gentle and kind spirit.