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Passing of Zinn

Mara Trionfero | Tuesday, February 2, 2010

 Amidst the news of President Obama’s State of the Union Address, Haiti relief efforts, J.D. Salinger’s death and Notre Dame’s “Spirit of Inclusion” debate, a noteworthy event went without its due attention: the passing of Dr. Howard Zinn. I encourage you to spend a few minutes getting to know Dr. Zinn — veteran, activist, professor, writer, historian and passionate speaker. Pick up “A People’s History of the United States” or Google his name to better understand Matt Damon’s praise of Zinn’s work in “Good Will Hunting” over a decade ago. Writing to include the plight of overlooked groups of people and sharing the perspective of the conquered overlooked in standard history texts, “People’s History” is a must read for all persons of conscience to better understand the experience of all Americans in history. Many lives have been changed and refocused after having read this book. And he lived it; growing up in the slums, picketing with the workers, traveling to Vietnam with Fr. Daniel Berrigan, challenging the “establishment” and his superiors in academia. Dr. Zinn reminded each of us that “You can’t be neutral on a moving train,” and I pray that his legacy of action and exposition on behalf of the poor and marginalized will be remembered by the Notre Dame community. Rest in Peace Howard Zinn; as one of your admirers I will refuse neutrality in the fight for justice.

Mara Trionfero
St. Liam’s
Jan. 29