Yesterday my daughter and I had the honor and privilege of attending the 90th birthday party of longtime activist Molly Klopot. The room at the Manhattan Community Church was filled with over 75 of her friends, some of which have known Molly for over 45 years. My daughter spent many hours working with Molly as a mentor in her WILPF New York City offices.
For those of you who don’t know her, first of all you should, and let me say she is the sweetest, yet toughest women I have ever met. At 90, she stands straight as an arrow, and fights the good fight every day of her life. Her t-shirt read “We Will Not Be Silent,” and Molly told everyone that she lives by that motto.
In the room were women who would inspire Rev. King, although they don’t appear on media outlets, or receive the vast amount of national attention that they all deserve. They are women of passion and convinction. Molly has been an active member of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom or WILPF, which was founded in 1915 when women met in The Hague to protest against World War I, and suggest ways to end it. She is the New York local chapter president, and although legally blind, she doesn’t let that stop her for one second.
She worked alongside Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Daniel Ellsberg and Alice Slater on the Global Security and Peace Committee, part of the “We, The World” organization. Molly was one of the founding members of “Not In Our Name” or NION, which started at the outset of 2001 when the anti-war movement was just rising up out of the ashes to stop this country from yet another illegal invasion of a sovereign nation.
She belongs to the Granny Peace Brigade, Grandmothers Against the War, and is on the streets demanding peace and justice. In this room filled with long-time activists, were Joan Wile, Joan Pleune, and Lillian Pollack, to name a few. These women have taken the lead to show the world how to live with peace and justice, but are not given the recognition that they deserve.
Joan Wile recently authored the book “Grandmothers Against the War: Getting Off Our Fannies and Standing Up for Peace,” which I would recommend to all. Lillian Pollack, who is 94 years old, wrote her own book “The Sweetest Dream: Love, Lies & Assassination.” Lillian recently accompanied me to a rowdy protest against military recruiters just 2 weeks ago. Joan Pleune, has been fighting against wars since the 1960’s, when she was part of the “freedom rides,” and her story can be found in the book “Freedom Riders: Struggle for Justice”. She wound up serving time for her exercising her first amendment rights.
These were just a few of the brave and courageous women I spent my Saturday afternoon with. They are awe inspiring. I do not need to read a book by Howard Zinn or Noam Chomsky. These are the people who have fought the good fight, and still are. We should honor all of them for giving us the freedom to keep going, to speak truth to power, and never be discouraged.
As Molly said: “I am just an average person, who was a part of history…” There is nothing average about Molly Klopot, or any of the other people in that room yesterday. Take notice of them, they have not put down their swords of righteousness yet! And I am right behind them.