[HCCN] Jim Harney: Hay que resistir

Judy Robbins jrobbins at mainecoastmail.com
Thu Feb 5 20:41:10 EST 2009

from the Bangor Daily News February 4th

James William Harney

BANGOR - James William Harney died Dec. 26, 2008, surrounded by his  
beloved community. Jim was born Feb. 26, 1940, to James and Ellen  
Harney, in Cambridge, Mass. Jim lived his work and vision of peace  
and justice until his last days. His living and his dying were  
offered freely as a gift to others, helping us to redefine the  
meanings of the word "love." This life of commitment began four  
months after ordination as a priest in May 1968, when Jim was  
arrested with several other priests as part of the Milwaukee 14, in  
protest of the Vietnam War. After a prison term for that action, Jim  
"fell in love with the whole world, one person at a time" and spent  
the next 40 years moving thousands of people and audiences through  
his photographs and stories taken on numerous trips to places of  
great suffering and hope. These included trips to war zones in El  
Salvador, accompanying refugees in flight; trips to Guatemala and  
Chiapas, Mexico; trips to the Afro-Columbian areas of Columbia; trips  
to Haiti and the Dominican Republic; trips to Iraq; and trips to the  
Mexican border. A popular educator and a wandering scholar, Jim was  
inspired by stories from those whose voices are the least heard - the  
world's poor. He named his photos the "Faces of Hope," and aimed  
through them to honor the dignity of each person he encountered. He  
held a deep sense of gratitude for the generosity and simple joys of  
humble people across the globe. Jim channeled the voices of the  
silenced "majority" world, calling on the comfortable minority to  
adopt a deeper sense of responsibility. Jim developed a penetrating  
analysis of the structures of violence and oppression that create  
such suffering and inequality. When Jim was given the 2008 Sacco and  
Vanzetti Social Justice Award, one speaker said, "If Jim were here, I  
am sure he would ask, 'What does it mean that 500 human beings could  
fill this room and possess more wealth than three billion human  
beings on the planet?'" Obsessed with this question, Jim adopted the  
Financial Times of London as his "Bible," exploring how the global  
financial system came down hardest on the lives of the poor. He saw  
the present financial crisis totally in terms of its impact on the  
Earth's most vulnerable people. Jim called these exciting times and  
his own excitement was directed at the possibility of transformative  
social change. He often said we need to live "in the tension." In his  
final months he expressed the field of fundamental change as the  
"social imaginary." Jim's parting words to all his compa?eros, near  
and far, were "I want to tell you I love you. I want to tell you  
goodbye and wish you well in the struggle and challenge ahead. There  
is no other time but now." Grateful that Jim Harney lived and loved  
are his many compa?eros; his life-partner, Nancy Minott of Bangor;  
her daughters, Kristina Minott and Jennifer Gibney; "Ga's"  
granddaughter, Kaitlyn; sister, Mary Happas and her husband, Louis,  
of Falmouth, Mass., Catherine Ronchetti and her husband, William, of  
Medford, Mass., and Eileen Monaco and her husband, Frank, of Malden,  
Mass.; nieces, Jeannette Ben-Shlomo, Mary Monaco and Andrea Fricia;  
and nephews, James, Christopher and Kenneth Happas and Anthony  
Ronchetti. Jim was predeceased by his parents; and nephews, Stephen  
and Louis Happas. A memorial service will be held 2 p.m. Feb. 21 at  
Hampden Highlands United Methodist Church, Hampden. Gifts in memory  
of Jim may be made to Posibilidad, the non-profit organization of  
which Jim was artist in residence.

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