UT professor Robert Jensen shared an intellectual connection with Abe Osheroff that was strong enough that they could each feed off each other’s knowledge. Osheroff craved the thoughts and opinions of Jensen, while Jensen learned from a wise activist.
The film, “Abe Osheroff: One Foot in the Grave, the Other Still Dancing,” showed a timeline format of involvement Osheroff had in the world being an activist, but also allowed Osheroff to comment on the struggles he faced through his dedication.
During the times of segregation in 1964, Osheroff helped build a community center in Mississippi. During this period of time “you could kill black people and brag about it,” Osheroff said in the film. But he was type of man who went off his gut feeling to know what was the right thing to do. Though his house had more than 1,000 bullet holes, he said he felt “wonderful because I got to live inside a black life.”
In 1986, Osheroff and two of his sons helped build houses in Nicaragua after the war of political involvement of the United States in Central America. Osheroff said in the film he had helped build houses for two reasons: 1. to build publicity for American people through the American press and 2. to inform Americans on what Reagan was was doing to the Nicaraguan people.
In February 2007, Osheroff spoke at Seattle Community College encouraging the younger generations to get involved and active into a nation where the empire is falling apart. “A crisis is coming,” Osheroff said, “Can there be a better world? Possible but necessary. It is probable through human activity.”
Osheroff considered himself fortunate enough to not only say what being an activist is, but to know because he lived it. “History is made by organized anger.”
“When getting involved in politics, there has to be a willingness to take risks,” said Jensen. Losing friends and jobs can be a part of the process of being an activist, but remembering what you stand for is important.
Getting people to be active is a process while the inequality gap continues to grow. “Privilege is anonymous to the people who have it,” Jensen said.