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Dont Mourn – Organize! And Occupy!

NYC History NYC Story

Bennett and Harriet in the 1950s. Just look at those lovebirds!

My husband, the late Bennett Levy, liked to discuss many things during our wonderful 62 years together. Bennett was a vivacious character and a argumentative whirlwind. Nothing was off-topic, including what he would like to put on his tombstone. In Jewish tradition, one waits for a year before unveiling a loved ones’ headstone. My beloved Bennett passed away on October 9th, 2010.

Pop's headstone, undoubtably the most unorthodox stone in the NJ cemetery.

So, on the one-year anniversary, I had the headstone designers, along with the important name and dates, put his predetermined quote, “DON’T MOURNE- ORGANIZE!” for the unveiling. We knew that not only was it the only political tombstone in the entire cemetery in Paramus, NJ, but it was a perfect coda to a life fully lived. Those three words said a lot about my sweetheart.

Bennett during one of his many political marches.

While he was a sweet and loving man, he had definite opinions about how our world should be. We began our political action in the 1940s in a small leftwing Political Party, the American Labor Party. Then we worked in the Henry Wallace Progressive Party presidentital campaign of 1948. We continued with Ban the bomb, Hands Off Cuba and the Civil Rights movement in the ’60s. Together, we marched against the Vietnam war. He supported me when I went to the March on Washington in 1963 and heard Dr. King make his magnificent speech. We genuinely thought we could make a better world.

Jonah, Gramma & Matt at the Occupy Times Square Rally

I guess it hasn’t turned out that way just yet, but hell if we’re giving up! Last Saturday, I went to the tremendous Occupy Times Square protest with my son, Mark, his fiance, Alisa, and grandsons Matt and Jonah. I made my point clear with a handmade sign that stated, in no unequivocal terms, that “Three generations of Levys oppose Wall St. greed. People, not profits!” I might’ve been the oldest person at the Occupation, but that wasn’t going to stop me! (Remember – I play tennis is Central Park three times a week) I was so happy to see so many young people there, so passionate and so committed to what they believe in. It was a reminder of the days when Bennet and I spoke up for what we believed in; to work towards a world of peace with equality for all. To all the young people, Occupying Wall Street, or Times Square, or Washington DC, or anywhere in the world, I say:

Keep up the demonstrations, be persistant and constant. You can do it!

By Harriet (aka “Gramma”) Levy

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