“You Are My Hero”

The responses to “Reflections on 2015” were heartwarming. With personal content deleted, they included:

Thanks for sharing these wise, heartfelt reflections.  Now that the holidays are over, I’m off fancy desserts, but I appreciate the rich food for thought.


Just to let you know…I found your New Year analysis simply terrific–in its point of view, the observations made, and the lucidity and grace of the writing. I too believe that the capacity for compassion is the key to a better society and world, that an enlightened cultural mindset is the key to positive social and political change, and that both personal and social psychological dynamics can undermine both strains of potential progress. For that latter problem, your call for “intimate direct action” through home-based support groups continues to hold promise. Thanks for sharing this insightful assessment. It comes closer to capturing both the truth about where we stand as a nation, and the reasons why, than any recent editorial piece I’ve come across from a big-name progressive commentator. Best of luck to you in 2016!


Indeed, this is wonderful. Thanks for taking the time to write it and send it. Born in 1941 on October 4, I have experienced the times about which you are writing.

I retired from teaching in February 2009, eager to be part of the reform of democracy that I expected with President Obama. I was unprepared for the anger and hate that would be revealed, though we were able to elect him.

I feel we are going through an upheaval that is stirring the pot to keep the contents from burning. Little by little, as those of us who have lost our financial security continue to adjust and overcome, we are able to bring with us those for whom the recession was even worse. I feel I was working so hard to help the ESL children in my classroom, as well as those with identified disabilities, that unions were busted & Congress went awry under my nose without my awareness. I am grateful to see the social progress but saddened to realize the extent to which education has gone down the drain, particularly since education has been my focus all my life.

Currently, I’m for Bernie Sanders. I’m not eager to see Bill Clinton in the White House. I think Hillary will do her best, but she is too hawkish for me.

I am not at all surprised at Trump’s popularity. While I enjoy neither TV nor movies (I prefer non-fiction), I see others binge on all sorts of things I would not waste my time watching. ‘Reality’ TV is unreal to my way of life, but entertaining to those who want to escape. Nature is my true salvation, and I’m glad to be in California where I can enjoy her 24/7.

I am looking forward to 2016. A dear friend, my children’s god-mother, is receiving hospice. We have known each other since 1969; it is so strange not to be able to call her at will. Still, we don’t live forever, and my memories of Shirley Girlie will continue to be exquisite!

I think Obama has done his best and will continue in that vein for the upcoming year. I have grown up the past seven years, realizing that I can’t always get what I want, though I may feel what I want for the world is RIGHT. I’m looking forward to ‘My Brother’s Keeper,’ one project Obama will continue.

I now have two great granddaughters. The older is 6, the younger 5 months. I bought Obama’s book to his daughters for my two girls.

This year I will take time for myself. … My health is good. So is that of my three dogs. I am grateful.

Very Happy New Year to you Wade. I have enjoyed your work over the years, and I will take time to read and participate once again.


Good thoughts, Wade, thanks.  Best wishes for a happy 2016.


My mother never told me that I’d be a great man.  I always told myself that.  But good to hear other’s response to this conundrum.


It’s sure to be a Happy New Year for you, from what was contained in this reflection.  Was very solid and clear; very personal and “political…”  

…Have several people – from the 60s to whom I’ll forward this  – knowing that they will appreciate both your expanding understanding of OUR dilemma in this country (and in this life) and your own strength in pursuing your “own  truth.”  They each will know exactly how that process feels as do the rest of us in your wide “circle” of friends and colleagues.

…Your pioneering inside the Taxi industry is almost like you are helping a “union of sorts” to form and I don’t think I ever realized how much you must enjoy the thousands of conversations you can have with those of every walk of life.  A true hidden GIFT in the process of earning money.

Thanks for keeping me on your mailing list and although our contact stays as a “loose connection” we are linked nevertheless in the larger The Beloved Community by virtue of our life focus.  Thank you for this first contact of 2016!


Thanks for sharing your impressions of the world today – most of which I fully agree with. The main point is that I share your sense of optimism — yes, we have challenges, but things will get better.


I read most of your year in review and as always and am impressed with your conviction and dedication.  I’m very hopeful that your great work with TaxiTalk will bear fruit this year.

I very much appreciate those comments. They help me persevere, as I continue to encounter problems in the taxi industry that are similar to those I’ve found elsewhere. My proposed solutions are similar as well, with an emphasis on greater compassion, collaboration, and transparency.

But what has touched me most deeply recently were some comments by one of my passengers at the end of our ride. She appeared to be in her late 20s. She has a Master’s in Public Health and just finished a two-year stint in Haiti helping improve their health care. After we discussed that some, she commented that I seemed well-informed and asked me a few questions about my background.

Knowing that we had about four minutes until we reached our destination, I summarized my life-long commitment to integrate the personal and the political, and gave her a brief chronological history of my organizing efforts. She replied, “Wow. That’s fantastic. I worked with people who are into Liberation Theology in Haiti. You really have stuck with it.” Then, with great passion, she said, “You are my hero.”

We arrived and exchanged warm good-byes, and she got out of my taxi to go to her restaurant. I drove one block to a quiet, isolated stretch, pulled over, and cried, reassured that I am not as alone as I often feel.

Maybe I should distill my much-too-long autobiography into a much shorter memoir focused on community organizing. That might be of interest and value to young people. Perhaps it could help some of them avoid some of the mistakes I made, or maybe encourage them to persist in their own social-change efforts.

But first I have my hands full with the San Francisco taxi industry!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.