April 17, 2007

Remembering Jim Jontz, Fair Trade Hero

Jim Jontz, an indefatigable advocate for economic and social justice and the environment, passed away on Saturday, April 14 after a struggle against cancer. Jim was a mentor and inspiration to many. His passing is an enormous personal loss to all of those whose lives this gentle, brilliant man touched.

But, by nature of the quality of Jim's personality and what his life's work accomplished, his mission and his values live on.

As a member of Congress, Jim was an organizer extraordinaire - always providing strategy and a plan, often from a corner of the Rayburn room off the floor of the House where his allies awaited his wisdom between votes.

As the first Executive Director of the Citizens Trade Campaign, the national labor, environmental, consumer, family farm and faith coalition, Jim was an organizer extraordinaire, helping to visualize and then create the nation's powerful fair trade movement.

As leader of several environmental organizations, Jim was an organizer extraordinaire, delivering real victory for the planet and its inhabitants.

In creating the Working Families Win project for Americans for Democratic Action, Jim was an organizer extraordinaire, creating from scratch an impressive program that has transformed the tone of U.S. political discourse on economic and social justice issues.

Because he taught by example and mentored countless young people, he is survived by legions of those who aspire to replicate his tireless, passionate and fearless advocacy for what is right. Jim Jontz raised a "family" of advocates who join him in living Margaret Mead's proverb: Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

Please see Jim's obituaries by the Associated Press and at the Indianapolis Star.

If you have a memory of Jim that you can share with us all, please visit the comments section of the American for Democratic Action website.

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