Moment in Women’s History: Maggie Kuhn

3 Aug

Happy Birthday,Maggie Kuhn.  Celebrating Maggie Kuhn fits in perfectly to the mission of TSM, for she embodied the threads of social justice. Kuhn was an activist fighting ageism, and founded the Gray Panthers movement in 1970. Kuhn was forced into retirement by the Presbyterian Church at age 65.  Kuhn was my type of activist and I have to confess, I had such a thrill being able to write about her.

The Gray Panthers seeks to: reform nursing homes, advocate for reproductive rights, worker’s rights, marriage equality, abolition of the death penalty, and the legalization of medical marijuana. They fully embrace the idea of civil rights and social justice.  The Gray Panthers celebrated their 40th anniversary in 2010. Their slogan is “Age and Youth in Action.”  It is no surprise that this organization is also anti-war.

Early in her career, in the 1940s, Kuhn worked for the YWCA.  At the YWCA, Kuhn took on such controversial issues as birth control and sex education, including sexual pleasure.  She also educated people about the need for unionization and collective baraining–apparently both Scott Walker and Target missed this piece in their education.

During the 1950s and 1960s, Kuhn became a vocal opponent to McCarthyism, and advocate for desegregation.  She was a true progressive and today she would look like an outright radical.  Kuhn was also a great critic of the Cold War and of the nuclear arms race.

The irony is not lost on this writer that I am celebrating a woman who fought for economic justice the day after our government has turned a blind eye and deaf ear to all those who are not part of the wealthy elite. Her dedication to global peace and human rights casts an alarming shadow over those current elected officials who work to obstruct peace and human rights.  Forgive me for being quite harsh, but it is difficult to believe that Michele Bachmann, John Boehner, and the population of the Tea Party are of the same species as our Maggie Kuhn.

Thank you, Maggie Kuhn.  We are in debt to your for the legacy you have left and the inspiration you provide.

Old age is an excellent time for outrage. My goal is to say or do at least one outrageous thing every week. — Maggie Kuhn

2 Responses to “Moment in Women’s History: Maggie Kuhn”

  1. Jarrett August 3, 2011 at 11:50 am #

    I used a variation on Kuhn’s famous phrase on my blog. The photo is getting kind of popular on facebook and I thought it would be appropriate for this post:

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