Heather Gray

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Heather Gray


Heather Gray is an Atlanta activist. She produces "Just Peace" on WRFG-Atlanta 89.3 FM covering local, regional, national and international news. In the 1980s, Gray worked as the director of the non-violent program for Coretta Scott King at the King Center in Atlanta. [1]

Southern Organizing Committee for Racial and Economic Justice

Heather Gray served on the board of the Southern Organizing Committee for Racial and Economic Justice that Anne Braden co-chaired along with Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth. The organization " was one of the few that provided the opportunity for us to think and act regionally and to make the essential connections of the myriad of issues we faced. From the 1980’s and on the meetings were always filled with a diversity of black, white and eventually Latino activists in the region".

We would sit for hours in New Orleans, Montgomery or Birmingham to strategize on various issues, activities and mistakes we’ve made then and in the past. We would also listen, learn and occasionally join in while the legendary leaders in our midst discussed and analyzed the dynamics of white supremacy, racial politics generally and labor challenges in the South. Anne was never without offering a lengthy epistle about anything until the wee hours of the night along with her ever-present cigarettes! These sessions were often both grueling and enlightening. They were not only a history lesson but also a socialization process into the tactics of southern civil rights activism and Anne understood the importance of this. She wanted to pass this information on to all of us and to keep the momentum going at every conceivable juncture. The meetings were a roll call of southern leaders and activists the likes of Reverend C. T. Vivian, Jack O'Dell, Gwen Patton, Virginia Durr, Reverend Fred Taylor, Reverend James Orange, Connie Tucker, John Zippert, Jackie Ward, Reverend Benjamin Chavis, Charlie Orrock, Ann Romaine, Damu Smith, Jim Dunn, Judy Hand, Scott Douglas, Ron Chisholm, Spiver Gordon, Pat Bryant, Tirso Moreno and countless others.[2]

Mozambique Support Network

A meeting of Mozambique Support Network took place Friday, March 11, 1988 and Saturday, March 12,1988 at the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago, Illinois.

Attending the meeting were Roberta Washington, Co-chair (New York), Lisa Anderson (Idaho), Alan Isaacman, Co-chair (Minnesota), Damu Smith (Washington DC), Dan Murphy (Iowa), Mackie Mcleod (Boston), Geri Seese-Green (Oregon), Chris Root (Michigan), Stephanie Urdang (New York), Paul Epstein (Boston), Bassiru (Madison), Andy Epstein (Boston), Bill Martin, Anne Evens (Chicago), Sister Joanette Nitz (Detroit), Carrie Pratt (Madison), Prexy Nesbitt (Chicago), Dave Wiley (Michigan), Heather Gray (Atlanta), Ned Alpers, Otis Cunningham (Chicago)

Regrets were sent by Mike Johnson (Iowa), Kevin Danaher (California), Bill Minter, Kathy Flewellen (Washington, DC), Ruth Minter (Maryland), Kathie Sheldon and Steve Tarzynski (California), Paula Voelkel (Wisconsin), Coke McCord (New York) and Todd Hawkins (Washington), Treasurer Lisa Brock was unable to attend due to the tragic death of her mother in Ohio.[3]

Gran assassination

Methodist Pastor Minda Gran was and her husband were assassinated in the Philippines 1989.

Heather Gray investigated the Gran assassination with pastors from the United Church of Christ of the Philippines.

Her coffin and that of her husband were in the living room of her humble home. I saw blood and some of her brain splattered on the wall upstairs where she had been killed. Members of her community were stunned by this assassination and some told me they were going into hiding. As with King, the tears in this rural Filipino community were abundant in response to this loss.[4]

Federation of Southern Cooperatives

In 2004, Heather Gray, communications director for the Georgia-based Federation of Southern Cooperatives, was interviewed by Sue Webb of the People's World.

“It’s not just a legacy of discrimination, it’s still very real.” A lot of the same people who have violated African Americans’ rights in the past are still sitting in Farm Service offices, she told the World. “I’ve had guys crying in my office,” over the humiliation they have experienced at the hands of racist government officials. She tied these farmers’ struggles to the struggle over voting rights that is once again being waged in the presidential elections. “It took so long to get voting rights in the South,” she said. “We never knew we were going to have to work so hard to get our votes counted.” [5]

Marxist

Atlanta hosted a powerful discussion in celebration of Women’s History Month, 2012 when AFSC staff gathered women activists for “A Woman’s Place: In Peace & Politics,” in conjunction with an exhibit by renowned photographer Jim Alexander.

The panel included Glenn Carroll, coordinator for Nuclear Watch South; Heather Gray, board member of WRFG 89.3FM and community advocate; Glory Kilanko, founder of Women Watch Afrika (WWA), and Barbara Joye, activist with the Democratic Socialists of America . The panel complemented the “Street Signs: Signs of the Times” exhibit documenting protests of the Vietnam and civil rights movement.

Heather Gray, who today advocates for Black Georgia farmers, remembered being in Atlanta in 1968 at the time of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and picking up Ralph Bunche- the first person of color to win the Nobel Peace Prize - from the airport. Citing her influences from W.E.B. DuBois to Karl Marx, Heather urged the audience to “remain constant in your work and know your history.[6]

References

  1. [http://www.crmvet.org/comm/gray14.htm Wiping Away the Tears Martin Luther King, Jr: a Victim of the United States' 20th Century Anti-Communist Campaign — Heather GrayOriginally published by Weekend Edition, Radio Free Georgia, WRFG-Atlanta 89.3 FM, April 4-6, 2014]
  2. In Motion, “The South’s Rebel Without A Pause” Anne Braden’s Tireless Commitment by Heather Gray Atlanta, Georgia
  3. Historical Voices website: Mozambique Support Network meeting notes, Chicago, March 1988
  4. [http://www.crmvet.org/comm/gray14.htm Wiping Away the Tears Martin Luther King, Jr: a Victim of the United States' 20th Century Anti-Communist Campaign — Heather GrayOriginally published by Weekend Edition, Radio Free Georgia, WRFG-Atlanta 89.3 FM, April 4-6, 2014]
  5. PW The battle for RURAL AMERICA by: SUSAN WEBB october 22 2004
  6. https://www.afsc.org/story/womens-work-change-celebrated-atlanta AFSC Women’s Work for Change Celebrated in Atlanta Published: March 9, 2012]