Born in New Jersey, Jon Miles moved to Tucson in 1960 after graduating from high school. His first job in Tucson was at a car wash where he made lifelong friends with Chicano youths his age. One of them went on to become President of the Steelworkers’ local at the country’s largest copper mine in San Manuel, Arizona. Another, Pancho Medina, like Jon, has been a lifelong leader in the struggles against war, for immigrant rights, and for equality.
In 1964 after trying his hand at several jobs, he was drafted and served in combat in Vietnam. Returning to Tucson he took college classes and got a job in the San Manuel mine for several summers. From warrior, he gradually turned into a peace advocate, and his union job led him to see the importance of solidarity. By the 1970s, Jon was working full time at the mine and doing solidarity work with the United Farm Workers who were organizing boycotts of grapes, then lettuce and Gallo wine. When the solidarity activist started encountering thug violence the union sent Jon for special security training and he was put in charge of security for the UFW’s many campaigns in Arizona.
Later, when the UFW was no longer organizing in the state, Jon would be contacted to take charge of security whenever Cesar Chavez came to Arizona. Since then we saw Jon’s towering figure at every action and demonstration requiring security precautions. And if security was not a problem, Jon was still there. The farm worker movement, also gave birth to a people’s theater group which enacted skits to encourage consumers to boycott, and also for the workers in the fields to join the union. Jon loved to participate.
Meanwhile, his mining career ended when he was fired for participating in a wildcat strike, which is a strike not authorized by the union. Jon later acknowledged that the wildcat was a mistake he blamed on his youthful militancy overcoming rational assessment of the situation.
After that Jon earned his living as a self-employed landscaper. In the late 1970s, Jon met Chilean exile Rebeca Cartes who he married in 1980. This marriage and a trip with her to Chile led Jon into the growing Latin American Solidarity movement of the time. In Tucson, this meant the Tucson Committee for Human Rights in Latin America. Jon Also became active with the Palestine Solidarity Committee, and the local anti-apartheid movement. When a local chapter of Veterans for Peace was formed, Jon was one of the first to join, and a decade later he served for more than a dozen years as the chapter president.
In 1980 Jon also joined the Communist Party USA. By the mid 1980s he was elected Treasurer of the Arizona District of the Party, an office he held for some 35 years until his health deteriorated. And that’s not all. In the very early 1980s, Jon began volunteering at the Casa Maria soup kitchen. Casa Maria went on to organize a very militant homeless coalition that fought for homeless and poor folks by fighting gentrification and putting families into unoccupied federally owned homes. Jon continued to work with Casa Maria until his passing.
In the 1990s Jon started working with the Coalición De Derechos Humanos, the Human Rights Coalition, in English, but usually referred to in Tucson as Derechos Humanos, or just plain Derechos. Jon played a major role in all the fights for migrant rights that took place in this 21st century. He helped organize and provide security for huge demonstrations and May Day marches. Because Tucson is on a major route for migrants risking their lives to cross Arizona’s deadly deserts, the many organizations fighting for humane treatment of these guests always have lots of work, and Jon was in the midst of this struggle.
And, of course, Jon was part of the peace movement. His Vietnam war experience led him to hate war and its devastation. He was a leading figure in the anti-war mobilizations against the Gulf War, the Kosovo war, and the U.S. aggression against Iraq, Afghanistan, Grenada, and elsewhere.
Jon was, clearly, Tucson’s most beloved activist. He was also a public official serving for 22 years as a Pima County Housing Commissioner, one of few Communists who have held public offices in this era. He was originally nominated by County Supervisor Raul Grijalva, who is now in Congress, and Jon was re-appointed by three succeeding supervisors, including the latest, Adelita Grijalva, the Congressman’s daughter. The County Housing department has named a meeting room in his honor.
Over 150 people braved attending a spreader event to attend a Celebration of Jon Miles’ life on March 12th at Tucson’s El Tiradito Shrine where Tucson mayor, Regina Romero, recounted how she learned to appreciate Jon Miles while they successfully worked for a city Cesar Chavez holiday when she was still a Council member. 
"Special May Day Greetings, 1989"
From the "Special May Day Greetings, 1989" issue of the "People's Daily World" (PDW), Section B, we read the following: "Tucson's progressive community congratulates the PDW on its anniversary and sends May Day greetings to all our friends across the country. The need to struggle against nuclear holocaust, to preserve a liveable and pleasant environment on our planet, and to bring peace, justice and economic well-being to all humanity is now more apparent than ever. Join us to make a better world."
Most signatories were members of the Arizona District Communist Party USA.Signatories included Jon Miles.
In May 1992, the Communist Party USA newspaper, Peoples Weekly World published a May Day supplement. This included a signed greeting from "Southern Arizona's progressive community", most of who were known Communist Party USA members.
Communist Party's May Day Salute
In 1995 the Communist Party USA newspaper People's Weekly World, published a "May Day salute" to the "heroes in the class war zone". More than 100 unionists/activists endorsed the call, mostly known affiliates, or members of the Communist Party.
Communist Party Labor Day call
Of the more than 100 endorsers listed, almost all were identified members of the Communist Party USA.
Regina Romero connection
Salt of the Earth Labor College 2003 speakers
- September panel "learning to live without war" - with Jon Miles (Veterans for Peace), Pat Birnie (WILPF), Rev. Kenneth Kennon (anti School of the Americas activist).
- September, Adanjesus Marin, National Coordinator Young Communist League, teaching a class "organizing the unorganized"
- October, Linda Bohlke, on the "evils of privatization", AFSCME official and Tucson anti privatization campaigner
- October, Dr. Eve Shapiro, Arizona Physicians for a National Health Program, who spoke on campaigning for national health care in the 2004 elections
- November, Steve Valencia of Jobs with Justice on the Tucson local elections
Arizona "progressive" community
- Arizona’s progressive community extends May Day and Cinco de Mayo greetings to all our friends across the country. We commit ourselves to join the struggle for jobs, equality, national health care, a fair immigration policy, and for peace and justice in the Middle East. Let’s make this planet a good place to live for all its inhabitants.
Arizona Peace Council, AZ4NORML, Campaign for Labor Rights, The Einstein Academy, Casa Maria/Catholic Worker East Valley Club Communist Party USA, Law Office of Payson & Gattone, The Latino Doctrine (TV show) Revolutionary Grounds Books and Coffee, Salt of the Earth Labor College Tucson Club CPUSA , Tucson Peace Action Coalition
Clyde Appleton, Mary Elinor Adams, Rolande Baker, Anne Brenner, Joe Bernick and Cat Stelman, Nancy Bissell, Jack Blawis, Don Buchanan, Richard Boren, Susan Clark, Rebeca Cartes, Eugenia Chilton,Jack DeWeese, Howard Druan, & DD Sande,Gregory Feesl, Ray Figueroa, Brian Flagg, Michael Flower, Sean Fowlkes, Nancy Gallen, Maggie Gerring, Michael Gray, Nancy Graham, James Hannley, Beverly Halkias, Jeff Imig, Mansur Johnson, James Jordan & Raquel Mogollon, Frank Jents, Marilyn Kramer, John Kromko, Jim Kincaid, Brandy Lintencum, Rob McElwain, Mary MacEwan, John Mackoviak, Jane Martin & Bob Vint, Jon Miles, Nancy Myers, Kathy Norgard, Richard Osburn, Ismael Parra, Nancy Pontius , Alice Ritter, Carlos Salaz, Sr., Mazda Shirazi, Rosemary Solarez, James Stewart, Brian Stevens, Olga Strickland, Donald Tewels, Dennis Tallent & Laura Tallent, Anita Torrez & Lorenzo Torrez, Carolyn Trowbridge & Keith Bagwell, Susan Thorpe, Steve Valencia & Janet Valencia, Edward Vargas, Steve Wheaton, Michael Wheeler,Susan Willis , Wendell Wilson, Deb Wilmer.
Veterans for Peace contact
In 2010 Jon Miles turned 70 years old. Jon Miles is involved in the Derechos Humanos, Veterans for Peace, Salt of the Earth Labor College and he also organizes and coordinates "peacekeepers" for marches and events.
Salt of the Earth event
Raquel Mogollon February 2 2019:
- Jon Miles Medium 2 Richard Boren Published on Nov 4, 2013
- People's Weekly World Aug. 13 1991 p 19
- Peoples Weekly World May 2 1992, May Day supplement
- People's Weekly World May 6 1995 p 2
- People's Weekly World Sep 2 1995 p 14
- PWW August 30, 2007, page 17
- Veterans for Peace website: Chapter contact-persons
- Voice of Tucson, "Happy birthday! Jon Miles is turning 70". Dec. 22, 2010,