As some­one who’s been involved in pro­gres­sive pol­i­tics for almost half a life­time, I have great admi­ra­tion and appre­ci­a­tion for peo­ple who have ded­i­cat­ed their lives to activism and orga­niz­ing. Most of us in the pro­gres­sive move­ment are part-time activists; we choose to be involved because we care, but our oblig­a­tions to work/school and fam­i­ly lim­it the time we’re able to give.

But there are a few among us who are full-time activists. Not con­sul­tants or lob­by­ists, mind you… con­sult­ing and lob­by­ing gigs typ­i­cal­ly come with decent com­pen­sa­tion. I’m talk­ing about peo­ple who have delib­er­ate­ly cho­sen to for­go oppor­tu­ni­ties to make mon­ey in favor of try­ing to build community.

Peo­ple like Geov Parrish.

Geov has been writ­ing, orga­niz­ing, and agi­tat­ing for a more pro­gres­sive region and coun­try since before there was a blo­gop­shere or a net­roots com­mu­ni­ty. Remark­ably, he’s per­se­vered at activism despite bat­tling many health problems.

This Wednes­day will mark the twen­ti­eth anniver­sary of his dou­ble organ transpant (kid­ney and pan­creas!). Doc­tors told him years ago he did­n’t have much time left, but decades lat­er, he’s still around, try­ing to make our region a bet­ter place.

I am per­son­al­ly grate­ful to Geov for show­ing up to sup­port NPI at some of our events, par­tic­u­lar­ly our annu­al Spring Fundrais­ing Gala in April, and donat­ing what he could. He real­ly believes in build­ing com­mu­ni­ty and encour­ag­ing oth­er pro­gres­sives. I so appre­ci­ate that, as does every­one else here at NPI.

Geov recent­ly wrote to me and many oth­er friends to let us know that he and his fiancée Rev­el Smith could real­ly use some help. They’re broke and home­less, hav­ing strug­gled for months to find a place to live, in part because Rev­el has mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis and a sen­si­tiv­i­ty to many chem­i­cals. For those inter­est­ed in all the details, Geov’s penned a Decem­ber mis­sive (2014 – It Was Not A Very Good Year) and giv­en per­mis­sion for us to share it with you.

It’s one thing to endure being broke and home­less; it’s anoth­er thing alto­geth­er to sum­mon the courage to ask for help to escape those circumstances.

Geov has done that, and I’m real­ly glad he did. Until he sent out his let­ter, many of his friends were unaware of his sit­u­a­tion. But now we know what’s going on. That means we can empha­size and respond.

Prin­ci­pled pro­gres­sives walk their talk and reach out to help those in need. Geov has a pro­gres­sive work eth­ic and is capa­ble of work­ing, but before he can focus on get­ting a job, he and Rev­el need to get out of sur­vival mode.

That’s where we come in. HA Seat­tle and NPI are team­ing up to help Geov and Rev­el. We’re ask­ing our read­ers and sup­port­ers to join us in giv­ing them a hand up.

If you’re will­ing to spare a few dol­lars to assist a good pro­gres­sive activist in need, please click this Pay­Pal but­ton to send mon­ey Geov and Rev­el’s way.

You can also send Geov a check in the mail:

Geov Par­rish
PO Box 85541
Seat­tle WA 98145

Build­ing NPI has been adven­ture in more ways that I could have imag­ined when I set out over eleven years ago to set up a strat­e­gy cen­ter ded­i­cat­ed to inno­v­a­tive research and imag­i­na­tive advo­ca­cy. Our work has always been sus­tained by the gen­eros­i­ty of fel­low activists — includ­ing peo­ple like Geov Parrish.

I hope you’ll con­sid­er help­ing Geov, so that next Decem­ber, he’ll be able to tell us that 2015 was a good year filled most­ly with pos­i­tive changes.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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