Who are these people?
They are all unpaid volunteers who see Progressive Secretary (PS) as a way for citizens to speak out on issues that concern them.
Jim Harris, founder and sole operator till mid-1999, described himself as a sixties activist and a Quaker. After treatment for leukemia left him partially disabled, he decided to devote himself to progressive service, his long time calling, by using his computer skills and his knowledge of activism.
Jim was a progressive who believes in the right of citizens in a democracy to speak their minds and to strive for the removal of injustice. He was deeply committed to economic justice, humane treatment of prisoners, preservation of the environment, peace, civil rights, and a sane and just world.
Pat Murphy, who coordinated letters, was a long time activist, educator, and writer who had done volunteer work for the American Friends Service Committee, the Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice, and many other causes. He was an experienced administrator and writer. He retired in 1991 as Five College Professor of African Studies, based at Smith College, Northampton, MA. Pat was also a Quaker, and an avid sailor until degenerative mobility problems forced him to spend most of his time at the computer. He enthusiastically shared Jim's progressive beliefs and values.
Jim and Pat depended upon literally scores of volunteers to accomplish the work of PS. Kathie Turner started volunteering with Jim over a decade ago. She wanted to do something meaningful with her life, so when Jim sent out a call for volunteers she happily started writing, editing, and proof reading letters, and picked up administrative tasks as well.
When Jim was diagnosed with cancer, he asked Kathie to make sure Progressive Secretary survived. And when he let go of this life last summer, she had no doubt that her mission is to preserve his legacy and keep PS going strong. She incorporated PS as a non-profit organization and recruited a board of directors to support and guide the sustaining crew of volunteers.
Volunteers proofread every letter that goes out, verify the facts letters are based on, sometimes draft and edit letters, help other participants with problems, undertake internet research. Many volunteers - as well as other participants - send in contributions, too, which help to defray the modest costs of running PS.
All volunteers are also PS participants, who came to PS because it is a good way to speak out for peace, justice, and a better life for all.