Who are these people?
They are all 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 use his computer skills and knowledge of activism, and he devoted himself to his long-time calling, progressive service.
Jim was a progressive. He believed that citizens' citizens' rights in a democracy include speaking their minds and working to remove 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 scores of volunteers to accomplish the work of PS.
Kathie Turner began volunteering with Jim in 2000. She wanted to do something meaningful with her life, so when Jim sent out a call for volunteers, she happily started writing, editing, and proofreading 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 in 2011, she did not doubt that her mission is to preserve his legacy and keep PS going strong.
Kathie worked with Pat until he died in 2013. She incorporated PS as a non-profit organization and recruited a board of directors to support and guide the sustaining crew of volunteers.
Volunteers write letters. They also edit and proofread every letter and verify the facts that support them. Other volunteers help other participants with problems, undertake internet research. Many volunteers contribute monetarily, as well. Those donations help to defray the 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.