A packed house heard Ramona Africa, John Trudell, June Jordan, Michael Parenti and many more honoring the life and achievements of Judi Bari. The auditorium of Martin Luther King School in Berkeley, California was jammed with more than 1100 people gathered to celebrate the life of the Earth First! and social justice leader who died March 2. The April 26, 1997 gathering heard a fast-paced program that included representatives spanning the broad spectrum of justice issues Judi supported in her 47 years of life, including not only the environment but also labor, civil rights, women's rights, and racial equality.
The program featured music by Earth First! troubadours Alicia Littletree, Peg Millet, and Darryl Cherney, joined by recording artist Jello Biafra; poetry by Mary Norbert Korte, June Jordan, Piri Thomas and Diane DiPrima; and speeches by Bay Area Earth First! organizer Karen Pickett, author and radio commentator Michael Parenti, Earth Island Institute President Carl Anthony, Black liberation activist Ramona Africa, Bari and Cherney's lead attorney Dennis Cunningham, Purple Beret activist and Bari legal team member Tanya Brannan, poet and former American Indian Movement national chairman John Trudell, KPFA Flashpoints news program producer/investigative journalist Dennis Bernstein, KPFA Flashpoints producer Julie Light, Rosenberg Fund for Children representative Ida Robinson, Wobbly storyteller and songster U. Utah Phillips, labor union activist/KPOO labor historian Gene Lawhorn, widow of police-slain Native American Cyndi Pickett, and Z-Magazine columnist and author Ed Herman. KPFA newsperson Kris Welch emceed the program.
Attorney Cunningham gave a summation of Bari and Cherney's lawsuit against the FBI and broke the news that a hearing has been set August 1, 1997 for his massive preemptive strike motion against FBI claims of immunity. The hearing will be in federal court in Oakland, California before Judge Claudia Wilken. The motion is supported by over 400 pages of evidence that FBI and Oakland Police knowingly and willfully violated Bari and Cherney's constitutional rights by falsely accusing them of knowingly transporting the bomb that exploded beneath Bari's driver's seat May 24, 1990, almost killing her. If successful, the motion will put an end to repeated procedural delays and appeals by the FBI and move the case much closer to trial. The suit was filed in May 1991, a year after the bombing. Judi Bari worked on preparing the current motion right up to her death. Cunningham received an enthusiastic standing ovation at the Berkeley event. (Look for a transcript of Cunningham's presentation to the audience to appear on this site in the near future.)
Originally planned before Judi's death as a benefit for her medical and legal expenses, the event raised $22,782 for the Judi Bari Trust Fund and the Redwood Justice Fund. During the program the Rosenberg Fund for Children presented a $5,000 grant to Judi's daughters Lisa and Jessie for their education.
The first Judi Bari Courage and Justice Awards were presented to Alicia Littletree and Karen Pickett by KPFA Flashpoints producers Dennis Bernstein and Julie Light.
The event was coordinated by Loreto Curti and Noelle Hanrahan, and produced by Equal Justice USA-West, FireWorx, and Flashpoints/KPFA/Pacifica Radio. The program was audio taped for later broadcast by KPFA/Pacifica, and also videotaped by numerous independent video operators.
To be placed on the mailing list to receive updates on Judi Bari's lawsuit against the FBI, or to make a tax deductible contribution to help fund the lawsuit, please contact: