Boulder has a reputation for activism. There are often talented leaders, but the activism would go nowhere without the work of lots of committed and selfless people working behind the scenes. They answer phones, make phone calls for support, serve food, hold signs, write letters, visit offices, collect signatures, register voters, etc.
Last month, Stuart Chase, one of these relatively anonymous stalwarts of the peace and social justice movement in Boulder, passed away. Stuart's death was painful for those who knew this wonderful gentleman. Stuart had long worked to bring about social justice here at home and for peace and justice around the world. As a young man, Stuart served in Vietnam and his experiences solidified his view that war was not the answer.
Stuart worked in the mental health field for many years and offered understanding and support. Following his working career, he spent more time in activism. In particular, Stuart was a key player in the Middle East group at the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center, toiling to end the Israeli oppression of Palestinians.
He was a fixture at and an organizer of protest events, proudly displaying signs calling for peace and justice. He also aided the homeless in Boulder by paying them to hold signs. By offering work instead of charity, Stuart allowed the homeless to retain their dignity.
Stuart recognized the importance of activists getting to know one another socially. To help this process along, he organized monthly programs featuring a potluck meal followed by a presentation.
Stuart also played an important role with the Boulder Veterans for Peace chapter. He worked closely with George Newell in hosting their monthly programs, using the same format as the activist gathering that the Vets for Peace meeting replaced.
Stuart also was active with the Longmont Citizens for Justice and Democracy, supported Occupy Boulder and engaged with the Boulder Move On and other groups. He enjoyed talking with people and he focused on really listening.
Stuart's death represents a major loss to his friends and to the activist community. We will really miss this compassionate and caring gentle giant. Rest in peace Stuart.
There will be a commemoration of Stuart followed by sign holding at the southwest corner of Broadway and Canyon on June 21 at 11 a.m. and another commemoration at a later date.
The Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center's "Peace Train" column runs every Friday in the Colorado Daily.