By Ken Paff and Martha Gruelle
Martha, Ken, Margaret, and Mike
I lost my best friend of over 50 years last Saturday evening.
Mike was my guide and sometimes my patient critic, as he has been to so many other activists. He followed the work of the Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU), the insurgent reform movement of Teamsters), and was always ready with generous solidarity and helpful ideas for me and other TDU leaders.Read more
By Marilyn Langlois
“He left us at night on January 15, perhaps as the volcanic tsunami from Tonga was still moving in and out of our San Francisco Bay, just feet from his home. Mike’s influence was and is as strong as that and it is up to us to keep it moving.”
–Tarnel Abbott, RPA co-founder
Mike Parker made us all better activists. He could motivate RPA members to dig deeper and do more. We did so gladly, knowing he respected, appreciated and listened to us. Above all, he set a good example of incisive analysis, hard work and fidelity to our collective efforts.
Whenever my caller ID announced an incoming phone call from Mike, for a split second I would hesitate to answer, thinking he was going to ask me to do something or challenge me on a political question. Yet I was always drawn to conversations with him, each time coming away the wiser for talking with him.Read more
By Eduardo Martinez
Eduardo, Jovanka, and Mike on the Richmond Greenway for the MLK Day cleanup
A giant has fallen,
Greater than the sequoia towering above others
Roots embedded in the past
Rings encircling every year of endeavors
Reminding us that “the circle will be unbroken,”
This circle of community formed by his force
His vision, his words, his compassion.
Thank you for listening to the Listening Project Podcast. This week's episode is Silent Killer
By Jeremy Gong
East Bay Democratic Socialists of America (EBDSA) member Mike Parker passed away late on Saturday night at 81 years old after a year-long fight with cancer. He was not only a warm friend and mentor to me and so many others, but a brilliant and one-of-a-kind movement builder. An activist and socialist since the age of 19, Mike’s work spanned over 62 years of movement history. He made unique contributions to the labor movement, the fight against racism, and the fight for an egalitarian, peaceful, and ecologically sustainable world. His wisdom and endless generosity has been invaluable for us since DSA’s 2016 rebirth. Mike’s death leaves the socialist movement greatly impoverished, but his life enriched it beyond measure.Read more
By BK Williams
Zoe, Mike, and Harley
I am now and will be forever grateful and changed because of Mike Parker.
When I joined the RPA and met Mike, we didn’t initially connect. We sat at the same table, worked toward the same goals, but did so at a distance. When he spoke, I realized he knew a lot about many things and he constantly shared his knowledge. Later, when I agreed to co-chair the Steering Committee and took on more of the hard work of the RPA, Mike and I seemed to perpetually be in one another’s space and our friendship gradually deepened.Read more
Audio edited by Jamin Pursell
In July 2021, Mike Parker spoke in front of a gathering of RPA organizers and members of the Bread and Roses DSA caucus. The goal was to bring the two organizations closer together, and so he could pass on his experiences as a civil rights activist and political leader.Read more