Long Live Judy Bonds!

by James Brady

January 4, 2011

Some of you might have known Judy Bonds, some of you may have heard of her, and some might wonder what this is about.

Judy Bonds was a tireless fighter in the struggle against Mountaintop removal for coal extraction.

She was a woman who saw her land and life blasted out from beneath her for a few hours of power.

She was one of the first and most vocal Appalachians to raise a voice and a fist to oppose Mountaintop Removal. She died of cancer earlier today.

The work that we do is hard and the road that we are on is long. It’s not reasonable to expect to see the fruits of our labor in our own lifetimes. I, for example, expect to be long gone before carbon levels in the atmosphere get back to where they were when I was born (The Beatles were still together, btw).
What I learned from Judy Bonds is that the results of our work cannot be measured in months, or quarters, or years. It’s measured in lifetimes.

In the above video, Judy Bonds speaking at the Capitol Climate Action. It’s my hope that you will find her words instructive and edifying. There are several more videos of Judy for you to watch, too, at Powershift 2007 and Judy along with some other folks at an event to get an elementary school moved from directly beneath a massive impound pool of billions (yes, billions) of metric tons of coal slurry.

You don’t need to watch it all. She repeats herself sometimes. she wasn’t a professional. She was not an activist by choice. She did not get to pick her issue.  She suffered death threats, drive-by-shootings, and physical assaults. She did not live to see her campaign won.

No matter, it will be won, as out campaigns will be won. If we are strong… and patient.

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