Sara Flounders / Workers World – 2008-04-10 21:26:49
NEW YORK (April 2, 2008) — Ed Lewinson is 78 years old and blind. On April 2 he leaves for the federal prison in Elkton, Ohio, to serve a 90-day prison sentence based on his 2007 arrest protesting the School of the Americas (US School of Torture) at Ft. Benning, Ga.
Lewinson is one of a dozen people who were arrested at the SOA Watch protest for crossing the line on to the base. More than 20,000 people participated in this year’s annual November protest. It was Ed’s fourth arrest at the Ft. Benning protests. When offered a more lenient sentence, he insisted that all the defendants be treated and sentenced equally.
Although Lewinson is blind from birth he has always been determined to participate fully in political struggles and in all aspects of life. He has been a political activist for almost 60 years and has been arrested numerous times for sit-ins and civil disobedience actions and participated in hundreds of picket lines, demonstrations and rallies.
He is active in political struggles in Newark with Peoples Organization for Progress and N.J. Peace Action. He has been an active volunteer with the International Action Center for 14 years since first attending an event linking war as wealth and profits for a few and misery and poverty for millions.
He attended Detroit’s Northern High School, the only school in the area that offered a Braille class. Northern also was predominantly Black, and Lewinson’s first lessons in civil rights came from listening to the stories of his classmates.
In 1949, at age 19, Lewinson participated with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), a pioneering civil rights organization, in the sit-ins and struggles to desegregate the Greyhound Bus Terminal in Washington DC
In the early 1960s he participated in sit-ins to desegregate restaurants along the Route 40 Baltimore-Washington corridor. In Brooklyn he participated in actions to desegregate housing, and he was part of the earliest struggles of Local 1199 to organize hospital workers.
In the mass civil disobedience actions to stop the execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal, Lewinson was arrested twice — once in Philadelphia at the Liberty Bell and once in Washington, DC
He participated in actions to end the US starvation sanctions against Iraq, including making several difficult trips to Iraq with IAC delegations to take desperately needed medical supplies there and several trips to Cuba with Pastors for Peace and the IAC to break the blockade. He has also traveled to North Korea.
The International Action Center is organizing an April 1 Solidarity Send-off for Ed Lewinson in New York.
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