Reach New Heights

Reach New Heights

Mixed Media 69" x 49" 1991

TEXT:
"Reach new he ights" on pin "Berkman Lives"

This is a tribute to Alan Berkman. Sarcasm that inspires. Background ad was an airforce ad. Red white and blue, jets. Figure itself could be an ominous figure, an agent of the state, but if you know who Berkman was - a white anti-imperialist activist who did some jailtime throughout the 80s for advocating bombings, they didn't have evidence, it was only the fact that he'd expressed his support that he was jacked up with six other people. 3 charges were dropped for double jeapordy.

Marilyn Buck shot herself in the leg inadverntently in a bank robbery, and Allen Berkman treated her wounds so she wouldn't die. Allen had cancer. If he stayed in jail he would die. Women copped a plea so Allen would come up on parole so Allen would walk. The two dykes added 30 years onto each of their sentences just for the chance that he might go free and might live. Allen didn't go free, it took a national campaign to make them live up to their agreement.

The group had been charged with bombing the capital after the invasion of Greneda in '83. Bombing corporate targets involved in South Africa, involved in Apartheid. What Berkman did in the 70s and 80s was radical medical work. He was at Wounded Knee treating people. He worked in health clinic in the South Bronx and Harlem doing medical care for poor folks; community based healthcare.

This dovetailed with my own experience with police, they were being jacked up and railroaded on spurrious charges in the same way that I was at Oberlin. Text and images are integrating more and more, getting more complicated. I want to do a pamphlet on Alan Berkman, information is part of the battle. It's similar to the anti-nuclear work that catalyzed my activism many years ago.