As we go to press, the PAR Planning Committee has learned that Edie Fishman, lifelong activist and fighter for social justice, has died at the age of 102. Even in her last week, Edie was sharp-witted and knew all the words to union songs, which she sang each evening with her daughter Joelle. Our condolences to Joelle and all who knew and loved Edie. Our April newsletter will have more about this amazing, dedicated and compassionate woman.
Edyth Bartman Fishman was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of immigrants from Odessa in Czarist Russia. Growing up in the years of the Great Depression shaped her worldview. Thousands were hungry and without work. While in high school both parents fell ill but had no health care. Edie and her sister Lillian took turns going to high school every other day so they could care for their parents.
At age 14 Edie attended a large May Day rally of thousands for workers’ rights outside Philadelphia City Hall organized by the Communist Party. Police on horses used billy clubs to attack the peaceful protest. Edie was enraged and decided that she must be part of this movement. She joined the Young Communist League, and later the Communist Party where she became a leader and remained active throughout her life. “I love the struggle,” she said.
Edie was involved in countless struggles for workers’ rights and economic and racial equality and peace. She marched to Washington DC for Social Security and Unemployment Compensation with her schoolmates. She participated in defying the sheriffs and putting furniture back into the homes of evicted families. …
Edie’s lifelong commitment and contribution to equality, peace and social justice will be celebrated in Wooster Square Park on Sunday, July 21, the day before her 103rd birthday.
Contributions in tribute to Edie Fishman can be made to the New Haven Peoples Center or to the People’s World at 37 Howe Street, New Haven, Connecticut 06511.
Read more of the Indy obit here.