Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Words & Images: 50 Years of Activism

by Diana Siegel
When I ran for the Pearl River School Board in 1968 there was a telephone campaign against me, “Don’t vote for that pinko commie Jew.” As early opponents of the Vietnam War, my husband and I were vilified as unpatriotic communist sympathizers. We spoke out against the war, marched, demonstrated and wrote many letters to various officials throughout the Johnson and Nixon administrations. I can still feel the horror over the Kent State killings and the sight of coffins coming off of airplanes. The picture of the naked running Vietnamese girl engulfed with napalm still sears my mind.
One particular occasion stands out. In 1969, the principal of Nyack High School refused to give Pete Seeger, an enormously popular folk singer who had recently served jail time for his opposition to the war, permission to perform in Nyack High School. In response to local outrage, the mayor opened up Nyack Memorial Park to Seeger and other anti-war, social justice musicians, including Don McClean of “American Pie” fame. The park was packed with a joyous, enthusiastic crowd of people singing, bouncing, waving, cheering; filled with emotion to end the war and the killing and “bring the boys back home.” I was there with my three sons, aged two, nine and eleven. The adrenaline ran high but the war went on.
In the ’80s I twice boarded a bus for Washington D.C. to fight for safe and legal abortions. I joined the protesters in Zuccotti Park near Wall Street in November 2011 to oppose financial abuse and I still have a “We are the 99%” bumper sticker next to my “War is not the answer” on the back of my Hyundai Sonata.
In the early 1960’s I ventured into voter registration in black communities in Rockland County. My civil rights activities were limited but as Civil Rights Chairman of the League of Woman Voters, I delivered a speech to the Nanuet Lion’s Club.

Diana is an activist of lost causes.
Words and Images is a column that features the work of students from Bill Batson’s sketch logging class at the Learning Collaborative.  
Thanks to Editorial Assistance Bonnie Timm.

Nyack People & Places, a weekly series that features photos and profiles of citizens and scenes near Nyack, NY, is sponsored by Sun River Health.

has customized Hudson Link bus schedules including departure and arrival times for Metro North trains between Tarrytown and Grand Central on routes H07 / H07X. is a web app to ease your cross river commute from Nyack News And Views.

You May Also Like

The Villages

This week in the Villages: We’re back with details on the tragic Spring Valley fire that took the lives of five Rocklanders, including two...

The Villages

This week in the Villages: On its 25th birthday, we take a look at the potential demise of Palisades Mall in West Nyack. Plus,...

The Villages

This week in the Villages: We get a visit from some slippery friends at Nyack Beach, look at the library election results and celebrate...