Stephen Rivers passed from this world on Monday June 7th. He will be greatly missed.
For the most part, because he gave so much and left so much still to be done. Stephen began his political activism during the original Yes We Can movement /Si se puede!/ of Cesar Chavez on the West Coast, there are some of those old pictures on his Face Book page, where you can see the semi long ultra blonde hair and for those who knew him, imagine the quick step keeping in pace with the movement he was involved with.
For many Stephen had been for the better part of the last years of his life an exemplary "Bridge" between Cuba and the United States, but he didn't just bridge Cuba and the US culturally, he also was very aware of the need for sovereignty and independence from imperial powers, many who come down with the idea of cultural exchange don't "get" that aspect, Stephen did. Not only that, but he would never turn a blind eye to the Cuban Revolutions faults, and sure as hell voiced his opinions when asked and gave as much insight as he could to help out, and for this I personally will be forever grateful. He helped out on causes that would otherwise be left to pasture by others, the Case of the Cuban 5 for instance was one such cause he embraced, not solely the politics but precisely because the case itself is a violation of US procedural law and that was the type of thing Stephen simply would not stand for. He saw life as an endeavour where by we all must play a constructive and positive role in order to make the imprint we leave on this earth something worth remembering. Stephen left a big one. When he gave a gift it wasn't just a gesture of friendship it was always a gesture of solidarity with a cause, whether it be the RED cause championed by one of his closest friends Bobby Shriver or giving the gift of environmental awareness to my son over Christmas one year when he "gave" him the gift of a panda thanks to a fabulous campaign sponsored by the WWF.
On a personal note, he would get me thinking, he would make me personally "wake up" to things and make me take note and push me to move forward on issues I might otherwise have left along the way.
I could go on and on...
May he rest in peace and may he know that I feel safe because I know he is on my side.