The Last Word

The Last Word

Before I could bring the stories down  to the printer — a 20 minute downtown subway trip from my high school — I had one final step left.  I needed to meet with Richard Klein, the High School of Music and Art’s usually fair-minded principal.  Without his approval,  all our words stood still.  I can’t remember the exact ritual — did he read the stories in front of me and then sign off?  Or did he call for me after he’d read everything and then set me on my way?  What I do remember is the time I was told that my editorial about Constance Cook and the expansion of abortion rights was not fit for print in our high school newspaper.  This was the first time he’d ever censored one of my editorials, and I can’t remember how I managed to fill the space cracked open by his order.  I must have concocted something  less controversial as quickly as possible.   But what about my plea for the Cook Bill?  He could take away my editorial but not my voice.  So on the back page of the censored issue,  at the very last minute, I squeezed in a tiny but readable banner that read: Support the Cook Bill.  Mr. Klein never said a word. The lovely photo below shows what my high school looked like — before we merged with Performing Arts and moved down to Lincoln Center.

But really, there’s much more to the Cook Bill story (a Roe  v. Wade precursor) that deserves to be honored.  Integrity led the day!  I add Constance Cook and the very courageous George Michaels to my list of heroes. They should not be forgotten!

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constance_Cook

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Michaels

“I realize, Mr. Speaker, that I am terminating my political career, but I cannot in good conscience sit here and allow my vote to be the one that defeats this bill”, and asked “that my vote be changed from ‘no’ to ‘yes’.”  Assemblyman George Michaels’  prediction regarding his political career sadly proved all too accurate.

 

Comments are closed.