11 April 2017 - TOM HAYDEN - Activist

- Activist -

G'day folks,

I've always had time for those who are prepared to stand up for what they believe in. This man is one of them. Thomas Emmet "Tom" Hayden was an American social and political activist, author and politician, who was director of the Peace and Justice Resource Center in Los Angeles County, California.

“Looking back on the '60s, it was a crisis of the elders. They led us into the insanity of Vietnam and away from the path we were on in the civil rights and student movement. The lesson is to try not to repeat that. I can't be young again, but the responsibility of the elders is to listen to and empathize with what is going on with young people.”

Tom Hayden was a vocal antiwar and civil rights activist throughout the 1960s and 1970s. He became a progressive writer who served in the California State Assembly and State Senate.



Born on December 11, 1939, in Detroit, Michigan, Tom Hayden became known as a radical anti-war and civil rights activist in the 1960s. He married actress Jane Fonda, and served a combined 18 years in the California State Assembly and State Senate. After his political career, Hayden wrote for major publications and advance his ideals for social reform as director of the Peace and Justice Resource Center. He died on October 23, 2016.

Early Years

Thomas Emmet Hayden was born to parents John and Genevieve on December 11, 1939, in Detroit, Michigan. He continued to live with his mom after his parents divorced when he was 10, although he remained close to his dad through regular fishing expeditions and trips to sporting events. Hayden began thinking about a career as a foreign correspondent while a student at Dondero High School, but became more interested in social reform after enrolling at the University of Michigan.

  Social Activist and Political Career


A co-founder of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) in 1961, Hayden also joined the Freedom Riders in the South after authorities refused to enforce desegregation of pubic buses. He was jailed in Albany, Georgia, for attempting to desegregate a railway station. While incarcerated, he began drafting the famed Port Huron Statement, which introduced the concept of "participatory democracy" to a wider audience. Hayden later became president of SDS and helped form the Economic Research and Action Project to spur civil rights progress. 

During the mid-1960s, Hayden worked with inner-city New Jersey residents as part of the Newark Community Union Project and began traveling to Hanoi, Vietnam. He was arrested for protesting at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, becoming one of the "Chicago Seven" defendants who were convicted for conspiracy to incite violence but later had their convictions overturned.

Wed briefly to fellow activist Sandra "Casey" Cason in his early 20s, Hayden married actress-turned-activist Jane Fonda in 1973. That same year, the couple had a son together, actor Troy Garity (born Troi O’Donovan Garity Hayden). In addition to producing such anti-war movies as Introduction to the Enemy, the couple sought to win over political converts by giving speeches throughout the country, and transformed their Santa Barbara ranch into an egalitarian children's camp.

“I didn’t want to report on the world; I wanted to change it.” - Tom Hayden

Following an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate in 1976, Hayden formed the Campaign for Economic Democracy and became chairman of the California SolarCal Council. He ran for public office again in 1982, and served in the California State Assembly for 10 years.

Hayden and Fonda divorced in 1990. He married Canadian actress Barbara Williams shortly after being voted into the California State Senate in 1992. Despite helping to pass more than 100 measures during his time in office, tackling issues ranging from small-business tax relief to the reduction of gang and domestic violence to the welfare of shelter animals, his political career stalled. Hayden fell short in his attempts to become governor of California in 1994 and mayor of Los Angeles in 1997, and failed to secure a spot on the Los Angeles City Council in 2001 after leaving the State Senate. 

Hayden and Williams adopted a son, Liam, in 2000.

 Later Years & Death


Having already published several books, including his 1988 autobiography, Reunion: A Memoir, Hayden focused more on writing in the new millennium with regular contributions to such publications as The New York Times, The Huffington Post and The Nation. He also became the director of the Peace and Justice Resource Center in Culver City, California, through which he continued to share liberal ideas, support social and environmental and animal welfare causes, and speak out against wars for the remainder of his life. In 2015, he published Listen, Yankee!: Why Cuba Matters.

After a lengthy illness, Hayden died on October 23, 2016 in Santa Monica, California at the age of 76. 

 Clancy's comment: May he rest in peace.

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