We have lost the founder of the CCWP, Don Rothman, whose tireless work for literacy education as social justice marked the CCWP and the Oakes College as safe places to debate, think, and change our minds. Don was a dreamer and a fighter.
Don Rothman, CCWP Founder
The University honored Don January 26, 2013 on the UCSC campus.
Here are some excerpts from those from around the state’s writing projects who knew him well.
I am remembering Don and thinking about Freire, and justice, and CWP meetings when Don rose to read something he had just written, always leaning forward into the rhythm of his words, with language and phrasing immediately identifiable as his and his alone.
~ Jayne Marlink, Executive Director, California Writing Project
Don was one of the saints of our Project and our profession. He was pure of heart and unswerving in his devotion to social justice and intellectual honesty. He was a fierce defender of the professionalism of teachers, the rights of workers, the dignity of his colleagues, and the legitimate needs of students. He read widely and wisely and always had new and provocative ideas to share. Every conversation with him was an opportunity to gain a new perspective and recognize an opportunity to intervene for the correction of some injustice. He was a radical of the old school, conservative in his respect for learning, for literature, for elegance in language, yet fearless in the face of power and indifferent to the rank and authority of those who needed his chastising rhetoric. We need him now, it seems, more than ever, but we always needed him. We were immensely privileged and enriched to have been able to count him as a friend and colleague. We are now immeasurably poorer without him.
~ Sheridan Blau, former director of the project at UCSB
His passion for ideas, his gentle humor and caring and his abiding belief in the power of words added a singular dimension to our years together at Asilomar. He was like our North Star, steady and true. I, too, feel honored to have known him and I also am grateful for all I learned from Don, one of our very best colleagues, ever.
~Carol Tateishi, former director of the Bay Area Writing Project at UCB