Jonathan King: (Jill Nelson)

Jonathan King has been a mentor in so many areas to so many people in his life. I am one of them.

When I moved to Boston in the early ’80s to work on the National Jobs with Peace Campaign, Jonathan was the National Co-Chair. He took me under his wing and helped me learn about so many things in so many ways. One of my most vivid memories is Jonathan taking time to come all the way to the Jobs with Peace office in downtown Boston on a Saturday morning to help me learn to write a grant proposal. His patience was endless.

Both Jonathan and Jackie were and continue to be great sources of knowledge and inspiration to me. They helped me study political theory and social change in a focused and organized way. They have been and continue to be on the cutting edge of developing organizations to meet the challenges of the moment, such as Massachusetts Peace Action and so many others.

It is remarkable to me how Jonathan, who is such an accomplished scientist, with so many projects, so many students to teach and graduate students to guide, could find the time for a parallel life focused on social and economic justice and peace. How many professors specifically link on their university’s web page, as Jonathan does on his MIT profile, the need to reduce the military budget to fund the biomedical research needed to address urgent health issues? His scientific genius, his understanding of social justice and his dedication to changing militarism and oppression globally are seamlessly intertwined in a way that is very rare in academia or anywhere else.

For all the time I have known him, Jonathan has always had the time and energy to help lead movements in multiple areas of social struggle, including organizing against war, biological, chemical and nuclear weapons, homelessness, privatization of public education, and many more. He has helped found many social justice organizations, including the Jobs with Peace Campaign, and gives unsparingly of his energy to help these organizations grow and develop and train new leaders.

Whenever I think of people who are examples of extraordinary accomplishment, Jonathan King is always at the top of the list. I feel privileged to have known him and Jackie and to have been a part of their sphere of influence on so many people in so many realms.