Harvey

I had a wonderful relationship with Harvey for over twenty-five years. He gave me a tremendous gift by allowing me to know and love him and in the process regain my ability to love and be close with others.

I first met Harvey Thanksgiving weekend, 1973, at the first-ever RC Women's Liberation Workshop (also the first RC liberation workshop). It was held at La Scherpa, a conference center outside of Santa Barbara, California, USA, where Harvey led over fifty workshops.

A few years before, I'd completed graduate school and my Ph.D. in sociology while being active in the women's movement. What Harvey said that weekend about women's oppression and liberation in the context of class society made more sense to me and was more profound than anything I'd heard in graduate school or the women's movement. From then on, I wanted to know this man better. . . .

Harvey supported me as an RC and wide-world leader by listening to me, encouraging me, and validating me. He was proud of me and let me know that, over and over again.

As college and university faculty, we kept asking, "Is this work really worthwhile? Isn't it just oppressive?" Harvey would say, "You can work with foreign students and give them support when they are lonely. You can introduce them to Co-Counseling. You can introduce them to all kinds of important liberation history. You are doing extremely important work, making new discoveries in so many areas -- medicine, communications, etc." That feedback from Harvey made an important difference to us.

Unless he was leading a workshop, Harvey worked most weekends and often invited Co-Counselors to help him. Once I helped him put up sheetrock on the walls of the south basement at Personal Counselors.

He figured out clever ways to use inexpensive finds from garage sales, Sears'1 basement, and the Salvation Army.2 He transformed the belfry of the old church building that is Personal Counselors into an office. The bell, turned upside-down, became his desk. He was a farmer, artist, musician, and carpenter, as well as a theoretician, writer, activist, friend, and family man. He asked my advice and listened to me. He believed that women could do anything men could do.

Harvey had me practice my Society for the Study of Social Problems presidential address with him. He had me say my first sentence, over and over again, in his office up in the belfry. He knew I'd had speech difficulties and been considered low-I.Q. as a child. He once said, "I think I speak for the whole universe, but I know I speak for myself when I say that I know there is absolutely nothing wrong with you."

Harvey allowed me to not only survive but to flourish, and more than any other person influenced my life and work.

Pam Roby
International Liberation Reference Person
for College and University Faculty
Santa Cruz, California, USA


1 Sears is a chain of department stores that caters to working-class people in the United States.
2 The Salvation Army is a U.S. charity that raises funds by collecting and selling used items.

 


Last modified: 2016-08-22 02:11:22-07