In Memory of Jim Moran
- Posted by Gretjen Clausing
- November 25, 2020
On Saturday, November 21, Philadelphia and the labor movement in particular, lost a giant with the passing of Jim Moran (1939-2020), a man devoted to fighting for the health and safety of working people. A life-long Philadelphian from the city’s Kensington neighborhood, Jim worked for over 35 years with Philadelphia Area Project on Occupational Safety and Health (PhilaPOSH), the second organization formed in the United States by unions, health and legal professionals focused on health and safety issues faced by workers and their unions. The need for that protection has been made that much more evident today due to the pandemic. He was instrumental in creating the annual May Day commemoration and Labor Day parade and he served on the local board of the Pennsylvania Labor History Society and Newspaper Guild (Communications Workers of America, CWA Local 38010). This Inquirer obituary goes into much more detail about Jim's activism.
In 2011, Jim was elected to the PhillyCAM board of directors, he was our unofficial parliamentarian and made sure that PhillyCAM was walking the talk. Beth McConnell, of PACDC and former PhillyCAM Board chair remembers of her time with Jim on the board “that mischievous smile Jim had! It was like he was always up to some kind of good trouble and wanted you to know it.”
During his time on the board Jim was an advocate for our launch of WPPM 106.5 FM, a low power radio station as an opportunity to offer another platform to share news and information about the labor movement. In 2017 he and his co-host Charles Clarke began producing the weekly public affairs program Labor Justice Radio. “I can't think of a more dynamic duo out there sharing such compelling conversation and analysis of local labor and politics.” wrote Allison Durham, WPPM’s Production and Programming Coordinator. “Each week, Charles and Jim used WPPM as a platform to provide crucial information, interviews and stories on labor issues, frequently inviting workers and organizers to the show. Part of Jim's magic was his undeniable sense of humor, humility and interest in digging deep. Even in casual conversation, it was easy to tell that Jim really cared to know and relate to others. He always wanted the best for PhillyCAM and our members, and often expressed a desire for PhillyCAM's fantastic programming and work to be recognized widely in Philadelphia.”
Always early for the board meetings, I personally will miss seeing Jim seated in our PhillyCAM Commons sporting his Union YES! ball cap often locked in conversation with another member. We would sit there and talk about how we could use PhillyCAM’s platforms to discuss the history and future of the labor movement. I will always appreciate these conversations about how to bring in younger and diverse voices to the movement.
I am so thankful PhillyCAM has a video and audio archive of Jim in conversation with so many of our local leaders in the labor movement that we can reference to remember, learn and be inspired by. H. Alonzo Jennings, a fellow WPPM radio host said it best -- “Jim, I will miss you, your sharp incisive beautiful mind, your humanity. Above all your amazing ability to understand the past and present and knit it all together to serve the future.”
To continue Jim's legacy you contribute to the Jim Moran Legacy Fund set up by PhilaPOSH.
Here is a video, edited by PhillyCAM's Laura Deutch, that was shown at Jim's memorial on Saturday, November 28.
Here is a short clip from an interview, recorded by Jason Bosch, that shows the expansiveness of Jim’s vision for labor movement built on international solidarity.
Remembrances Of Jim Moran From His PhillyCAM Family
Vannesa Maria Graber, founding station manager of WPPM wrote on her Facebook page, “We lost a true hero and freedom fighter yesterday, our beloved Jim Moran, a long time Philly labor organizer and activist. I knew Jim as a producer and leader at PhillyCAM. He was one of the founders of WPPM and served many years on the board of directors. We worked together to build the community radio station. He was a trailblazer in Philly's history of labor organizing.
Jim was co-host of Labor Justice Radio on WPPM along with Charles Clarke and the two of them had countless important conversations about labor and politics on the show and featured dozens of workers and organizers. I had the honor of sharing the gift of radio with him and we worked together to use our platform as a tool for social justice. I am so proud of his work on WPPM.
Jim was very near and dear to my heart. We were good friends and for almost 4 years we saw each other every Monday to talk about politics, life, and local organizing. He was a fearless radical and devoted himself to labor organizing and educating people about their rights his whole life. He was also a great friend who was really funny and generous and endeared everyone who met him.
Jim was committed up until the end to do good in the world. He inspired me so much because he never stopped living and enjoying life. I will miss him dearly and treasure all of the wisdom he imparted on me. Rest in power, my friend. We love you so much and we will never forget you. Below is an interview I did with Jim where he tells his life story and informs us about the history of May Day.”
Charles Clarke, shared this memory of his radio co-host, "When I brought Labor Justice Radio to WPPM, PhilyCAM’s radio station, I learned that someone else was interested in a show about labor, working people. That person was Jim Moran. I had not met Jim before, but, after fifteen minutes of conversation I asked him to co-host. I felt he had a commitment to the welfare of workers and long experience in unionism. When the first show aired on WPPM in November of 2017, you would have thought Jim and I had been doing shows for a long time. There was no attempt to dominate by either of us. We had conversations. When we interviewed guests, we fed off each others energy, we had conversations. We viewed some things from different perspectives and sometimes we disagreed, but we never argued or got mad with one another. Why? Jim was a gentleman of good intent and you can’t argue or get mad with that. We built a relationship of mutual respect that lead Jim to dub us the “wheezer and geezer team”. Being six years older, Jim was the geezer. We had a good run. I am going to miss you Geezer."
Ricky Paul, creator and host of Sylver Alert on WPPM and former PhillyCAM board member, shared, “I remember sitting in on the first broadcast of Labor Justice Radio. Jim and Charles were fantastic together! I also remember Jim welcoming me to PhillyCAM's Board back in 2011 and showing me the ropes. Jim was both at once dedicated to equality for all and PhillyCAM's mission of diversity. Jim loved to tease me about all things Philly and I enjoyed discussing theories of democratic utopia with him.”
Antoine Haywood, host of Cratebeats on WPPM and PhillyCAM’s former Membership and Outreach Director, wrote “one reason why I love community media is this: there are so many good people who use this form of local communication to affect change in themselves and the world. Jim Moran was no doubt one of so many memorable good people I have met during my community media career. Jim always had an affirming smile and nod ready to share. It was a warm, confident greeting that let me know everything was going to be alright. His presence gave everyone around him a sense of ease. Of course, I was saddened to hear our community lost such a giant, but I am grateful Jim was always in our corner doing everything in his power to make things right. It’s a blessing we had Jim who was so committed to justice, caring for others and making our community a better place to live in. So many good people call PhillyCAM home and use it as a base to affect change in themselves and the world. Jim was definitely one of those good people who affected lasting change. I’ll miss seeing his gentle stride through the PhillyCAM front doors. I’ll miss catching up with him outside of the WPPM studio. He was that generous, kind uncle-like figure you always look forward to seeing. He was just good people. Rest well, Jim.”
Allison Durham writes, “Some people seem like stars that will never go out. Jim was one of those people. He lit up any room - in my time knowing him, often this was WPPM’s radio studio. I will never forget his lifelong commitment to empowering workers, the laughs we shared and the times we bonded over guitars, which he always considered works of art. We both loved John Prine and his song “Sam Stone” - I think of Jim anytime I hear it and will carry memories of our friendship forever.”