This month MADSA remembers three long-time leaders of our organization who are leaving Atlanta to be near their families:
Minnie Ruffin represented MADSA for many years at the weekly Coalition for the People’s Agenda meetings, served on the Coalition’s board, and worked with leader Helen Butler to fight for voting rights. She participated in many demonstrations. Her arrests in civil disobedience actions included for peacefully sitting in with the Atlanta Grandmothers for Peace, at an Army induction center in 2008 to protest the Iraq war (she has been a leader of that organization ever since); at the Atlanta AT&T headquarters with CWA members and Occupy Atlanta in 2011, protesting threatened mass layoffs; and at the state capitol with the Moral Monday movement in 2014, demanding Medicaid expansion. Minnie spoke at MADSA meetings on the Black Panther Party — having volunteered in their Breakfast for Children program while a PhD. student at UC Berkeley — and on voter suppression in Georgia. At the 2018 Douglass-Debs Dinner, we awarded her the first Ella Baker Award for Social Justice. She will live near family members in Portsmouth, Va. Her 2015 contribution to the national DSA magazine’s series on the impact of the civil rights movement on members’ lives can be found here.
Bob Wohlhueter was one of the original 10 members who applied for MADSA’s charter from national DSA and was a pillar of the chapter for many years thereafter. Bob (with his son) created our first web page, served as webmaster, and contributed a sound system to our events. His wife Judy Wohlhueter — a MADSA supporter, a Grandmother for Peace and a talented musician — sang and led us in song at many of our awards dinners and other gatherings. One of the Wohlhueters’ memorable contributions was their appearance at the 2015 dinner as Robin Hood and Maid Marian, promoting DSA-supported legislation to establish a “Robin Hood” financial transactions tax that could have raised billions to pay for any number of progressive health and education programs. They also acted the parts of Big Bill Haywood and Mother Jones in a labor history presentation that MADSA contributed to the Atlanta Jobs With Justice May Day 2016 festival.