Ping (zestyping) wrote,

Aaron Swartz.

I went to the memorial service for Aaron at the Internet Archive last night. This is what I said.

I've been thinking about Aaron every day since I heard the news. When I think about Aaron, I remember the conversations we used to have about how we wanted to change the world. We sat in the dining room in my co-op, over plain white bread. He would tell me his ideas; I would tell him mine.

It's been amazing to see this outpouring from all over the world—so many people writing about Aaron, inspired by him. Danny wrote, "Every page I open has his name on it"—it's been like that. It surprised me to see so many people who are so moved by him who didn't know him personally, or even hadn't heard of him until now. And I think that's a testament to the power of the causes he stood for and the depth of his commitment to them. Aaron's causes are causes that touch all of us.

For a long time, I've admired his intellect and his work, but right now, what I feel most strongly—and I think a lot of other people do too—is: I wish I had his conviction. And maybe some of us are asking ourselves, as I've been asking myself: What could I do if I had his conviction?

Aaron was pragmatic. He wouldn't be satisfied with us just standing here and talking about him. He would want us to act.

So: find a way to act. None of us can be Aaron, but each one of us has skills, resources, relationships, strengths that are special to us. Take a minute to think about what capabilities you have, what privileges you have, what you're able to risk, and how you can bring those things to bear on the injustices that surround us. When we fight injustice, we're taking care of each other. And we have to take of each other. We have to take care of each other.

Pick something that needs doing, and use this moment, when injustice is staring you in the face: use it to make a promise to yourself to follow through. Because not everyone is able to fight, but we can. Not everyone knows they have to fight, but we know. And so many more people know now, because of Aaron.

If you're listening to this, you're not a spectator. You're in this fight, with Aaron, and with all of us. There's so much that we have to do.

Aaron was 26. Jon Brilliant was also 26.


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