A.J. and I would stay in touch in the years after I left Dayton in 1998.
With his death last month, perhaps it’s selfish for me to say, but I just wanted more time with A.J. Another decade or two, or at least another election cycle, or another month or week or day. Working and talking with him inspired me to do more, to go further, to try harder, to be better. You can’t replace that feeling. You can just try to embody it, every day.
Sam Daley-Harris, founder RESULTS and who was also a good friend of A.J.’s, shared this George Bernard Shaw quote with me many years ago. I think it captures what A.J. was all about:
“I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it what I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live.”
For over 37 years, Nick Arena has worked for not-for-profits that work on health, economic and social justice issues. Currently, he works for a community bank in Washington DC and volunteers his time with several anti-hunger organizations and the local community radio station WPFW FM.