All of us are still dealing with the impact of John Judge’s passing. He affected so many lives for the better, not just in the research community, but for everyone – working to facilitate a world better off than he found it.
It is far too early to think about the organization as a whole in my view. However, it has become clear that we do need to address some immediate concerns about COPA.
I would like to start by saying that in all probability, last year’s COPA conference was going to be the last large-scale event run by John under this banner. We spoke after the conference about the difficulties or coordinating this thing every year. His suggestion at that time was that there should be a separate entity created to continue the conferences, if I wanted to do so, but that COPA would be retained as his project. We were still in the process of talking about what that would mean when he unfortunately had his stroke.
My main concern, as is the concern of everyone involved in the decision, is that in the past COPA has been used by some to assist or endorse projects that John did not believe in. We want to make sure that COPA doesn’t morph into something alien to the ideals he maintained.
When John died, there were only three names on the registered charter: John, T Carter, and myself. Neither T nor I wanted to proceed with COPA without John at the front. His partner, Marilyn, also felt that dissolving COPA would be what John would have wanted. Owing to this, T and I both agreed to effectively dissolve the organization as a continuing entity. It exists right now in a legal sense and may continue to do so until some paperwork and other business matters are resolved.
I appreciate everyone who has sent emails and made phone calls in support of keeping the flame going. T Carter and several others have already voiced their support in going on.
We are starting to think about what a new organization would look like. My feeling is that we will be getting together in November to work out the details, and will use the intervening time to do the preliminary work in maintaining a research organization with an emphasis on social justice as well as continuing COPA’s trailblazing efforts to secure the release of documents.
At least for now, it makes sense to retain the COPA website as a vehicle for putting up articles about John and for news about, for example, the upcoming planned celebration. In my conversation with Marilyn recently, she suggested that we maintain the website until it was time to change over, and then redirect it to that new site. In the meantime, a celebration is being planned in D.C. for John on May 31st, with details to come.
Please continue to send donations to Marilyn either to COPA at the COPA address or to the gofundme site. This will help her handle some of the associated costs. The generosity shown has truly been amazing.