Honoring Alicia Jrapko on International Women’s Day

By Bill Hackwell on March 5, 2022

Graciela Ramirez and Alicia Jrapko, photo: Bill Hackwell

Here are my opening remarks at the International Tribute to Alicia on March 5. The link to the entire event can be found at the bottom of the page. On behalf of myself, Alicia’s three children and six grandchildren, we thank you for being here. After Alicia passed I expected that a lot of people would send their remembrance of her because being around and working with Alicia always made you feel like you were doing something positive and making some contribution towards a better world, one with less injustice, less racism and more human solidarity, it was an experience that people remembered. She was always tolerant and easy to work with and whether it was a long campaign or a short encounter her leadership style was attractive; always making people feel included and appreciated.

Alicia was a socialist, ..a Fidelista to be precise… but that didn’t get in the way of her rare ability to bring different political circles to work together for common cause, she once said, “The success of our efforts in the struggle to free the Cuban Five was based in the fact that we opened the door wide to work with all sorts of people some of whom I am not sure we can even call progressive”. Her sincerity always showed through making people’s defenses melt. Danny Glover told me that he could never figure out how to say no to Alicia.

But back to the response; what I didn’t expect was the avalanche of solidarity and appreciation that we have received and continue to receive from around the world….. Alicia always kept her focus on the objective; on the goals, and never ever looked for any accolades for her efforts, perhaps that is why she is getting so many now.

In all the projects and campaigns that she and I worked on we had an unwritten division of labor. We never started off trying to figure out who was going to be responsible for what, we just knew. Her office was on the kitchen table and mine here on the living room table and when we did need to figure something out we would leave the house and go walk the three miles around Lake Merritt in downtown Oakland.

Working on this tribute made me realize how little I actually knew about the depth of what Alicia did because of all the great things there were thousands of little things that went unnoticed. Alicia would of taken the lead on putting together an event like this and it’s made me think that you never really know a person until you’ve had to lift their load.

I know that there are many of you who would of liked to tell a story about Alicia today, but we have had to limit it to just a few of her closest collaborators. We hopefully are going to have a live event in the Bay Area in the not too distant future and one in Cuba when possible.

Having said that, of all the people that Alicia worked with none was closer than Graciela Ramirez, now the editor of Cuba en Resumen and the coordinator of the International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity in Havana. Both Alicia and Graciela were pushed into the struggle in Argentina during the US backed military dictatorship of their country in the 1970’s, and although they didn’t know each other at the time they could not have become closer sisters than they did… especially in the long campaign to free the Cuban 5,  the constant work to end the blockade of Cuba and establishing Resumen Latinoamericano in English.

So now in the spirit of International Women’s Day you will see in Graciela’s intervention how it was that these 2 powerful women became even stronger and more effective in the struggle by working together as one.

To watch the full tribute in English go to: