Eulogy: Words for Tooker, by Lindsay Tabah

(On the day of his memorial, 1st day of Spring 2004.)

I remember the day I realized with a kind of doom and reluctance that activism was not something I did, it’s something I am.

I am that person because of your example.

And it’s because of you that that feeling of doom and reluctance has been transmuted into something closer to courage and dedication.

You gave me the courage not just to think, but to act. Not just to act, but to be. You showed me how life could be lived, must be lived.

I have not always felt courageous or dedicated.

I remember the loneliness and fear the first time I was arrested at the pope squat. I called you from the police station in tears. Your words that evening are ones I will always remember: “I’m proud of you, Lindsay.”

At a moment when I felt so alone, your voice rang through the uncertainty: “I’m proud of you”. I only wish I had been able to be there for you in your moment of loneliness and uncertainty.

Like the activist Dad I never had, you taught me that I am not insignificant, that one person can pull off an amazing action with little resources and even less time.

In aspiring to be the best person you could, you gave us all permission. Permission to live deliberately, permission to take chances, permission to replace fear with hope, permission to not back down, permission to take a giant leap.

I feel so privileged to have worked with you: from a thwarted Ralph Klein pie-throwing expedition, to a costumed smoke-in at City Hall, a musical blockade of Augusta Avenue in Kensington market, to zany disturbances at the Auto Show, and U of T Governing Council meetings, to workshops every year at the Om Summer Solstice Festival. You made the work of political dissent a joy. You have taught me the mechanics of putting together an action, how to pitch a story to the media, do-it-yourself video, solar energy, organics, dumpster-diving. You shared whatever you had with me, opened your home to me when I didn’t have one, filled my pipe, loaned me bicycles, listened to my aspirations, made me laugh.

Made me laugh.

I will never forget you. As long as paved roads hold Toronto’s buried creeks in captivity, as long as parking lots keep vegetable gardens unplanted, as long as young people think the Don Valley is a highway, as long as pedestrians and cyclists continue to get killed and injured while on city streets, as long as children go to school hungry, as long as people go homeless, as long as politicians put themselves before the people they are purported to serve, as long as people say “I can’t” or “It’s too difficult”, I will work to change this. In your memory Tooker, I will work to change this.