Dedicated to family, friends, the planet and Community Rights
A dedication to a local leader that did extraordinary work in their community by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, from March 27, 2018.
The Ohio Community Rights Network (OHCRN), the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), family, friends, and community members across Ohio are mourning the passing of Dick McGinn. We are also celebrating his life – a life of service and contribution.
The Man – A Brief History
Dick was 78 years old, a native of Spokane, WA, and deeply rooted in Athens, OH. He served in the Peace Corps, became a teacher, and, though retired, he continued teaching everyone whose life he touched – about fairness, justice, being passionate for a cause, and how to do it with a wink and a smile.
His motivation: protect Athens water
Those of us at CELDF and OHCRN met Dick McGinn as the statewide Community Rights movement was first beginning in 2013. Like so many in this movement, the message of local self-governance of, by and for the people struck a resonant chord with Dick. He attended Democracy School and became a student again. Then he took what he learned and went back to his beloved community of Athens and began to teach and organize.
Dick had a knack for bringing people together. He was instrumental in forming the Athens Bill of Rights Committee, one of the first grassroots Community Rights organizations in the state. He motivated and inspired community members to collect signatures to place a rights-based citizen initiative on the ballot protecting Athens’ water.
The initiative was challenged and blocked from the ballot. Dick wasn’t deterred. The group worked with CELDF, revised the ordinance, gathered signatures, and successfully placed it on the ballot. Dick led the Community Rights campaign and it overwhelmingly passed with 76% of the vote. MORE…