New York Taxi Workers Alliance Tribute to Kevin Fitzpatrick
Kevin Michael Fitzpatrick, early morning June 4 th, 2007. Brilliant, bold, uncompromising, tireless, irreverent, loving, lively, loyal, kind, a truest working class intellectual was our beloved comrade Kevin. A veteran of over 30-years in the taxi industry, Kevin served as an Organizing Committee Member of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance since 1998. Kevin fought without fears or concessions for the right to work with dignity in the industry he called the mobile sweatshop.
In every corner of our office, in city public hearing rooms, in the walkways of garages and along the gates of airport taxi lots, we see Kevin. We hear his hearty, warm, kind, kind laughter. We remember his unrelenting quest for the next conversationalist, the next street corner prophet to talk shop and politics, politics and shop.
In every campaign, Kevin Michael Fitzpatrick was a critical player – he strategized until 4 in the morning and came back by 8 to start off mailings, outreach drives, phone calls, newsletters. If we needed to understand the history of really anything…politics, military, language, literature, capital, labor, the movements of peoples…we turned to no where other than Kevin. Our friend saw the bigness of the world and nourished it in the palm of his hands. Kevin's genius held an indescribable beauty and awness. He nourished facts, figures, moments in history across time and borders, as if they were dear friends. Pages of books were mere lines on the back of the hand.
But theory without practice was a promise unfulfilled. And so Kevin Michael Fitzpatrick in all his glorious genius was above all a devoted organizer. If a member was injured on the job, assaulted, harassed, wrongly suspended, or unjustly fired by a taxi boss, Kevin was ready, front and center, to defend the people he loved above all, taxi brothers and sisters. Kevin decried occupation from Ireland to Iraq and confronted racism with thoughtful, unforgiving passion. Whether in the office, on the streets, inside court rooms or during public hearings, Kevin Michael Fitzpatrick fought tirelessly for the 43,000 men and women he daily cherished and celebrated.
Kevin's lasting legacy will be his contributions to the formation of the International Taxi Workers Alliance. Body tiring from a long battle with cancer, he persevered with insight, patience, humor and vision. During the ITWA's historic founding conference this past March, our friend Kevin was the Brooklyn sunshine in a New York spring. Voice booming, body leaned back, eyes twinkling with knowledge, boldness, sarcasm, and that laughter of a thousand victories won, debates conquered, hope fulfilled. Kevin was in Kevin form.
Kevin lived his final days as he had lived all of his life. Illness, fatigue, chemotherapy never swayed his sharp focus or relentless resolve; just as 60-hour work weeks were never an excuse for why the union couldn't come first. He understood above all that for drivers of taxis, endless are the journeys.
Words cannot capture how grateful we are, how much better people we are, how much bolder and kinder we are, because we walked the ground in the footsteps of Kevin Michael Fitzpatrick. If we had to quantify his contributions, his knowledge, his devotion and his friendship, the universe would pale as a small wonderment. May you be, beloved Kevin, where the poet meets the scientist to talk revolution.
New York Taxi Workers Alliance
37 East 28th Street, Suite #302
New York, NY 10016