authors from Menlo Park

We met author Karen McCann in 2012 soon after her book, Dancing in the Fountain: How to Live Abroad was published. Given her emphasis on travel writing, we were surprised when the Menlo-Atherton High School alumni reached out to us about her latest project, Women of the American Resistance, which includes both a book and website.

What prompted this turn to political activism we wondered? The answers are straightforward.

Growing up in Menlo Park, Karen was surrounded with political people visiting her father, Edward M. Keating, who founded Ramparts magazine, a political and literary magazine much associated with the New Left movement in the 60s and early 70s.

“While famous political activists were often in our home, as a teenager it was the actor Robert Vaughn who really got my attention,” Karen laughed. “He’d come north to participate in a march my parents helped organize in San Francisco.”

Karen was in the U.S. when Donald Trump was elected President but was at her part-time home in Seville, Spain, for both the inauguration and the first women’s march.

“That five million [mainly] women participated got my attention,” she recalls. “I realized the most important conversation of my life was going on right now, and I wanted to be in the middle of it.”

Both in the book and on the website, Karen outlines what people can do if they want to see political change both this November and the subsequent Presidential election. The first, she says, is change via the ballot box.

“Join the League of Women Voters,” she suggests. “Volunteer with them one day a week registering voters. There are elections being won by just a very narrow margin.

“If voter registration doesn’t feel like your calling, then look at all the things that are under attack — gay people, women, the disabled. Choose one that speaks to you. Take a stand because our rights and our democracy are being assaulted on 1,000 fronts.

“I believe we may actually come out of this by making improvements in our society — making democracy stronger and fairer and more humane.”

Karen’s book is available on Amazon; book sale revenues “go to Planned Parenthood in the name of anti-choice White House officials,” according to the author.

Photo courtesy of the author

{ 3 comments }

M-A alum Susan Samuels Drake chronicles her work with labor organizer Cesar Chavez in a book

Susan Samuels Drake grew up on Walsh Road in Atherton, graduated from Menlo-Atherton High School and then attended Occidental College. It was a life, she says, that was both “white and privileged” —  hardly the background that would lead to working for and volunteering with the California farm workers movement in the ’60s. “Looking back, when […]

Click to read more →

Peter Benjaminson got his start in journalism at Menlo-Atherton High School

Author and journalist Peter Benjaminson remembers the journalism room at Menlo-Atherton High School well. “There was a wall of glass between the classroom and the Bear Tracks [name of newspaper] office,” he said. “Charlie Mendoza was the teacher/advisor and how he handled the class and the paper impressed me. “One time when I was editor […]

Click to read more →

Avi Tuschman returns home to Menlo Park to shed insight into Our Political Nature

Avi Tuschman’s formative years ring out a familiar trajectory: Oak Knoll Elementary, Hillview Middle School and Menlo School. “For college and my doctoral degree, I went to Stanford,” he said, “so I’m a local boy through and through.” Local boy he may be, but from an early age, it was the unfamiliar and far away […]

Click to read more →