I never met Abner Mikva in person, but I have felt his presence and the influence of his great example. My first (albeit virtual) encounter with Abner was as a young boy growing up in the suburbs just north of Chicago in the 1970s. Throughout my childhood, there was just one political campaign sign my parents always put up: “Mikva for U.S. Congress.” We supported him in every race, win or lose. Thus began my lifelong interest in politics. Years later I met Zoe Mikva while I taught at Canter Middle School—a true, open-enrollment public school in the Kenwood neighborhood on the South Side. Inspired by the vision of the Mikva Challenge, I adapted the materials for use at the middle school level; my students loved it! Unfortunately, Canter Middle School was shut down and repurposed as a selective-enrollment building. Today, I continue to teach in CPS, sharing the vision of active democracy spearheaded by my fellow Ukrainian Jewish immigrant, Abner Mikva. Thanks, Ab, and rest in peace!
– Howard Fishbein, 7/8/2016