Spreading his word

Frank Parish

Photo By Marisol Salgado

Frank Parish made a promise to The World Can’t Wait that he would spend four hours of each day connecting with the community. So far, he has kept his word. The 45-year-old activist came to Chico from San Francisco and is starting up a local chapter of WCW, a nonprofit organization of political activists opposed to the Bush administration. Parish, who has belonged to the organization for the past three years, makes his rounds in front of Peet’s, Chico Natural Foods, the Farmers Market, and the Univeristy Free Speech Area. He may change locations, but his message remains the same, “There neeeds to be a lot more grassroots participation from Americans.”

What types of reactions have you encountered?

We’re in a very conservative area. A lot of people will come by in support of the war. Some will just simply ignore the fact that I’m here. On the other hand, there have been a lot of good reactions, too, but it’s generally the same people. I don’t want to be critical of the people here, but there is a great need for political education. There are so many people that are not registered to vote, so many have no idea about the Patriot Act, about the Military Act. Last weekend, I had a soldier in full uniform come up here and spit at me. I was shocked. I said, “I’m a vet and you have no right to spit at me.” I served on the USS Lexington. My father is also a vet. So, I understand the effects of war.

How many people from The World Can’t Wait are in Chico?

I’ve been in Chico for a little over two to three months now. I am the only one here in town that is part of World Can’t Wait, but we have a volunteer list. We are going to start calling up volunteers. And the first big thing I want to see the volunteers come out for is the march. There is going to be a peace rally about Guantanamo Bay at the Chico Plaza on the 18th of this month.

Are you optimistic about your efforts in Chico?

Molly Ivins said it best before she died. She said, “If something upsets you, get out and do something about it every day.” Every day I try to do something for the future, but that’s all I can do. I can’t make them receptive to what I do. The more and more I do research and the more I find out, I think the whole nation should be outraged right now. When I was growing up there were people out trying to make change or at least discussing change. Now, I don’t see that connection between people. I don’t understand what is happening—it’s very frightening.