On December 7th, 2013 a group of Jordan’s closest family and friends met for dinner at El Quijote in Chelsea, NYC to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Jordan’s death. I had been avoiding eating there while living in the city for the past nine and a half years, since that was where we had our final family dinner with Jordan 10 years ago — right before he went to the protest in Miami.

In attendance were Abe, Jared, Tom, Diane, Sheila, and my fiancée Danielle. We caught up on each other’s lives while sharing pitchers of sangria along with our favorite Jordan stories. We had a toast to him and Abe volunteered to read some words Dad had written for the occasion. Here are those words.

Who was Jordan Feder?
What was His Legacy?

We are here to Honor the Life of Jordan Matthew Feder. To say he’ll be missed does not begin to cover the depth of what we’ve lost. Men of his character, commitment, wit and courtesy are rare indeed, sad to say. Those of us whose lives he touched came away so much the richer for the experience.

Jordan was a unique character. From the onset of college, he did not do drugs. He did not drink alcohol. He was vegan. Under a crisis when most people would put in shows of false bravado – Jordan would quietly attend to his business. He liked to get people to underestimate him. His quick smile and friendly manner was always disarming and warming, but there was no mistaking – He was as fierce in battle as he was gentle in friendship. His friends always wanted Jordan next to them when a skirmish or battle with either the police or white supremacists caused trouble because his friends felt safer when he was near them.

As far as I am concerned, he died a hero – returning from a NAFTA demonstration in Florida trying to make the world a safer and better place for us all. But more importantly, he lived a hero.

If the world had more men like Jordan Feder, there would be no need for an Army to protect us from harm.

This past June, I turned 67 years old. To some here, it’s ancient. To others it’s young. But lately I’ve been thinking about what we leave behind when we die, what are our legacies. I even wonder how long our loved ones will remember us.

So I started to think about my son, Jordan. I thought about his voice, his laugh, and the days when he was 3 years old and he would stare in the mirror and practice his funny faces. I recall another incident when he was around 5 years old and he jumped on a big 7 year old kid that was hitting his older brother – yelling at him to get off his brother. Even then, he was wildly protective of his friends or relatives. I thought about the day in High School he informed me he was going to stop drinking alcohol – for good. Knowing he was on his way to college soon, I suggested to moderate his drinking and stopping altogether would be difficult with all the peer pressure around him in college. His answer was, “I can handle that part – I intend to stop drinking.” And for the four years in college and beyond, he did exactly that.

I marveled at his wisdom in seeing the big picture of things. I recalled how much I enjoyed talking with him, how much common sense he had and how much he loved his brother, his Mom and me. I remember how many people wrote to us telling us how much Jordan impacted their lives. He was the glue that kept everybody together. He never judged others; he just tried to bring out the best in them. I am proud because my son, Jordan, came into the world and made the world a better place. You can’t ask much more of a son to leave the world in a better place that he came into. Early in his life he realized that if we don’t care about others, others will not care about us. He used to say ‘wealth is not calculated by what you accumulate, but by what you share.’ So take what he taught us and pass it on. It’s important you understand that now, you’re Jordan’s voice.

He was my son. When he came home from college, he would go out and come home very late at night. I knew the things he was doing were dangerous, and I would never go to sleep until he came home safely. When he came home, we would talk – sometimes for hours. He loved sharing his world with me. He was more than my son…he was also my friend. But he also was a great friend and brother to many others. Irreplaceable. He will forever be missed. For all that knew him behind the facade of Mr. Cool & Quirky, he was a kind-hearted, genuine, warm person who always believed that people meant well, even if they did not.

So, what is his legacy? “He was the glue that kept people together.” He negotiated truces and kept the peace. He was cool-headed when everyone else around them might not have been. He made people feel good about themselves. He made them believe in themselves. He made them laugh. He made them feel safe. He was a friend to all those around him. He was a leader. Jordan brought out the best in you – and made you a better person for it. So the real question I pose to you that knew Jordan – “Has Jordan brought joy to you or to others you know?” The resounding answer is “YES!” That is his legacy!

Jordan fought the good fight and I was proud to call him my son. Walking through life with my son, Jordan, for 23 years has been a very gracious experience.

for all that he was,
all the he might have become,
and all that he still is
to his family and friends.

Edward R Murrow once interviewed John F Kennedy. He asked “Do you get a chance to do much reading?”

JFK: Yes, I used to read very much and I try to do it as much as I can now.

Murrow: Have you found anything that has been particularly useful, or perhaps I could use the word inspirational, to you?

JFK: Well, I do have something here that was written by Alan Seeger who, as you’ll remember, was born in NY & fought in the Foreign Legion and was killed in the First World War in 1916. He wrote that famous poem, I Have a Rendezvous with Death.

I have a rendezvous with Death
At some disputed barricade,
When Spring comes back with rustling shade
And apple-blossoms fill the air—
I have a rendezvous with Death
When Spring brings back blue days and fair.

It may be he shall take my hand
And lead me into his dark land
And close my eyes and quench my breath—
It may be I shall pass him still.
I have a rendezvous with Death
On some scarred slope of battered hill
When Spring comes round again this year
And the first meadow-flowers appear.

God knows ’twere better to be deep
Pillowed in silk and scented down,
Where Love throbs out in blissful sleep,
Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath,
Where hushed awakenings are dear…
But I’ve a rendezvous with Death
At midnight in some flaming town,
When Spring trips north again this year,
And I to my pledged word am true,
I shall not fail that rendezvous.

Just before he died, he wrote a letter home to his mother which I think has good advice for all of us: Whether I am on the winning or losing side is not the point with me. It is being on the side where my sympathies lie that matters. Success in life means doing that thing that which nothing else conceivable seems more noble or satisfactory or remunerative. And then being ready to see it through to the end.”

I grew up with Jordan and we were in and out of each others lives, taking
very different paths but often winding up in the same places. I wrote
this song with him in my heart, and I’d like to share it with you.

http://bigattack.bandcamp.com/track/cold-hearts

Russell Golden


Cold Hearts

Sometimes you gotta do what’s right by you, and
sometimes I understand there’s more important
things out there than me, than you, than everyone
and you can’t help but fight for them

Sometimes the world can be a hateful place, and
it took you down; you were so young, it’s just not fair
What about what I wanted: for me, for you, for everyone?
You broke our hearts and left us here!

This is for them: hopelessly hero we don’t understand
even if we never see the world make their amends, oh well,
this one’s for them

And I wish I could say the world is now a better place,
and I wish I could say that you made a difference,
but people are dying and children are crying to keep the
flags flying and where are you now?

And I’ll say it now: I would’nt have had it any other way but,
sometimes I miss you so bad I just wanna be dead
If you had another chance, you’d throw it all away
for this merciless world with cold hearts, cold hearts

We can’t be afraid to step out of line!
So what what others think, what others think is what got us here!
I know it feels like we’re gunna stand up to get beat back down but,
sometimes you gotta do what’s right by you!

Jordan Feder, say no more!
credits
from BIG Attack! (self​-​titled debut), released 27 November 2006

Memorial piece for Jordan Feder, who died immediately following the Miami police state. A beautiful piece written by a friend and fellow fighter.

author: Pete Spina, contributed by dadanarchist
9 January 2004

It is November 23, 2003. At around 11 p.m. we load into our van, ready to leave Johnston Memorial Hospital in Smithfield, North Carolina and head back north. Morninglory turns to us. Jordan wanted her to tell us that he loves us all and that he never would have traded this for anything.

We are leaving Jordan behind in North Carolina. When we arrived at the hospital his fever was 103.7º F and his hands were going numb. The doctors said it was the flu and gave him something to bring down his temperature. We decided it would be best if he spent the night with a person we know in Raleigh. Allie and Madmartigan, our medics, will be staying with him.

Rewind a bit. Start somewhere else.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mayor says repression was a “model for homeland security”
By Jennifer Van Bergen
26 November 2003

Tens of thousands of demonstrators who came to Miami last week to protest the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA) ministerial meetings met with police harassment, provocation, and brutality. More than 100 protesters were treated for injuries, 12 were hospitalized and an estimated 250 were arrested. The Bush administration provided $8.5 million to back up local police against protesters.

Miami Activists Defense (MAD), a rapidly assembled group of attorneys from the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) and legal workers from Midnight Special, a mass demonstration support group that arose out of the World Trade Organization protests in Seattle, along with other groups, assembled in Miami a week or so before the ministerial meetings to provide demonstrators with legal support. MAD members field phone calls, provide referrals for legal representation, attend bail and court hearings, and post helpful information on the Internet.

Expressing alarm over the police tactics, Laura Raymond, the NLG student organizer on the Miami protest who is working with MAD, cited “brutality, beatings and such—tasers, wooden and rubber bullets, many cops beating one person, concussion grenades, electrical shields, etc.—so it seems as though arrest numbers are down but the intensity of the arrest and the complexity of defending all these cases is high.”

Another MAD worker inside the demonstration zone stated that there have been “thousands of militarized police, in full riot gear, including electrified shields, tanks, automatic and semi-automatic weapons, tear gas, rubber bullets and bean bags, violently arresting peaceful demonstrators.” The MAD worker pointed out that while “similar means have been used, of course, in response to global justice movement actions in the past… [W]hat makes Miami different, more frightening, is that all of these tactics were [now being] used in the absence of direct action” by demonstrators. MAD even received multiple reports of people being held at gunpoint without explanation or cause.

Public remarks of Miami police chief John Timoney support MAD reports. Papers quoted him saying: “We’re locking them up, piecemeal. We’ll try to do as many arrests as we can. If we don’t lock ’em up tonight, we’ll lock ’em up tomorrow.”

Michael Avery, president of the NLG, wrote a letter to Miami mayor Manuel A. Diaz, condemning the actions of the Miami police and demanding “a full-scale, independent investigation into the police officers’ alarming behavior, with the results to be made public.” Avery wrote Diaz: “Such paramilitary tactics are ill-conceived and self-defeating and have no place in a democratic society.” Two other advocacy groups—the Citizens Trade Campaign and Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch—also sent letters Friday to the Miami police.

Miami public defenders report that bonds as high as $20,000 have been set for such infractions as riding a bike late at night or carrying an open can of beer.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) attempted to negotiate with police for many weeks before the demonstrations to ensure that protesters’ First Amendment rights would be protected. An ordinance was passed by the Miami Commission just the week prior to the demonstrations, restricting items demonstrators could carry and giving the ACLU and NLG little time to respond with legal action.

“We think the Fourth Amendment was completely suspended this week, and we’re very frustrated with that,” said Lida Rodriguez-Taseff, president of the Miami chapter of the ACLU. Both the ACLU and the NLG are considering legal action against Miami officials.

“Police chief Timoney claimed officers acted with restraint,” said Marc Steier, an attorney with MAD. “This assessment goes against the eye-witness reports of hundreds of people on the streets,” continued Kris Hermes, MAD spokesperson. “Mayor Diaz even had the gall to say that Miami was a ‘model for homeland security.’ He should know that his so-called ‘security,’ accomplished through assault and denial of rights for hundreds of people will be met with appropriate legal action.”

a guestbook entry

Matt
Sept 28, 2004

Hey, just wanted to say what’s up. I am kind of lost in terms of my direction in life. Like you, I tried the SEIU Wave program. Got placed in Ohio. It was actually a very short time after you left, and some of the people out there knew you. It was comforting to hear others stories of you, even if they only knew you for a brief bit. I remember calling you from the OI. It felt great to share that experience with someone who had been there before, the same as you did to me when you called me from your OI to tell me how it was going.

So ya, I kind of feel cheated. You were so great to so many people, I thought I was special or something. I thought that perhaps I was getting special attention, when in all reality I was getting the same as everyone else. I think you had that ability, to make everyone feel included, even if everyone meant 1,000 people.

So I felt like talking to you cause you always had positive things to say. You could always turn my pessimism into optimism. You had a way of looking at things in a positive light, no matter how negative they were. I don’t know if you understand how much I appreciated that.

I want to also say thanks for being with me on the streets in Miami. I was really scared many times but with you by my side I felt comfort. For some reason I knew everything would be all right so long as you were there, it just always happened that way. Also, thanks for helping out in organizing things and taking care of the other van. Sometimes I wonder if I had been the van to stay behind, perhaps you would still be here to talk to.

It came down to rocks, paper, and scissors.

Who says winning is everything.

Just wanted to drop you a line, let you know I was thinking about you, as I do quite often. At least I have your Thundercats hat to keep me warm in the winter, and your helmet to protect my head while riding my bike. Protection, that’s what you are best at. Hope things are going well for you. I am sure we will talk again.

http://jordanfeder.com/book/

For Jordan’s Family

If there was a cause to be fought
His voice would be heard
When others more influential
Wouldn’t utter a word
If there was a child to be saved
Or a head that needed a shoulder
He would be there in a hurry
He had a soul of someone wiser; older
I had not met this man
But on my heart his impression carries
Because of the good things said
On the day he was buried
He had the soul and spirit
That made histories
This ode is to a prophet
That was only twenty-three.

By Florence Carter Rosario

November 30, 2003

Hello Alan and Michele –

We were shocked to learn about Jordan.  Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers are with you and your family.

Jordan spoke about what he believed in and was not one to stand along the sidelines.  I recall articles in the Towerlight about living wages for the cleaning staff at Towson, and his comments about the resignation of Mark Perkins.  I recall the Summer Send-Off at your house where he sat with incoming freshmen and handled their questions and concerns about collegiate life.  I especially remember his surprise when every one of them pulled out their fake ID and asked if it was good enough to get themselves served.  He handled it well – no matter what was thrown at him.  I remember him as intelligent, involved, polite, and someone who was not afraid to take a stand in what he believed.

I know how very proud you are of him and what he had grown into.

Such a tragedy – such a loss for all of us.

Our deepest condolences.

Mike & Sheryl Kreps

I would like you to know that in recognition of your involvement as a founding member of the Towson University Parents Association and in memory of Jordan, the Parents Association will fund and award in 2004 the Jordan Feder Memorial Scholarship to a student of a Parents Association member.

April 2004

I was breathless when I read your letter notifying me of Jordan’s death.  Words seems so inadequate at this time, but I wanted to send you this letter expressing my deepest sympathy and let you know how honored I am to have had the opportunity to be a small part of his life.

Jordan accomplished so much and touched so many lives.  I can only imagine the joy he brought to people that had the privilege to know him as well.  I remember reading his original essay and the brief updates that he would send and they never failed to bring smiles to our faces (his letters always got passed around).

In Jordan’s first essay for us he wrote, “It was Bugs Bunny that caused me to realize that the goodness inside a person is what is important.” Jordan did not just write this, he believed it.  He lived it.  The picture Jordan sent to us of your family and Bugs at Six Flags still hangs on my office wall and continues to bring a smile to everyone’s face who sees it, as well as, a story from me about the wisdom and sincere caring of an 18 year old.

So seldom, is there a person that truly sees value in those less fortunate and sets out on a path to make a difference.  Jordan was one of these stars.

On behalf of everyone here at Two Ten and myself, please accept my deepest sympathies.  Our hearts go out to you.

You are in our thoughts,

Cathy Nelson
Scholarship Director
Two/Ten Footwear Foundation

MY BEST FRIEND

The Warped Tour is coming.
But, no more hearing of funny stories and kicking out the Neo-Nazi’s,
Because my best friend’s not here,
To share his exploits with me.

I would listen to his failures and successes nearly every day,
Never thinking it would all end.
Oh, what fun we had laughing about the slashed bus tires that
Caused his friends to be arrested, but were the wrong culprits.

My one wish would be,
To bring my son back to me,
So we can continue to laugh in the face of danger.
We’d have fun together, and laugh once more.

All that’s left are my memories,
For me to think about.
I will not say goodbye; I’ll see you again.
But, I’ll miss you forever, “My Best Friend.”

Alan Feder
In memory of my son, Jordan, who died at age 23 – 11/26/03