by Linda Johnson Hoffman
My brother, John Johnson, was an icon of the ‘60s. That decade personified his life and it was where he felt most comfortable. Growing up in North Hollywood with our parents and our older brother, Eric, my brothers and I all attended the same elementary, junior and senior high schools. Johnny always looked up to Eric because he admired his intelligence, perseverance and gregarious personality. While Johnny was shy and introverted, he was a passionate activist for as long as I can remember.
Our parents formed the typical family unit. Our mom was a homemaker and our dad was a film editor in the camera department at Republic Studios and then at Universal Studios where he eventually retired. My dad liked to brag that he was a liberal democrat and hobnobbed about politics with the likes of other Hollywood liberals (which included Ronald Reagan in those days).We all pretty much followed in our dad’s liberal leaning footsteps. John took that belief system even further. In college, he became a left-wing radical, making noise and causing trouble in the 60s as a member of SDS and beyond.
Yes, he was a rebel, and proud of it. His passion never waned, in fact he channeled his efforts and energy into his beliefs his entire life. When he got involved with Change-Links, he found his purpose in life. As the editor and publisher of Change-Links which originally emanated in the early 1990s, he used this informational monthly newspaper as a vehicle for his life-long passion in fighting for justice and facilitating progressive social change in our society.
He had almost finished the April issue when he was felled by his illness. Johnny was always a caring brother to me and a terrific uncle to my daughter. She told me a story about when she was about 10 years old and was visiting him and discovered he had a microphone in his room. She remembered that he’d allow her to sing the song from Titanic, “My Heart Will Go On” at the top of her lungs for hours, as he went about his work. He supported our family when ever it was necessary. He helped our brother Eric through his illness and handled his affairs after he passed away. He also was a dedicated son to our mother when she was no longer mobile and needed care. I miss him very much, but am comforted by the knowledge of what he accomplished on Change-Links.
I am so pleased that the paper is being continued with as much passion and dedication as he had, albeit now with a team of workers. I am very proud of my brother on how he devoted his life by expressing his views and providing information via this newspaper on social justice and change as well as peace and freedom for humanity. I hope it continues to inspire its readers.