Jose Rodriguez (activist)
Jose Rodriguez is an American political activist. He was born in the Panama Canal Zone in 1952 and was naturalized as a child because of his father's long career in the U.S. Air Force. Getting drafted for Vietnam changed his pro-war attitudes. As the war wound down, he spent four years in the Air Force, stationed outside of Los Angeles.
Rodriguez then moved to Virginia, enrolled in George Mason University and became involved in the anti-nuclear movement, the beginning of a career as an activist. He worked on the 1984 campaigns of Alan Cranston, Gary Hart and Walter Mondale. He did press advance for Joan Mondale.
Rodriguez went on to become associate director of Freeze Voter, the political action committee of the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign. He then joined the 1986 Great Peace March, both traveling on the road and working in the Washington D.C. office.
While continuing to organize protests and rallies, in the late 1980s he started selling t-shirts and buttons at street fairs, music concerts and political rallies, using many of his own designs. During the early 1990s he opened his Politically Correct Clothing store at three locations in Washington, DC. News stories about his efforts, accompanied by photographs, have run in the Washington Post and the Dallas Morning News.
From 1991 to 1993 Rodriguez hosted the Politically Correct Cooking show on Fairfax Public Access cable TV channel Ten. He interviewed many Washington, DC area leading peace and justice advocates such as Hilda Mason, Josephine Butler, Ira Shor, Dacajeweah, Andy Shallal, Louise Franklin-Ramirez and Benito Torres. In 1993 the show won the Hometown Award for best Informational Series sponsored by the Alliance for Community Media. The show also was featured in news stories on NBC Nightly News and the early 1990s CNBC cable television show "Equal Time" co-hosted by Mary Matalin and Jane Wallace.
Rodriguez also was an active participant in a widely publicized free speech lawsuit "Friends of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial v. Kennedy." In 1997 the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia affirmed the rights of activists to sell literature, buttons and stickers on the National Mall, although it did uphold a ban on t-shirt sales.
Photos of Rodriguez' Abu Ghraib anti-torture protest at peace demos were used repeatedly by mainstream press during 2005. In 2006 he began appearing at DC protests in his "Nuclear Death" costume, leading to more mainstream press photographs, including a prominent photo on the Drudge Report on July 4th. In that year he was also logistics coordinator for the two week Camp Democracy project.
- Autobiography at http://planetjose.com/biography/
- Biography - Jose Jorge Rodriguez
- (The Washington Post, March 7, 1993)
- (The Washington Post, March 4, 2004)
- (The Dallas Morning News, April 26, 1994)
- (Rodriguez letter to the editor The Washington Post, January 28, 1997)
- (The Washington Post, June 7, 1997)
- 1997 case referenced in United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia decision No. 00-5070 decided June 26, 2001