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You too can be an activist

Actor and activist Mike Farrell visits the South Puget Sound

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B.J. Honeycutt is coming to town. He’s ready to make changes in this world, and he wants you to join in the fight.

If the name doesn’t ring a bell, B.J. Honeycutt was Hawkeye Pierce’s buddy on “M*A*S*H” (played by actor Mike Farrell, more recently known as the kindly veterinarian Jim Hansen on “Providence”).

More than just an actor, Farrell is also an activist for human rights and peace. He served as co-chair of Human Rights Watch in California from 1994 to 2004 and serves as president of Death Penalty Focus and as a member of the advisory board of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

Farrell will be in Olympia at the Minnaert Center for the Performing Arts at South Puget Sound Community College Thursday, Oct. 18, to speak about his journey into activism as described in his book, “Just Call Me Mike.” It’s kind of a you-too-can-be-an-activist evening sponsored by TC Pro-Net, Thurston County Progressive Network, a group that — as the name implies — is a network of progressive organizations and individuals in Thurston County ranging from Safe Place and PFLAG to Code Pink and Veterans for Peace.

“Usually when we go to an event, we get excited about the message, and then we go home with little or no follow-up. That is not going to happen on October 18,” says TC Pro-Net spokeswoman Sherri Goulet.

“Here’s the deal,” Goulet says. “Mr. Farrell will be talking about taking a first step into activism and has agreed to provide time and to steer audience members out to meet you, as a major sponsor, at your table in the lobby.”

That was Goulet’s spiel to get groups to sign on as sponsors, and it was successful. Even as I pound this out on my keyboard, the list of sponsors is growing. Major sponsors for the event include the SPSCC student group BRICK, Thurston County Democrats, Olympia City Council member Jeff Kingsbury, and the Rachael Corey Foundation. Local organizations that are signed up for a table in the lobby include Washington Public Campaign, All Souls Unitarian Universalist Congregation, the Sandra Romero County Commission campaign, Veterans for Peace, Alliance for Democracy, and many others.

Farrell will sell copies of his book, and local activist groups setting up shop in the lobby will promote their causes and answer all of your questions. Goulet says that the goal is to get new members for the participating sponsors and organizations. She calls it “a gentle push into activism.”

The event is free. It starts at 7 p.m.

[South Puget Sound Community College Minnaert Center for the Performing Arts: An Evening with Mike Farrell, Thursday, Oct. 18, 7 p.m., 2011 Mottman Rd. S.W., Olympia]

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