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Page 31
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Jersey City, NJ: Honoring VVAW Member Clarence Fitch at James J. Ferris High School

By Joe Hirsch

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On June 29, 2021, after a struggle lasting over three years, a signpost honoring VVAW member Clarence Fitch was finally installed at the always busy main and only student entrance to James J. Ferris High School in Jersey City, NJ.

The installation was marked by a two hour outdoor program put together by the Jersey City Board of Education. Speakers included the Superintendent of Schools, an elected member of the Board of Education, a VVAW member, and Clarence's family. The event received front-page coverage by the Jersey Journal, a local newspaper.

Clarence was a graduate of James J. Ferris High School and died of AIDS in 1990. He was a Marine Corps ground combat veteran of the Vietnam War, a trade union activist at the United States Postal Service, and a fighter for peace and social justice as the East Coast coordinator of VVAW. He is commemorated in Pershing Field Park in Jersey City as a "hidden casualty" of the Vietnam War along with too many others (including Dave Cline).

Clarence's story was the subject of the award-winning 1998 documentary Another Brother which was screened on a national Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) broadcast. It was made by his good friend Tami Gold. VVAW members Greg Payton and Ben Chitty served as project advisors.

The successful effort honoring Clarence was a joint project of VVAW, Veterans For Peace/Chapter 021 (Northern New Jersey), and the Fitch Family led by Clarence's sister, Reverend Mona Fitch-Elliot.

Additionally, the Jersey City Board of Education is now planning to use the documentary Another Brother as a teaching tool at the high school level.

Joe Hirsch has been a member of VVAW since 1970. U.S. Army 1966-1970. Phu Bai 1968-1969.

The signpost. JCPS is the abbreviation for Jersey City Public Schools.

Members of VVAW and VFP/021 along with the Fitch Family after successfully presenting their project to
hundreds in the community attending a public meeting of the Jersey City Board of Education.
Clarence's wife Elena Schwolsky-Fitch is 3rd from the left.

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