Vancouver’s activist community lost a valued friend in December, when Brian Campbell died of lung cancer. Brian was a man of rare depth, a fierce advocate for human rights, a committed socialist, a tireless organizer, and a tender and understanding friend. He was a dependable presence on picket lines and marches, his strong baritone chanting and singing above the crowd.
As Systems and Planning Director of the Vancouver Public Library, Brian made a lifetime career – inside libraries and out – of defending free speech and promoting free and equal access to information. That commitment earned him the Canadian Library Association’s award for Advancement of Intellectual Freedom in Canada, in 2015. After retiring from the VPL, he focused his formidable energies and intellect on progressive causes, including the Boycott Israel Apartheid Campaign (BIAC) and the Seriously Free Speech Committee (SFSC).
Brian moved from committed Christianity in his youth to a wider understanding of spirituality, a perspective that informed his social and political activity. His was a wise and inspiring presence to everyone who knew him. We knew he was ill, but all of us hoped that he would be struggling alongside us for much longer in the quest for social justice. Independent Jewish Voices (Vancouver) extends our deepest condolences to his wife Gillian and his family. He will be sorely missed.
The best tribute all of us can make to Brian’s memory is to continue the work he pursued so diligently: the struggle for liberation of all subjected people in Canada, in Israel and Palestine, and throughout the world.