Marvin Cohen, Membership, Education, Environment
Cohen grew up in the progressive and culturally diverse Bay Area, and has had many experiences outside the Bay Area which led him to a lifetime focus on issues of peace and justice.
For 20 years he worked in San Francisco as a public school teacher and counselor, working with students of all ages, kindergarten through high school. During that time he became involved in the anti-war and anti-nuclear movements.
Becoming disillusioned with the public school system, at the age of 40 he decided to go back to school to get re-credentialed as a specialist in orientation and mobility for the blind. For a period of 15 years he worked with the blind. Eventually, government funding cutbacks for rehabilitation meant that this was no longer an employment option.
Seeking employment elsewhere, Marvin decided to answer an ad for school counselors abroad, working as an immigrant in Israel. In order to complete the Israeli government program, he was required to attend an Absorption Center, where he spent six hours a day six days a week learning Hebrew.
For the period of four months that he lived in Israel he met a wide variety of Palestinians whom he befriended and found to be warm and gracious people.
Once he retired and moved to Rossmoor he never forgot his connection with the Palestinian people. Eventually he decided to be a co-founder of the Voices for Justice in Palestine group in Rossmoor.
Cohen has been the main organizer and tabler for the Center’s Youth in the Military program. In that capacity he created flyers, organized speakers and traveled to various high schools and colleges throughout Contra Costa County, attempting to dissuade youth from joining the military.