Yesterday afternoon, I received word that one of Hamilton’s most gifted media personalities has passed away. Maggie Hughes, host of CFMU’s The Other Side, was an old friend and one of the most determined activists our town has ever seen. Folks, so far, have been devastated by the news, announced yesterday morning on her native CFMU and spreading since over social media. She had a lot of friends, and she’s going to be sorely missed.

I’ve known Maggie for nearly a decade. To me, she wasn’t a voice on the radio, she was the one with a microphone who made it out to nearly every major protest I can name, from Red Hill to Occupy Hamilton. Her tireless and usually single-handed efforts provided a voice for activism and radical politics which outlasted every single other attempt I could name combined. She could be fierce, for sure, but that was driven by a passion for our world which never relented. Whether online or on the airwaves, she never stopped, even over the last year of her life.

The last thing I did before bed, the night before last, was read one of Maggie’s articles, posted last week on Raise the Hammer. She also spoke to council last month, regarding Enbridge’s pipeline plans. Even up until the end, Maggie never stopped fighting.

I’m not sure any of us were aware how sick she really was. I knew she suffered from MS, but this caught us all by surprise. She was still so young, and this came far too soon.

Maggie Hughes was an inspiration to me, and I doubt I’m the only one. Long before I’d taken up writing or journalism, she showed that it could be done. That one person, if they worked hard enough, could learn what they needed and be where they had to despite incredible personal obstacles. She taught people the ropes of radio, and she gave countless more a voice. It’s up to all of us, now, to keep her legacy going. More than anything, that’s what she would have wanted.

We’ll miss you, Maggie.

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