Born in Little Rock in 1944 and raised in Dallas, Wade Hudson moved to Berkeley in 1962 to attend the University of California. He soon became immersed in most of the movements associated with that era, including the civil rights, human potential, counter culture, peace, student, black liberation, cooperative, women’s liberation, sexual freedom, and environmental movements.
In 1967, Wade received a Bachelor of Sciences with a Field Major in Social Sciences (and a concentration on political science and psychology) and entered the Pacific School of Religion (also in Berkeley), planning to work with the Methodist Church as an organizer of “communities of faith, love, and action.” While a student there, he helped organize the New Seminary Movement.
During those years, Wade was employed as a paperboy, short-order cook, bicycle messenger, store clerk, psychiatric orderly, hospital orderly, and church counselor.
In 1969, Wade moved to San Francisco, worked as an Intern Minister at Glide Church, intiated the Alternative Futures Community, and made a life-long commitment to community organizing rooted in “the integration of the personal and the political.”
Throughout the 1970s and most of the 1980s, he initiated a number of grassroots organizations, including the Network Against Psychiatric Assault, Muni Coalition, Bay Area Transit Coalition, District Eleven Residents Association, Bay Area Committee for Alternatives to Psychiatry, Tenderloin Self-Help Center, Tenderloin Jobs Coalition, and the 509 Cultural Center. He also volunteered with Madness Network News, San Francisco Community Congress, and other community-based projects, and co-edited the Madness Network News Reader (Glide Publications).
During those years, Wade was employed as a Mental Health Counselor at Marin Crisis Clinic, Coordinator at Outer Sunset Community Food Store, Staff at Campaign Against More Prisons, Manager at South of Market Food Co-op, Co-Editor at The Tenderloin Times, Resident Manager at Aarti Housing Cooperative, and part-time Cab Driver at Yellow Cab Cooperative. He also served on the Boards of Directors for Baker Places, Westside Community Mental Health, and Regional Young Adult Project, and served on the District Five Mental Health Advisory Board, San Francisco Mental Health Advisory Board, and Vanguard Public Foundation’s Community Board.
In 1988, Wade moved to Washington, DC, where he conducted research on national economic policy and worked part-time at SANE/Freeze (telefundraiser) and the Center for the Study of Psychiatry (research assistant).
In 1989, he moved back to San Francisco, worked as a part-time cab-driver, founded the Solutions to Poverty Workshop that developed a ten-point program for ending poverty, and organized the Campaign to Abolish Poverty, which persuaded Congressman Ron Dellums to introduce the Living Wage Jobs For All Act. Wade then wrote Economic Security for All: How to End Poverty in the United States and organized the Economic Security Project, which opened the Internet Learning Center as a place for low-income people to improve their computer skills. He also served on the national governing board for the Alliance for Democracy and initiated the San Francisco Progressive Challenge, which supported the Progressive Challenge organized by the Institute of Policy Studies.
In early 2000, Wade moved to a cabin in the Santa Cruz mountains, where he took a partial sabbatical from activism, brainstormed with friends and associates about possibilities for new political projects, and volunteered as Co-editor of Inlet.org, a progressive web portal. In mid-2000, he obtained his taxi medallion and became co-owner of Yellow Cab Cooperative, which appeared to provide him with his own economic security.
In March and April 2003, during the U.S. invasion of Baghdad, Wade served with the Iraq Peace Team, a project of Voices in the Wilderness. His Baghdad Journal was widely circulated on the Internet and used by high school teachers. Upon his return, Wade self-published a small book, Promoting the General Welfare: A Campaign for American Values.
In early 2004, he moved back to San Francisco and initiated the Toward Peace website, the Strategy Workshop to explore how the progressive movement might be more effective, and the Reaching Beyond the Choir Project. In late 2004, with Michael Larsen, he initiated the Progressive Resource Catalog. In 2007, he self-published Global Transformation: Strategy for Action.
In 2008, Wade volunteered for Barack Obama’s campaign and communicated extensively with the national office concerning post-election possibilities and co-convened with Roma Guy the Post-Election Workshop, hoping in vain that the Obama campaign would morph into a national grassroots organization.
In 2009, Roma Guy and Wade co-convened the first Compassionate Politics Workshop. In late 2010, he joined the Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples and initiated a blog, Wade’s Weekly. In early 2011, he helped convene the Second Compassionate Politics Workshop. In 2012, while immersed in Occupy San Francisco, he organized the Occupy Be the Change Caucus and the next year initiated the Holistic Three-Fold Path Workshop and created the short-lived Reform-Wall-Street.org website.
In 2013 he launched Wade’s Wire and took a nine-month road trip to write his autobiography, My Search for Deep Community, which he self-published the next year.
In 2014, he was elected President of the Western Park Residents Association, where he lives, and served one year.
In 2015, the emergence of Uber wiped out his retirement plan, forcing him to shift to working full-time in order to save money for his old age. And in an unsuccessful attempt to support the development of a unified taxi-community alliance to defend the taxi industry, he created the TaxiTalk,info website and published a newsletter for drivers to distribute to their passengers.
Since June 1, 2017, he has been retired from cab driving, which leaves him free to pursue his passions full-time.
As he wrote for Birthday Reflections, 2016:
On my 72nd birthday, my path forward is unclear. I know what I want but I don’t know how to get there.
I want to participate in a holistic, powerful, democratic, inclusive, multi-issue, nonviolent, national organization that:
- Is dedicated to steadily transforming this nation and its social system into a compassionate community dedicated to the common good of the Earth Community.
- Builds momentum with evolutionary revolution by backing progressive positions that already have the support of a majority of Americans.
- Grows a network of small groups of individuals who share that commitment and explicitly support one another in their efforts to become better, more effective human beings.
- Encourages members to engage in active listening, appreciative inquiry, and respectful, non-dogmatic, non-ideological dialog.