The River Phoenix I will remember is the gentle young man I met three years ago at a grape boycott rally in front of a supermarket in Miami. He had already had a brilliant career as an actor, was on the cover of all the teen magazines and had just been nominated for an Oscar. His clothes looked fresh, his hair was creased--apparently from wearing a baseball cap--and he wore a small, St. Francis-style wooden cross around his neck.
I wondered what this Hollywood star was doing at a modest little rally in Miami on that day, with no sign of any young fans around, just a few dozen middle-aged do-gooders like myself. He had been fasting for the grape-picker cause, and he gave a little talk over a megaphone that ended with "God bless you." He hugged a Mexican American next to him, to whom he passed along his fast.