I am still Louis’ mother. I am not the first parent to have lost a child to an early , tragic death and I honor all parents who lose a child – whether to accident, illness, suicide or to murder & war. I am also not the first parent to want to transform tragedy into triumph so that her child’s memory may be a blessing. Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the Mothers of Sandy Hook Elementary, Four Mothers (Hebrew: ארבע אמהות ) Peace Movement in Israel, the mothers who have lost their young black sons to police violence, and the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo — all these mothers are saying what Louis sings in his song: Change: For Our Daughters, for Our Sons. “We need change and we need it real soon.”
Inspired by Louis’ immense sorrows and struggles, I decided in 2012 to leave my teaching career of of nearly 30 years to join the movement to end child abuse and intimate violence. Since then, it has been my privilege to work with a number of faith, civic and non-profit groups and inspired/inspiring leaders – locally and nationally – who share a vision of a world in which all people, especially children and the vulnerable, are treated with dignity and live in safety and peace.
Highlights & High Hopes
- working with Dr. Riane Eisler and the staff of the Center for Partnership Studies, serving as Portland Liaison for Eisler’s Spiritual Alliance to Stop Intimate Violence ; working collaboratively on the new SAIV website and to found & facilitate SAIV’s first ever grassroots community partnership; blogging for SAIV!
- serving as Co-Coordinator with my friend Randy Ellison* for We Will Speak Out in Oregon. We Will Speak Out – a project of the global public health agency, IMA World Health, which seeks to bring faith communities into the movement to end Sexual and Gender-Based Violence
- compiling and sharing, along with my colleague Randy Ellison, author of Boys Don’t Tell, a resource guide entitled Oregon Speaks Out! to provide resources for faith leaders who are ready to speak out about intimate violence, the public health epidemic that touches every community all around the world.
- being interviewed about Speak Out Sunday in 2014 on KBOO radio’s “Bread and Roses” broadcast with Delphine Crisenzo, host. (Delphine is also the talented videographer who did our project video for Kickstarter!)
- serving as Survivor Representative on the core management team of the Family Court Enhancement Project – a project of the Department of Justice and National Office of Violence Against Women.
- stepping up! as a proud member of the Battered Mothers Custody Conference (founded by Dr. Mo Hannah, Siena College) I gave a workshop a the BMCC X in Washington DC (George Washington University School of Law), lobbied on Capitol Hill with 50 other protective mothers & advocates for family court reform and in May 2015 and shared a plenary speaker’s slot with Nelly Jouan (French protective mother) at the Eleventh Annual (International) BMCC in Seacaucus, NJ.
- hoping and believing that Lou’s voice and vision captured in the “Free As The Sun” CD and book will help to make Lou’s memory a blessing in the world, shining a radiant Light through one beautiful Life – inspiring many to find their own inner light.
Among my personal (s)heros are Malala, Dr. Maria Montessori, Dr. Riane Eisler, Hera McLeod, Peace Pilgrim, Septima Clark, Mother Ann Lee, Amy Goodman, Tori Amos and Lou’s Owl Spirit Sister, Naomi Hooley. With a special shout-out to Joan of Arc and all those women warriors & mystics who hear & see strange and wonderful things.