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Rest in Power: Jean Entine, Presente!

On the cusp of her 80th birthday, our dear friend, supporter and comrade Jean Entine died.

While we deeply miss her presence, Jean’s legacy and inspiration power onward, in the many lives she touched (including mine) and the many organizations she founded, cared for, contributed to and sustained to create a world that centered on justice and dignity.

Jean grew up as a white woman in Memphis, TN in the post-WWII era. I heard snippets — but never the whole story — of her politicization and deep commitment to racial, economic and gender justice. Jean usually spoke softly, with a strong Southern drawl (at least to my Midwestern ears) and a slow, easy laugh. I frequently had to lean in to really hear and understand her, something that always brought such a deep reward. Based on what I know of Jean, the movie would be a blockbuster!

By the 1990s, when I first met her, Jean was already a legend in progressive funder circles and in the greater Boston area, where she was then the executive director of the Boston Women’s Fund. Prior to that she had been a founder and executive director of Women for Economic Justice and a program officer at the Boston Foundation. She was also part of the conversation about creating Grassroots International in 1983, largely to stand in support of Palestinian refugees, and her commitment to both the issue and the organization never waivered. A few of her many other accomplishments: treasurer of the ACLU, part of the Algebra Project, an early supporter of the Equal Justice Initiative, active with Freedom House and the Asian Task Force on Domestic Violence, on numerous boards (including at Grassroots International from 2009-2016). She was a longtime resident of Cambridge where she raised her two daughters and was involved in a range of local campaigns and also served on the Cambridge Peace Commission (vice chair 1988-1992).

Jean’s consuming passion during recent decades focused on Palestine and on Climate Justice. Jean was involved in the Funders4Palestine organizing campaign, was a leader and Board member of Jewish Voice for Peace, and active in 350.org.  

Rest in power. Jean Entine, presente!