With a heavy heart, I share the news that longtime Grassroots International supporter, donor-activist, and my dear friend Diana Digges died on September 24.
Diana’s life included a litany of remarkable accomplishments and extraordinary insights, though you would never know it from her humility. Over the several decades of our friendship, I discovered remarkable tidbits about her. Here are a few that rise to the top.
Diana never gave up
Her fierce determination to stand up for Palestinian human rights led her to relentless organizing, including with Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East and Jewish Voice for Peace. As a fellow Unitarian, I appreciated that she refused to give up on pressing the denomination to stand against Israeli apartheid, and the belief that some day it would happen. She brought that same determination and positivity to multiple other struggles as well, including her own against cancer.
Diana was generous.
She gave her time, money, and expertise freely and without fanfare — from donor organizing groups, tutoring writing for multilingual activists, and investing in the less sexy aspects of movement building (like infrastructure and language justice) to thoughtfully picking out just the right gift for a friend
Diana loved life.
She loved music, languages, travel, friends, family, swimming, animals, laughing, worship, hospitality, and a good book.
For ten years, Diana taught at the American University of Cairo and was managing editor of The Cairo Times, among other posts. Her experience in the Middle East deeply impacted her. She remained active with Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East (UUJME) for many years, serving as the editor of UUJME’s newsletter, founding its Legislative Working Group, and contributing to its curriculum on Palestine.
Diana loved Grassroots International and its community, and she found many ways to impact our work. She joined our Land Rights Donor Engagement Group several years ago, in part because she wanted to learn different ways of organizing philanthropy and raising money. She talked up Grassroots International’s approach to movement support as much as she did the partners themselves because she saw our value as a funder connecting and activating donors like her. Even as her cancer progressed and she had what she called ‘chemo brain,’ Diana participated as vigorously as she could in solidarity work.
Finally, I’ll say this. Diana was my friend and political co-conspirator, and I feel her loss deeply.
Diana Digges, presente!