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Remembering Jean Hardisty

March 2015

Jean Hardisty, a gentle and fierce leader in the movement for women’s and civil rights, has died. A former member of Grassroots International’s Board of Directors and part of the Advisory Board, Jean founded Political Research Associates, a Boston-based research center that analyzes right wing, authoritarian, and anti-democratic trends and publishes educational materials for the general public. Her death comes after a many-year struggle with cancer.

An accomplished scholar, writer and speaker, Jean was also a personal friend and mentor to many of us in the Boston area and the larger social justice community. In an email to me shortly before her passing, Jean was characteristically gracious and kind, apologizing for having to drop out of upcoming activities. So typical of her communications, she deflected attention from her own situation toward the bigger picture, finishing with encouragement both personal and political: “I count on you to carry on…”

In response, I shared with Jean these words from our partners the Landless Workers Movement which speak to the power and promise of her legacy, and our responsibility to carry on:

   The Xukuru indigenous people, from northeast Brazil, say that when we lose a warrior, we do not bury her. We plant her. Because from her seeds will be born many other warriors. The seeds of the struggle for a better world, where the land is in the hands of the people who live and work it; where water and all natural resources are a heritage of peoples; where there is healthy food for all people; where there are no exploiters or exploited.

   We now have the duty of watering that seed of struggle. Grow it, care for it. In each mobilization; in each march; in each land occupation; in every struggle; the seed and the presence of [our friend] will be with us.

All of us at Grassroots International celebrate the life of Jean Hardisty, a warrior in the struggle for human rights who demonstrated how to live a powerful and kind life.

Jean Hardisty, Presente!

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