I think I would have liked this lady. RIP. – promoted by Rosi
A good friend of mine died in her sleep early Sunday morning. Jackie Stevenson spent over forty years in Minnesota politics as a trailblazer and a fierce advocate for women’s rights.
But what many people didn’t know about were Jackie’s ties to New Jersey where she was born. I always felt that that spark, that fire that animated Jackie and the passion that she brought to grassroots politics and women’s rights arose from those New Jersey links.
Jeff Blodgett writes on Facebook of Jackie’s close friendship with Paul and Sheila Wellstone, two other fierce, passionate advocates of grassroots politics and the common good, lost to the world too soon.
And who can ever forget Jackie’s fierce and undying support of Hillary Clinton.
To a large extent, Hillary’s path forward was forged by women like Jackie fighting the good fight year after year in the state parties and in their local communities to ensure that women had a place at the table and a path to leadership.
One of my fondest memories of Jackie was having breakfast with her in Hopkins MN, the day after Obama’s June 4th St. Paul Rally in 2008, where she was one of a handful of Hillary supporters to get face-time with the soon to be president.
I, an Obama supporter and she a Hillary supporter, marveled at the fact that the race barrier was broken before the gender barrier. We both agreed that there was still a lot of work that needed to be done to ensure that the gains women had made over the past 1/2 century weren’t lost.
And who can ever forget her beaming and just lighting up the room as we watched on the big screen Nancy Pelosi being sworn in as Speaker of the House.
Jackie was a key supporter of my efforts in Minnesota to garner DFL support for legislation to end the statue of limitations in cases of child sexual abuse and was a long-time supporter of The Domestic Abuse Project in Minneapolis.
For Jackie, all politics was local and effective politics started with an inviolable right to a secure, safe, sense of self.
Minneapolis Star-Tribune columnist Lori Sturdevant writes of Citizen Jackie:
Stevenson started volunteering in DFL political campaigns in 1952, she said. While she loved the excitement of a campaign, what hooked her was the satisfaction of helping to shape government. She wasn’t a person with money or fame. But she had significant influence because she earned it, through unflagging commitment to the person-to-person work of building a political party.
Well, Jackie’s gone now, but we all of us, men and women alike need to step up our game and make sure that women have a seat at the table and a path to leadership, this year, next year and 50 years from now.
But as Jackie would be the first to tell you, it’s not just about Feminist Politics or Women’s Rights. It’s about everyone’s rights to a safe and secure home, a secure sense of self, and to safe and healthy communities.
She will be sorely missed.
Cross-posted at Pocket Farms—Keeping Jersey Fresh