Marjory’s legacy

Dear President Trump,

My alumnae magazine was especially engrossing this month with interviews featuring six of the former presidents of Ethos, an organization for students of African descent, as well as a piece by a WP reporter who happened to be in Las Vegas the night of the horrific mass shooting and was thus, one of the first members of the press on the scene. I don’t always read the magazine straight through front to back, but that’s pretty much what I did this month so it took me a while to get to it to the section at the back where alums send updates about their lives and there are short pieces about especially noteworthy folks. A few pages into that final section there is a brief biography honoring Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Wellesley class of 1912. It was such a nice surprise. Did you know Ms. Douglas lived to be 108? And did you know she published the seminal book on the Florida Everglades in 1947 (“The Everglades: River of Grass”) that was instrumental in getting the Everglades designated as a National Park? She apparently was also very active in women’s suffrage and civil rights. One of my favorite things to learn about her is that she wrote for a Florida newspaper and for years wrote every day about whatever happened to be on her mind.

The biographer shared that Douglas was on hand when Bill Clinton signed the Brady Bill (she had just received the Presidential Medal of Freedom) and had voiced how important she thought that piece of legislation was. I’m guessing she wouldn’t be pleased at all with Betsy Devos’s mealy-mouthed statement that the Trump School Safety Commission will not be taking up the (absolutely critical) role guns in school violence. She would be calling BS on that stance and she would be doing everything she could to support the MSD students who are challenging you, congress, and the NRA to make meaningful changes to gun safety laws. When she died, the Orlando Sentinel said that Douglas had “a strong, persistent voice, powerful enough to relay her passion to the masses.” We are fortunate that the students who attend her namesake school have picked up her megaphone and are running with it.

May we keep speaking out for the common good even when it isn’t safe.
May we be happy to put ourselves on the line for the common good.
May we help one another stay strong and healthy so we aren’t detoured from our quest to support the common good.
May we see that respect, understanding, and compassion bring about peace.

Tracy Simpson

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