In the last week our community has lost two feisty women. This is not an insult to use that term but a term of endearment and adulation!. Our congregational community mourns the death of Shirley Roberts and Adele Starr. Each turned the world upside down in their own ways. Each were powerful women not willing to take no for an answer. Each was political in their way and each was fierce about their family both biological and family of choice.
Shirley was a political creäture. She worked for Mayor Bradley. The Democratic Party. She raised money for political campaigns and issues. And her backing could make or break you. She had contacts and if she used them for your campaign you can be sure you would win! Shirley was also so active in the Jewish community. She served with the Jewish Labor Committee, the Jewish Federation and as a City of West Hollywood Commissioner. She was funny, charming, smart, and loyal. She was outspoken and bawdy and tough as nails.
Adele Starr was a wife and mother and fierce advocate for LGBT people. She was the one who founded PFLAG. Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. She started a support group for parents of gay people and through her dedication, fierceness, love and feistiness changed the world. She made it safer for gay people to come out and safer for parents to deal with their mixed feelings of love for their children on the one hand and what they had been taught on the other. She helped change minds and hearts toward acceptance. She taught, she cajoled, she pushed political leaders to welcome gay and lesbian people. She spoke in schools, churches, temples, any where any one would listen. She organized parents, and siblings and gay people to speak up. And she did it with a smile and a glance over the top of her glasses.
They both inspired me. And were my friends. They both passed away this last week. I mourn with their families and friends. But boy is God going to have a time! Those two feisty women in heaven-their gonna’ make trouble! Hooray!
May their memories live for a blessing.