Day 23,684: Dedicated to a Crone to Remember.
For the worst possible reasons, we all now know the name Marjory Stoneman Douglas, but, who was she?
If we learn nothing else from the horrific mass shooting at MSD in Parkland, Florida – and let’s hope we learn much and change more — let us at least learn about the woman who’s name will now always be associated with school mass shootings. Her life is a testament that change is possible even in the face of the most formidable issues, and can be achieved at any age. Her legacy makes it clear why MSD students are so strong in the face of adversity.
Ms. Douglas died in 1998 at the age of 108. As a young woman she was a suffragette. As a career woman, she was a journalist at the Miami Herald. As a Crone, she was a leading advocate for the health and welfare of the Florida everglades, akin to Rachel Carson in her commitment to the environment. She STARTED her everglades crusade at age 79.
She was familiar with family discord and mental illness. Her mother was committed to a mental health facility on several occasions. She defined herself as a “skeptic and dissenter.” Is it no wonder then that those educated under her name have the clarity to call BS when they see it in political posturing and reacted sooner rather than later by marching to their state and national capitals to make their voices heard?
At age 18, the same age so many of her namesake victims were approaching, she went to Wellesley College. While there, she was elected Class Orator – the person selected to speak on behalf of the graduating class at commencement. She declined due to other commitments many related to her mother, but her talents were clearly recognized.
She is listed as one of the college’s most esteemed alumni along with Nora Ephron, Cokie Roberts, Madeleine Albright and Hillary Rodham Clinton – all women who found and expressed their voices in different ways. Given her training and talents, can there be any debate how she would have approached this vicious event?
The answer can be seen in how the MSD students of today are reacting. They are speaking up. They are speaking out. They are being their Class Orators. They are making a nation proud, and Marjory Stoneman Douglas must be sitting on their shoulders egging them on.
She went on to write for the Miami Herald under the tutelage of her father, the publisher. She was chastised on getting her facts straight, and became an early chronicler of the development of Miami from a small town to a metro center. In her later years, she became a fiction writer. According to her autobiography, many of her stories featured “youthful underdogs who encountered social or natural injustices.” Is it any wonder the youthful MSD student underdogs today are able to directly address the political insanities they are now encountering?
There is much more to Marjory Stoneman Douglas from her steadfast defense of the Florida Everglades to her empathy for refugees. She believed in the power of voting, and, as a member of the media, spoke and wrote truth to power.
Upon her death, her ashes were scattered in the Everglades. Does anyone doubt, Florida winds haven’t carried her spirit to motivate those fighting Florida’s latest battles? I don’t. I’m lighting a candle to Majory Stoneham Douglas and thanking her spirit for inspiring people to stand up and let their voices be heard for justice well after she’s officially left the earth.
Staying Focused on Gun Sanity: Donate to Giffords.org, Gabby Giffords PAC to support the election of pro-gun sanity politicians. Consider giving either $17 for each person killed at MSD, $18 for life (chai), or $13 for women’s groups to make your donation have double meaning.