Daily Archives: September 21, 2012

My Sister Died Yesterday

Elizabeth J. Laden, a few years ago.
Some of my earliest memories are of my sister, BJ, who later preferred to be called Elizabeth. Each of my three siblings, all older than me, had a measurable influence on my life, influences that happened when I was little when they, much older, were mostly ignoring me (I’m not saying that is a bad thing). In the case of Elizabeth, the influence was mainly socio-political. She was the girl that the Catholic school probably regretted admitting because she was trouble, or at least, that’s the sense I got. She was a hippie when being a hippie was the rough equivalent of being gay or black or whatever, in that if you walked down certain streets people would look at you hard, say bad things to you, and occasionally physically attack you. (No illusions here… one could terminate one’s hippie status more easily than one’s status as a black person or a gay person.) She was a principle organizer of Refer and Equinox, organizations designed to help at risk youth, and she organized the famous demonstration against the attack on Attica. And no, she had nothing to do with the bomb that went off on that day in the state office building. Anyway, BJ, er, Elizabeth, was an active and a radical and I came to admire that and became my own sort of activist and radical in my own time. Continue reading My Sister Died Yesterday