Monday, May 31, 2010
Denise lost her grandmother, Jennie Mae Rall, in 1999. But the loss is still felt every day. At 16 years of age, Jennie Mae saw some women marching for the vote in her small town in Arkansas, and her mother said, "Those women are right!" Jennie Mae never forgot the power of women acquiring the vote in the United States. She campaigned tirelessly after the age of 50 for women's rights, African American rights, and the rights of farmworkers in California (the campaign of Ceasar Chavez). She was proudest of her opportunity to serve as a delegate to International Women's Day in Mexico City, Mexico in 1990. At age 65, she campaigned for the rights of senior citizens through the group, the Gray Panthers.
We met immediately before I migrated to Australia. Sadly, in 1999, I returned to the US for her memorial service. At her service, I said, "while I miss Jennie Mae Rall, my grandmother, the under privileged of the world miss her even more." The UN, the League of Women Voters, and many others were recipients of her funds and her volunteer work. So at her death at 89 years, she held membership in 25-30 separate organizations, each championing the right to be heard. The world still needs her, and women like her, today.