Dear CLUW Sisters and Brothers:
Though I posted about Babette on our Facebook page, I know you haven't all "liked" it yet and may have missed this sad story.. Babette died Friday, August 27, in Eugene, OR, where she's been living the past two years to be near her daughter, Eliza.
Former State Rep. (D-182) Babette Josephs represented her Center City district for almost 27 years, until 2012. She was a champion of women and workers, and led legislative campaigns for every conceivable progressive issue, many long before others were on board. She was particularly adamant about improving public education, public transit, civil rights for all, reproductive rights, voting rights, and so many others. She was a leader for LGBT rights long before it was a popular cause. She never owned a car; walked everywhere, took the train to Harrisburg, and eschewed the financial benefits so many other legislators take for granted.
She was also a longstanding CLUW member, supporter and ally. She spoke at our Chapter meetings and at a National Executive Board meeting that was held here in the 1990s. Every year, she arranged for Legislative citations to be issued to our honorees at our annual awards receptions. She took great delight in forcing the Republican Speaker of the House to sign laudatory tributes to progressive union and community leaders. And she came to ever event and delivered the proclamations in person.
She worked with us on countless campaigns - for contraceptive coverage, pay equity, expanded voting rights, funding for schools and transit. She was a powerful force in a tiny package; funny, kind, whip smart and a joy to be with.
She was also my dear personal friend, and I am reeling from this loss. She was a strict vegan, a daily swimmer (until recent health setbacks and COVID), an avid walker, and all around clean liver. I thought she would live to be 100.
Attached are the photos I posted on our page, and my own Facebook page. You can go there and read the comments for more details about when and where they were taken, who else is in the pics. There are more pictures there than I can attach on an email. The most recent one was taken on Memorial Day in Eugene at my friends' home. Though Babette was weak and frail, she was still the life of the party, droll, spunky, endlessly entertaining. I'm so grateful I got to see her one more time.
Rest in peace and power, Sister Babette!
Kathy Black, Treasurer