At a luncheon hosted by the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, I was honored to join Councilmember Wendy Greuel in presenting Torie Osborn, the outgoing head of Los Angeles's Liberty Hill Foundation, with a city scroll honoring her dedicated, uninterrupted decades of creating community in the struggle for justice here in Los Angeles and in the United States.
After first tasting protest in an anti-war march 40 years ago, Torie has dedicated her life to social change. At Liberty Hill since 1997, she doubled the foundation's revenue. Before that, she headed the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in Washington, D.C. as well as L.A.'s own Gay and Lesbian Center. If a community organization has contributed to grass-roots economic justice or social change in Los Angeles, it's a good bet that Liberty Hill has nurtured and funded it. What's more, Torie is a fellow blogger: you can read her work at the Huffington Post.
The luncheon, though open to all, was held to honor the contributions of women to grass-roots change. I was particularly honored to attend with my partner Amy Wakeland, a dedicated activist who organized the event and who chairs LAANE's advisory committee. The sunny banquet room at USC held women from labor, community groups, the foundation world, City Hall and the clergy. Torie quoted this passage from Marianne Williamson, which, in tribute to the wonders of the Web, is commonly misattributed to Nelson Mandela:
"...Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
Wendy Greuel, Eric, Torie Osborn