Rest in Peace, Cherisse Luxa

Cherisse Luxa, who commented frequently on this site, has passed away from cancer.  She's second from the left here

There's a story on NW Progressive Institute Advocate and one on Daily Kos.

I took this photo at a July 2007 Service of Lamentation held by clergy to protest the planned destruction of the Lora Lake moderate-income apartments in Burien.  Cherisse was instrumental in organizing the community to try to save this housing.  From left to right in this photo: Donald Bennett, Cherisee Luxa, Representative Tina Orwall from Washington's 33rd Legislative District, Sarajane Siegfriedt.

Cherisse had incredible energy, intelligence and caring.  In the last in-depth email I exchanged with her, she told me she was working on her dissertation in the doctoral program on Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University. She was a retired sheriff's deputy -- as she put it, "a retired cop", a victims' rights advocate, and, among many other activities, worked in other countries to help identify the bodies of people who had died as victims of war crimes.  She co-founded Burien's Drinking Liberally.  

Cherisse had a keen and integrative intelligence -- noticing and remembering details that few people see (she rescued me several times from errors in my stories) -- but also thinking in a systems-oriented way -- understanding the larger patterns, the connecting dynamics.  She was truly a pleasure to talk with as well as generous with her time and thoughts and help for others.  I feel truly sad that she has passed away.  

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I'm sad too.

by dinazina on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 08:27:05 PM PST

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I was lucky enough to be included in the picturewith Cherise as we advocated for low-income housing. She also pulled me in on North Highline anexation and Drinking Liberally.  She will be sorely missed May all the lives she has touched step up to the plate and swing a little harder.

by donebe on Mon Dec 14, 2009 at 10:48:09 AM PST

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She fought to the end, and I wish she didn't have to go so soon.  She put writing her dissertation on hold indefinitely to get politically involved in 2004 in the Dean campaign, and then quickly moved on to local issues.

She had a forensic analyst's keen flair for relevant detail, and she always told you exactly what you needed to know on any issue, no more, no less, and always in a larger context.

In addition to being supremely well informed on local issues, she effectively organized on national ones as well.  When Adam Smith published a letter to the New Democrats advocating voting for the Republican bankruptcy bill in 2005, she contacted people in every LD in the 9th CD to have us pass resolutions against the bill and to lobby Smith to change his mind.  This is where I first got to know her well--She got Emily Willoughby and me to bring this to the attention of the 11th LD Democrats.  

When you lobby Smith, you need to realize that it is like lobbying Mr. Spock--you have to be very logical and have all your ducks in a row.  There was no better person to lead this effort than Cherisse.  The net result was that Smith changed his mind and voted agaisnt it, and with the subsequent economic fallout, I'll bet he's glad he did.

by eridani on Mon Dec 14, 2009 at 06:03:29 PM PST

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