June 18, 2014
I attended the celebration of Pat Rosier’s life today.
I wish I had known her better. My kids asked me why I went if I didn’t know her very well. And this blog is inspired by my response to them.
I went because I wanted to show my respect for Pat and for her partner Prue Hyman. Both woman I owe my thanks to for influencing my development as a feminist and for introducing me to many more wonderful women. I went because I wanted to show support, to put my arms around the people I knew who would be hurting. To show up. To connect.
Pat was a long-term editor of Broadsheet, which inspired Muse Feminist Magazine which was an important part of my life for five years. Prue ably provided leadership to the Women’s Studies Association (WSA) of which I was a member for several years and where I gave my first proper conference presentation.
Through Muse and the WSA I met many of the people I still hold dear and who ultimately linked me to the Wellington Rape Crisis Governance Group, where I have served for the last number of years. Pat’s book Workwise: a guide to managing workplace relationships (2001) was also formative reading.
The celebration was amazing. So many amazing people paid such incredibly eloquent tributes. I spent a lot of the time looking around the room, absorbing the vibe of the many strong personalities and presences. I reconnected with some people I hadn’t seen in ages, and others I had seen recently but never knew I had this connection with.
Prue amazed us all, a mighty force of strength intertwined with such honest vulnerability, recounting stories galore and heart-felt messages that arrived from all around the world. Anyone who didn’t know Pat well would have left feeling like our knowledge of her had expanded tremendously and those who did know Pat well would likely have left feeling full to the brim of love for her and the community who had gathered.
Pat’s influence as a staunch, yet kind feminist and lesbian will live on. Looking around the room I was so very very conscious of the battles so many of the women there had fought for rights which people like me take for granted. The feminist and lesbian movement in Aotearoa was strongly influenced and shaped by the actions and fights of many of the women in that room.
As women we are born to be warriors, and feminism is the flaming baton that is handed from one woman to another. That baton becomes a means of protection and of source of light, when the world seems dark and frightening.
While Pat’s light is no more, today’s gathering was evidence that she has passed a flame on to so many people. There were candles being lit all around the world in Pat’s memory, so many lights around the world, coalescing to honor her and which will continue to light our way, and the way of generations of women to come.
You can read Pat’s blog here.