Constant conversation with my radical mom.

Alexis Danzig
New York City, NY
Manhattan

This exhibit moved me to tears. I am so proud of the Brooklyn Museum, delighted to see the work of my college art teacher, May Stevens! I was wishing I could share the experience with my mother, Naomi Danzig. My mother was born into the modern Jewish orthodox community of Liverpool, England, in 1934. Liverpool was the second most heavily bombed English city after London. Her innate sense of fairness – applied inward to her birth community, and outward to the larger society – and her experience of war shaped her lifetime of fiercely intelligent activism for social justice and her nose for bullshit. Her first forays into street activism included anti-Apartheid protests in London in the mid-1950s. When she emigrated to the U.S. to marry her American husband, my father, she brought a keen eye, tuned to hypocrisy, to her experience of a wealthy, young country largely untouched by war and unwilling to ask hard questions of itself. The first time I saw my mother cry was the day Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed. She raised me and my brother to think for ourselves, to resist sentimental tribal ties, to question received wisdom, to speak truth to power, to love and serve. I have been an activist and educator all my life at the intersection of feminism, anti-war, LGBT rights, anti-racism, and AIDS movement; my brother makes theatre containing a strong thread of social comment and teaches emotional awareness. We are raising our children – in the absence of their grandmother who died of breast cancer at age 67 – in the same mold. To live their values, to be part of ideas and communities bigger than themselves, to refuse to be constrained by ‘what is.’

 

Tweets by Michele Norris