My first job was working for family at a manufacturing company that we owned. I learned the hard way how great it was to have a mentor when my father and grandfather both yelled at me for not doing their work first. My great-aunt stepped in, told them in the future they would come to her for my…
I first met my friend Donna when we were both working in the insane sub industry of NGOs where we investigated and reported on the philanthropic interests and financial means of the 1%.
We were both frustrated writers trying to figure out a way to earn a living the only way writers can these days, by selling out to the not-highest bidder. We met at a conference for prospect researchers. I knew she was youngish, so I took the risk of making some jokes about my friend Herb, and she responded in kind. We decided to hang out. We met up in my room and we talked about life choices. We talked about opportunity, we talked about influences, and we joked. A lot. I demanded that we start taking notes, we started a to-do list for her future life. Get a passport, live in another country, see White Sands, New Mexico, follow every dream to see where it will lead. It was silly, we laughed and smoked way too much. The thing is, Donna was hilarious and probably one of the funniest people you would have ever met.
Case in point, she was part of making this:
On a memorial page started by her sister, Tess, we have been sharing memories that include the group consensus that the funniest individual to have ever existed is our friend, Donna Ostrowsky. From her first hours on earth, farting so much that the nurses had to take her out of the nursery, to three stooges imitations as a 3rd grader, to documentary investigations about bodega cats, she would have all in stitches around her at all times. Her light was so bright, and we were all so lucky to walk in it, if even for a moment.
When I reached out to her to hang outside of work, I did so because I was going through a different type of life change and I wanted to hang out with someone who would make me laugh, and be inspiring all at once. I had no idea the inspiration that she would bring. You see, because around that time Donna began to fully transition. But I didn’t know that. I had no idea that she was about to embark on the spiritually fulfilling, yet physically painful, emotionally wrought, and questioned daily existence felt by those who start on this journey.
Donna was precocious. As one mutual friend recalled, “she was never for want of attention.” But in the most darling way possible. I really wanted to see the latest David Finch movie. Not one of my friends were interested. But I knew Donna would be, a former NYU film student, she had an eye for aesthetics that will forever be unmatched.
Shortly thereafter she informed me that she wanted to find the perfect female name. We talked about a possible one over brunch. She was excited. She knew that this is who she always needed and wanted to be, and her determination sold me from the minute she said, “I have some news, I want to grow into an old lesbian with many cats.”
Donna emerged like a butterfly phoenix of humor and fashion and grace. She worked hard to achieve professional success, while also becoming a LAMBDA literary award finalist. With the support of her family she seemed to have it all in a place where she would be able to move to the next step of building her life into the future. One of the last times we hung out, my daughter and I joined her in a music store so she could investigate buying drums to use as she worked through a new heartbreak. Of all I have met in my life, she seemed to have one of the healthiest perspectives on how to heal. A perspective I adopted with enthusiasm as I sunk my own healing heartbreak into political and professional work.
I missed hanging out with her the past two years. Life pulls, sometimes too much, on our priorities. When I heard she had taken her life, I felt my heart fall out of my chest and into the office carpeting infront of me, still beating. I had no words then, and I really still don’t. She is one of the people who should be on this earth. Her life, her ideas, her words, her thoughts, and her vision have been violently taken. The world is forever left, a darker place.
I wish I had had the chance to sing “the sun will come out, tomorrow” to her. Who knows, maybe she would have laughed. Maybe she would still be here with her whip smart wit to match her beautiful smile. I wish I had made the time that our friends and families need from us. I regret not prioritizing recent time with her. I feel responsible, as I’m sure we all do.
She had so much promise as (she could only say) “a corporate vagina.” She had so much potential, as a crackerjack comedianne, but I am sure our pain is still a microcosm to what she must have been feeling.
I love you donna, I hate you for leaving the way you did, but I will always love you and all that you gave to the world.
Donna on tumblr: http://croutonshield.tumblr.com/
Donna on Twitter: https://twitter.com/CroutonShield
Soul of the City: Global and Local Perspectives
on the Right to the City
From Occupy, to housing squats, to counter-power structures, to participatory decision-making— urbansocial movements are re-imagining urban democracy. This panel features local and national intellectuals, organizers and activists at the forefront of global and local movements constructing urbanalternatives.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 31, 2013
THE NEW SCHOOL
66 FIFTH AVENUE, KELLEN AUDITORIUM NEW YORK, NY, 10011
SPEAKERS: RACHEL LAFOREST, Right to the City Alliance, MIGUEL ROBLES-DURAN Director, Graduate Program in Design and Urban Ecologies, FRANK MORALES Housing Activist, KAZEMBE BALAGUN, Brecht Forum, MATT BIRKHOLD, Growing Roots, CARMEN PINIERO Community Voices Heard, PRISCILLA “GRIM WOMYN” GRIM, Organizer, Occupy Movement, WILLIAM MORRISH, Professor,Parsons School of Design Strategies
LIVESTREAM AT: http://www.youtube.com/rttcusa or http://new.livestream.com/thenewschool
Just say no. #ows
Local District Attorney offices are now partnering with debt collectors. The result is, that your debt collection notice might arrive on the letterhead of your local government. This gives the illusion of the illegality of debt.
The next logical conclusion to come to is that when the spoils of the “drug war” dry up, a brand new type of nonviolent criminal will arrive into the for-profit prison system. Ever thirsty to build on its $3 billion in assets.
Register & Show Your Commitment! By registering, we can keep you up to date on housing, food, volunteer opportunities, convergence and action plans.
Anniversary Schedule: We have a full weekend of activities planned from civil disobedience to permitted concerts to trainings and teach ins. Oh and sign making and face paint :)
S17 Day of Action: Bring business attire to wear on the 17th. We will disrupt business as usual in the financial district by blockading the Stock Exchange and surrounding intersections with multiple actions all morning and assemblies in afternoon and evening. Get prepped with our Action and Know Your Rights Training Schedule
Transportation: We are encouraging folks to find their own transportation. We have resources listed on the Transportation page about rideshares, Amtrak discounts, buses, and information about parking.
Housing: If you register on the s17 registration form and indicate that you need housing, you will be sent all of the address and all the info you need. If you haven’t heard back from us, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Year 2 of Occupy Wall Street is quickly approaching. And to coincide with this first anniversary, we are pleased to announce the imminent release of the third issue of the magazine Tidal: Occupy Theory, Occupy Strategy. In both its intellectual rigor and its large-scale distribution, Tidal has been recognized as a force to be reckoned with not only by allies on the Left, but also by outlets of the powerful Right-Wing media establishment such as Andrew Breitbart’s talk show The Blaze (http://bit.ly/GUlDXv). In order to ensure that Tidal can play this role in pushing the movement forward, we would like to ask for your financial assistance for printing costs. Printing will be done by Tristate, a unionized printer. This link (www.wepay.com/tidal3) has a short letter detailing the state of the movement, it’s future direction, and a very easy way to make a monetary contribution (www.wepay.com/tidal3).