With sadness, we note the death of an extraordinary activist and friend, Jeanne Cordova. She passed away early Sunday morning at the age of 67, after a long battle with cancer. Our thoughts are with Jeanne’s family and friends during this time of mourning, remembrance, celebration, and healing.
Jeanne passionately advocated for sustaining the movements that supported her as a young Chicana-lesbian activist. “We need to think about giving to our gay or lesbian youth and institutions like Astraea or other lesbian organizations. They’re the ones who are nurturing our real daughters right now, around the world,” Cordova noted in “Letter About Dying to my Lesbian Communities,” which she shared with the public late this past summer.
At the same time of the letter’s publication, we announced Jeanne’s plans to donate an unprecedented estate gift — $2 million — to the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice. Managed in collaboration with Astraea by her partner, Lynn Ballen, the Jeanne R. Cordova Fund will support communities and activists most dear to Jeanne.
Jeanne’s life was well-lived: she was an entrepreneur, a renowned author, a curator, a beloved partner, and a trailblazer in our community. Astraea is honored to celebrate her profound legacy and humbled to have played a small role in it.
“It is wonderful to have had a life’s cause: freedom and dignity for lesbians,” Jeanne wrote “we built a movement by telling each other our lives and thoughts about the way life should be. We cut against the grain and re-thought almost everything. With just enough left undone for our daughters to re-invent themselves.” Thank you, Jeanne, for this forward-going mandate, for your love and vision.