Joan Bavaria wrote this column, From the President, for the past 15 years. Joan was passionately engaged with the world on many levels, more than any person I have ever known, and her columns reflected her humanity. From the small to the large, from the individual to the global, her deeply personal columns tied her observations of the world to the need for action and a call for our engagement in creating a better world. Joan died on November 18, 2008 after an extended and courageous battle with ovarian cancer. Our world is much the lesser for her passing, and we miss her profoundly.
Joan’s unending optimism and enthusiasm impelled us forward. In October 2000 Green Cross International President Mikhail Gorbachev and Global Green USA honored Joan with the Millennium Award for Corporate Environmental Leadership. At the ceremony, President Gorbachev proclaimed that “History is not pre-ordained.” Joan personified that idea. Whatever she faced, I never saw her show the slightest sign of doubt that persistence, dialogue, and engagement could overcome obstacles. She would square her shoulders, beam her engaging smile, and plunge in. She believed that any social structure, any human institution, is susceptible to change – and her life and work is proof of this.
I visited Joan on November 5, the day after the election. She was thrilled that Barack Obama had won. By that time, she was very frail, and she dozed off and on. But every time she roused, she opened her eyes, gave me a huge smile, and said, “WE have a new President!” She also told me, very firmly, that “Isaiah was wrong, you know!” Apparently she had had a conversation with my son Isaiah, now a senior in college, when he was about twelve. He had been despairing of the political and economic climate. She had told him that the world was moving in his direction, becoming more multicultural, more mixed-race, and that we would soon see enormous changes in our political leadership. He told her, with all the certainty of the young, that he would never see a black president in his lifetime. I replied that Isaiah would evidently have to eat some crow, at which she scrunched up her face and said “Crow is nasty! He shouldn’t eat crow – he needs to eat his hat!” Isaiah complied, emailing Joan a picture of himself munching on his cap. She was delighted, printed a copy, and showed it to her visitors after that. How very like Joan – to remember a conversation a decade ago with a young man, to delight in every sign of progress toward a more just and better world, to remind us all of the unlimited need for hope and the boundless possibilities for positive change.
So – we here at Trillium Asset Management Corporation pledge to move forward, chin up, full of optimism and determination to create the opportunity for change!