July 23, 72-year-old legendary activist Joan Norman was killed in
a car collision on Highway 199 near the California border. Joan
was dearly loved and revered by many. At the time of her death,
Joan was part of a militant campaign to stop the Biscuit Fire Recovery
Project, which began logging old-growth reserves just above the
nationally designated Wild and Scenic Illinois River in the Siskiyou
Wild Rivers Area in Oregon (an interview with Joan appeared in the
June issue of
). The image of Joan Norman seated below the American
flag in her lawn chair just before her first arrest on Green Bridge
has reached news racks nationwide. Stories of her courageous acts
of resistance and conviction have touched many.
don’t know what else to do to stop the log trucks so I am sitting
down again,” Joan said during her second arrest on March 14.
Refusing compromise or bail payment, Joan spent several weeks in
jail in protest of illegal logging. While inside she worked to empower
other inmates by offering legal resources and personal support.
Joan was arrested over 100 times in her life; standing up for civil,
social, and environmental causes. She will be dearly missed, as
will her enthusiasm and her no-nonsense, powerful style.
Joan was asked if she was afraid to go to jail. Her response to
that question echoes loudly: “No, I would rather go out in
a blaze, defending the world I love. I will be on the front lines
someday and my soul will know the time to go, and I will just leave.
I will make that decision. Knowing this, I am not afraid. I am more
afraid that my grandchildren will think I did not try hard enough
to leave them a legacy of peace, and a world worth living in. I
don’t want them to know the beauty of trees by looking at a
book. I want them to be able to walk among 800-year- old trees and
know that is our destiny. That is where we have to get back to.”
daughter, Sue Norman Jones, said, “Joan would like to be remembered
actively, not passively.”
what her message to the world was last March, regarding the effort
to stop the Forest Service’s largest logging project in modern
history, Joan said, “Tell them to get some fire in their bellies
and come to this gate of paradise and help us defend it. Tell them
to come. I will be here.”
is survived by four children—Susan, Timothy, Terry, and Annie—her
friend and companion Bob Youdan, four grandchildren, one great-grandchild,
nieces, nephews, and her extended environmental activist family.
From an o2collective