We have all lost a friend, supporter, and partner, a persistent seeker for social justice. Mary Margaret Moore was born on December 27, 1948, and died on October 6, 2022, after a long and successful career working for the rights of people living with a disability. Others will write comprehensive eulogies, citing her many achievements and roles, her loving marriage to Marcia A Brennan, and her beloved family.
I will simply report on what MM, as she called herself, meant for me and the Stop Bullying Coalition because it exemplifies how she exerted such a broad influence for good.
MM was a visionary who knew how the gears worked in government and the world of social services, and she knew how to make the gears turn. And she showed up to advocate in person.
She taught me that every person is worthy of respect and love, and opened me to seeing and appreciating the value and capabilities of everyone, including people in the disability community. Thus the work of the Stop Bullying Coalition, which had begun with a focus on the elderly, expanded to an equal focus on the disabled, a focus that rewards us with talent and energy.
“Until we value every person as a treasure of talent and joy, we will perpetuate the dynamics of wounding those who are viewed as less than human [by treating them] as objects which we can discard and toss aside as we choose.”—Mary Margaret Moore
MM was the Executive Director of the Independent Living Center of the North Shore and Cape Ann for decades (now the Disability Resource Center), making it an active defender of and advocate for the rights and dignity of disabled persons. She fostered leaders like Shawn McDuff, whose volunteers educated store owners and others to provide universal access to their facilities, stressing that the improvements would benefit all comers, not only the disabled. In April 2013 the immediate, emotional response by Shawn McDuff and his group was positive feedback from people who had experienced bullying.
Bonny Zeh and I decided to seek legislation to provide protection against bullying. Encouraged by Senator Joan B. Lovely, I submitted a bill “by right” for the 2013-2014 legislative session.
MM boosted our visibility as advocates for legislation to protect the elderly and disabled from bullying and mobbing.
At the annual legislative breakfast of the Independent Living Center of the North Shore and Cape Ann on May 9, 2014. Mary Margaret Moore and Joan Adrien presented me with the 2014 Gil Adrien Award for Outstanding Advocacy in recognition of outstanding and invaluable service to the community, effectively for our efforts on the stop bullying legislation. This accolade was public recognition of the Stop Bullying Coalition and our goals, and encouraged our advocacy.
In addition, this event introduced our movement to several of the elected legislators who were at the event. These connections proved instrumental in building partnerships, culminating in Senator Lovely presenting our legislation that created the milestone commission on bullying.
MM continued to provide advice and practical support until the end of her life when she urged me to continue our advocacy and promised to be with us always.
Let us not fail her faith in our mission; her spirit and love surely live on in each of us. When faced with a challenge, let us recall the motto for her consulting service: “Fabulous Flamingo, What Would Mary Margaret Moore Do?”
In Jewish tradition, we say, “May her memory be a blessing.”