My co-author of GIRLdrive, close friend, and intellectual soulmate Emma Bee Bernstein died on December 20th, 2008, in Venice, Italy. Unable to give Emma a fitting tribute on GIRLdrive until now (Emma had changed the password), I am finally able to honor her after my initial shock. The past six months had been an unimaginable nightmare for Emma, as she trudged through emotional turmoil and circumstantial stress almost daily, without allowing herself a minute of respite or peace of mind.
Yet I want to believe that her despair was in spite of GIRLdrive, feminism, and our work together. During many bonding work sessions or long car rides, Emma confessed to me that this project was one of the main positive forces in her life. She cared so much about the fate of women and feminism in this country; Emma had many sides to her, but at her core was a fervently idealistic soul. I can only hope to bring forth her passion as I finish up our book, and somehow keep her misty-eyed utopianism alive amidst very real tragedy.
The other positive forces in her life, of course, were her countless loved ones. Emma touched and was touched by so many people, it’s unbelievable. I’ve been reminded of this daily for the last six days, as dozens of people important to her have reached out to me.
Courtney Martin of Feministing, one of our GIRLdrive interviewees, has written an amazingly insightful and honest tribute to Emma, linked here.
For New Yorkers, there will be a service on Wednesday, December 31st at 10:30 am, at the Plaza Jewish Community Chapel at 630 Amsterdam Ave (at 91st Street).