In Memoriam: Joan Meister - Oct 12, 1950 - Jan 10, 2004

Friday, January 16 2004
In Memoriam: Joan Meister - Oct 12, 1950 - Jan 10, 2004
Courageous. Outspoken. Visionary. Spiritual.
Joan Meister embodied all of these qualities and more. Encountering Joan was, for many of us who knew her in real time or virtually, a life-altering experience. A dialogue with Joan was never dull, ordinary, or mundane.
She was never hesitant about voicing her views regarding any issue that she felt was important and wasn't properly addressed. Once you encountered her-you never forgot her. She simply glowed from within.
On Saturday, January 10, 2004, Joan lost her courageous battle with cancer. Though she is gone, her rich and vibrant legacy lives on in all of us who were privileged to be touched by her.
Undoubtedly, she will be missed by many across Canada. We have all lost a gifted sister, fierce disability rights advocate, passionate humanitarian, community champion, independent spirit and an honest soul.
Joan Meister was born on October 12, 1950. As a woman who lived with the effects of Multiple Sclerosis, Joan became actively involved in the disability community. Recognizing the need for a gender-based analysis in the disability rights movement, Joan was one of 17 women with disAbilities who came together in 1986 to form a national, cross-disability, consumer-driven feminist organization - DAWN Canada: DisAbled Women's Network Canada.
Joan was a strong voice for women and women with disAbilities across Canada. One of the things that Joan advocated fiercely for was the idea that women with disAbilities should be the ones who lead and speak about the work and research on themselves, and indeed should be paid to do so! "We are the experts on our lives" she would say. Together, with Shirley Masuda (deceased) and others, she worked tirelessly to ensure that our voices would be truly that of the women with disAbility movement.
Joan was also Co-Chair of the Board of the BC Centre of Excellence for Women's Health, Chair of ORW: Opportunities through Rehabilitation and Work Society and Chair of the Society for Disability Arts and Culture.
Joan's other loves were her friends and companions as she put it herself: "Albert pre-dated my wheelchair and continued to love me in that completely honest way that cats have." "My dog Sherman not only pushed me up the little hill of my front sidewalk (not an insignificant thing when a person has MS!) using his shoulders behind my manual chair and moving at a pretty good clip, but he also showed me how to maintain my sense of humour." (Pets & Wellness, Summer 2001).  More recently Joan's home opened up to Teaka, a large brindle (part Great Dane) with a huge heart and Rottii, a Budgie she found on the side of the road later joined by Camille.
Most of all, we all remember and thank her for her genuineness and personal no-nonsense support, mentorship, sisterhood and friendship.
Friend, sister, mentor, and comrade. We will miss you very much.
There will be a small family service this week followed by a larger memorial tribute in 2-3 weeks - date and location to be announced shortly. Donations may be made in Joan's memory in lieu of flowers to a charity of your choice.
For more information contact:In BC:  Pacific DAWN - (Monika Chappell) - Tel: 604-294-9958In Ontario:  DAWN Ontario - (Barbara Anello) - Tel: 705-494-9078In Quebec: AFHM - (Maria Barile) - Tel: 514 725-4123
You are welcome to sign Joan's Memorial Guestbook at:

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