To Lee

I’ll never forget your encouraging words.
They weren’t really encouraging – they became a mandate as soon as those syllables left your lips. And when Lee issued a mandate, the world complied. 

I haven’t quite felt this way since my own grandmother died. This vulnerable. This sad. 

When I came to you with the early endorsement process, you said I had to do it. I came for affirmation and I left with your mandate. When I left the DAWN Board, I left with your love and appreciation. Tomorrow, I’ll move forward with your work, but today – today I am sad. 

They named the Woman Warrior award after you, you know. The woman that fought in the Senate. Fought in the Assembly. The woman who didn’t put up with slick politicians or women that wouldn’t stick up for other women. They named it after you…and days before they did that, the chose me to honor with it. 

Now I have huge shoes to fill. I guess I have my final mandate of yours. I lost my cool when they told me. Held it together all night until Darcie let me know. But in the moments that followed, sadness and honor and awe took over and the tears washed upon the shore. 

I don’t quite know what it means to be a warrior. I know what it means to hustle, to fight, to stick-up-for. But I’m clueless on what it means to be a warrior. Part of it sounds like a requirement to be unrelenting and unapologetic. Part of it sounds like a requirement to be calculated and brazen. None of it sounds like me, but I promise to work on it and to recognize the talents and strengths of others as I learn how to do that. 

Darcie and I toasted to you tonight. To who you were to us, to who you were tonight at the Central Committee. To who we were going to become as we carried on your legacy. 

Thank you for making Santa Clara County seem more like home, Lee Sturtevant. Thank you. 

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