The author of more than 20 books on social justice issues, including women’s rights, inequality, and the unfairness of the American healthcare system, Barbara Ehrenreich, has passed away at the age of 81.
On Friday, her son Ben Ehrenreich announced that his mother had passed away on September 1. “She was never much for thoughts and prayers, but you can commemorate her legacy by loving one another, and by fighting like hell,” he said in addition to the statement.
As a writer dedicated to fighting against injustice and giving a voice to those who were usually ignored, Ehrenreich fought for more than fifty years.
Long March, Short Song, her debut novel, chronicled the anti-Vietnam War student rebellion and was released in 1969.
She vividly described life as a low-wage worker in Key West, Florida, in her 2001 novel Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America.
The book served as a trigger for the minimum wage campaign by raising awareness of an economy in which it was required to hold down two or three jobs in order to live.
Later, she tried to provide low-income and other disadvantaged communities a direct voice to share their own tales by using her name and energy.
She established the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, which helps freelance writers, particularly those who live in impoverished rural areas of the US, to write about their life.
Ehrenreich, who earned a doctorate in cell biology before focusing on social activism and literature, had a breast cancer diagnosis in 2000. She chronicled the experience in the critically acclaimed essay Welcome to Cancerland.
She covered her own mortality with the same frank reporting she was known for. She spoke about realizing she had lived long enough to die in her 2018 book Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves to Live Longer.
She recalled to the Guardian at the time, “That concept had been building in my thoughts for some time. “I actually don’t have any clear proof concerning when one is quite old enough to pass away, but I have noticed that in obituaries, if the individual is beyond 70, there isn’t much of a mystery and no need for an investigation. We do die at some age, therefore it’s not commonly deemed tragic. That actually felt quite reviving.
Ben Ehrenreich mirrored same sentiment when he posted the news of his mother’s passing on Twitter. She made it apparent that she was prepared to leave, he stated.
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