Rest in power and in peace, dear Zot

by Kimberly Hunter

If this moment finds you grieving, “Here is the time for kindness, your own, to yourself,” poet Jan Richardson writes. May you not feel alone. May “you recognize as ancient” the ache of your loss. May you “think of it as a hidden chamber in your heart where you can stay as long as you need.”

This morning found me grieving loss in my own life and in the lives of our beloved community. This moment finds me remembering Gainesville sister-in-life and activism, Zot Lynn Szurgot.

She passed on in a traffic accident two Wednesdays ago, while driving home from work. Only a few days earlier she had linked me to indigenous, DIY news reporting the Standing Rock Dakota Access Pipeline Opposition.

Last Saturday, friends buried her body. Now this afternoon, we feel the presence of her absence, as her spirit persists.

I first remember meeting Zot as a member of her IBEW Local Union 1205 at an Alachua County Labor Coalition (then, Party) meeting. But after that, I seemed to see her smile everywhere because, well, she WAS everywhere.

She practiced solidarity with a faithfulness I can only hope to emulate. She also practiced the art of warm welcome with a gracefulness I seldom encounter. In conversation, she had this soft, approachable openness about her – as though she was weighing carefully all you said without judging you.

Though she didn’t always receive warm welcome from others, her life was a painted prayer of welcome. As Richardson words it in this poem: Zot, may “the home of your life” grow “with such completeness, opening and opening and opening itself” until, as you would have it, no one is “turned away.”

Thank you for welcoming us into a way that loves, that listens, that laughs. May the electricity of our Movement continue to power the home you worked to wire. Meanwhile, may you Rest in Power and in Peace, dear Zot. D

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