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Front page of Survival News


Dottie Stevens

October 21, 1941 - March 27, 2014

In Memoriam

This issue is dedicated to our beloved “Dottie”

Former Massachusetts Gubernatorial Candidate, Mattapan Woman Of The Year, Community Organizer, Civil Rights Activist, Editor, Human Rights Cities Leader, Beloved Friend and Mother

Dottie Stevens has passed away at the Coolidge House Nursing Facility in Brookline, MA on Thursday, March 27, 2014, ending her long battle with cancer. She was a valiant defender and advocate for women and those less fortunate. She was a fierce fighter for justice and was unwavering in her struggle for human rights for all. In her last months and days, organizing from her hospital bed “office”, she directed her projects of Survivors, Inc., Survival News, and Human Rights Cities, making and receiving calls, working on grants and budgets, and directing bedside meetings. Throughout her long illness, her friends and family formed a circle of care called “TEAM DOTTIE: Sharing the Caring” to advocate for her to make sure this fierce advocate for others had round-the-clock care and advocacy for herself.

She founded, with others, Survival News and Survivors, Inc. in 1987, as an outgrowth of the group, Advocacy for Resources for Modern Survival, (ARMS), the organization she started when she was a student and received her Master’s Degree at the College of Public and Community Service of UMass/Boston. Survival News and Survivors, Inc. became the longest, continually published, original, women’s anti-poverty journal, providing a voice by, for, and about the experience and effects of poverty on women and children in the U.S., for the past 27 years. Dottie and the journal and organization received many awards and honors during these years, culminating in having their historical records included in the Collection of the Sophia Smith Women’s History Archives of Smith College, the oldest and largest women’s history archive in the U.S. Her leadership, her expertise, her compassion, her wisdom, her staunch support, her local and nationwide impassioned public speaking, her loyal friendship and inclusiveness inspired many to reach higher than they ever believed they could.

Dottie was sought out and spoke before countless diverse audiences, with an authority, dignity and respect that moved every audience, whether it was huge or small demonstrations before the Statehouse, testifying at hearings, in small classrooms, or at national conventions, her message of hope and calls to action were clear, authentic and effective. With Dottie’s encouragement and belief in our abilities, we who worked with her were able to write, speak out, organize, educate and raise ourselves out of obscurity and poverty.

Her sweet spirit, her strong voice, her all-encompassing love, her tireless battle against poverty, and her amazing wisdom will be greatly missed by all who knew, loved, respected and admired her. May she rest in peace having left the world a better place than she found it by changing the lives and chances of literally hundreds of women and children specifically, and of all those she met who were fortunate enough to share the sphere of her enduring and living legacy.

She leaves her three sons, Joseph, Corey, and Steven; her sisters Patricia and Barbara; brothers, Robert and Paul, and many grandchildren. A joint memorial service for Dottie and her recently deceased daughter, Teresa, will be held on June 21, 2014 at Holy Redeemer Church of East Boston followed by their interment at Holy Cross Cemetery, in Malden, MA. This briefer Memorial Issue of Survival News, dedicated to Dottie’s memory, contains all of the tributes that have been sent to us, along with many photos celebrating her brilliant life.
— Claire Cummings