Late Saturday night, progressive super-activist Linda Turner passed away. She was 75, and she struggled with lung cancer during the final years of her life. Yet, even then, Linda still found ways to raise hell for good causes. Even as Linda leaves this planet, she leaves behind a lasting legacy of progressive change.
How I met Linda
I moved to Nevada in 2009, several years after Linda herself relocated here. I first met her at the Henderson Drinking Liberally. She was already organizing on health care, specifically on ensuring a public option in what would become the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Even though the public option didn’t make the final cut, Linda kept fighting to preserve the ACA and make America’s health care system more just.
From that moment on, I regularly found Linda raising her voice for justice whenever and wherever she was needed. When DREAMers were fighting for immigrant rights, Linda was there. When the Fight for 15 movement got its start, Linda was there. When gun safety advocates were fighting for better gun laws, Linda was there.
How Linda made a difference in my life
During my days as a struggling writer, Linda Turner encouraged me to keep on keeping on. Not only did she have me over at her place to help her learn how to use a smartphone, but she encouraged me to continue perfecting my craft. Even when I had a difficult time believing in myself, Linda believed in me.
As a tireless fighter for justice, Linda inspired me to go to greater lengths to pursue the truth. Our many conversations in the car (while en route to events) fueled my brainstorms for future stories. And her mere presence at events signaled where I needed to go to “find the story”.
Linda wouldn’t go down without a fight
Even during her final months on earth, Linda Turner stayed active. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 Presidential Campaign was among the last she would participate in. Friends would later tell me that her organizing in the Sanders Campaign played a role in making him competitive in the Nevada Democratic Caucus.
After the Clinton-Sanders fight caused a rift among some progressives, Linda was there to help mend fences and heal wounds. (She always kept friends on both sides of the divide, and never once attacked me for my reporting on the caucus-to-convention conflicts.) Even as Linda was increasingly running into cancer related complications, she was still volunteering to help with Democratic clubs and organizations. Linda remained active up through her final days, when she was still showing up for as many political events as she could handle.
Linda Turner leaves behind not just a loving family, but a long trail of friends and fellow social justice travelers across Nevada. She built a lasting legacy of progressive change… Including Battle Born Progress’ Progressive Summit. During a trip to Netroots Nation, Linda suggested to Executive Director Annette Magnus that Nevada progressives organize a similar meeting of the minds at home to share ideas and train new activists. From there, the Progressive Summit has grown into an annual tradition in the Silver State.
[Disclaimer: Magnus is also the Executive Director of the Institute for a Progressive Nevada, the parent organization of Nevada Forward.]
I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for Linda Turner taking me under her wing at the Henderson Drinking Liberally eight years ago. She will be forever loved, and so very sorely missed.
[Cover photo: Linda Turner and Cathy Kama meet Bernie Sanders in Las Vegas in October 2014. I took the photo.]