Claudia Ellquist, a delegate to the National Committee and two time Green Party candidate for County Attorney in Pima County Arizona, died Sunday, November 18th, 2018 at the age of 70. Party activists were alerted by a forwarded email from her husband of twenty-four years, John Yoakum.
She is remembered by her colleagues among the national party leadership as thoughtful, as ‘a great leader, penetrating in her analysis, caring about others, and a pillar of strength for the Green Party’, as ‘(o)ne of the wisest, (most) intelligent and compassionate people I have had the opportunity to know’, as ‘a voice of reason and kindness (who) will be missed by all’, for ‘her personal calm’ and reasonableness, for her insight and compassion.
Claudia Ellquist was a member of the National Women’s Caucus of the Green Party of the United States, and served as a Delegate for the Arizona Green Party to the Green National Committee. She served at the time of her death, as the First Vice Chair of the Arizona Green Party. Ellquist ran four times for Pima County Attorney, twice as a Green, in 2004 receiving 23,028 votes for 7.64% of the total vote and in 2008 earning 22,747 votes for 6.31% of the total. Her campaigns supported her work to abolish the death penalty.
She led the host committee which brought the Annual Meeting of the Green Party of the United States to Tuscon Arizona in 2006. During the event she organized a tour of her church which was a center for organizing in solidarity with immigrants risking a desert crossing on their journey North. She described the battles between her congregation, which stages in the desert, water for migrants and the vigilantes who would poison the water or just as deadly, puncture the containers, wasting the water into the desert sand.
Writing of Kavanaugh, in a recent op-ed (and here) meant to convey the appreciation of the National Women’s Caucus of the Green Party of the United States for the testimony before the Senate Judiciary by Professor Christine Blasey Ford, Claudia Ellquist wrote:
“If he had Come to Jesus decades ago, confessing himself — not waiting, closeted, for an accusation — about what he almost did, and, as significantly, what he did. Then he would have had time to turn his life around, to see women as real human beings, and to see fear and hurt and harm for what they are. But our society abandoned him too, not teaching him to take responsibility, or even believe that there was responsibility to take.”
Delegates to the Green National Committee from both Delaware and Kansas report that this quote of Claudia, hangs on their walls.
“People who disagree with you are not your enemies. Only people who try to dominate you are your enemies. Learning the difference can make us all so much more effective.”
– Claudia Ellquist
Quoting from her obituary, “(Claudia Ellquist) was born in Duluth, Minnesota . . . then mov(ed) extensively with her military family to numerous places including Japan. She moved to Tucson (Arizona) in 1962. Claudia graduated from Palo Verde High School, University of Arizona and University of Arizona Law School in 1976. That time included a two year church stay in San Francisco for a Lutheran and Episcopal church mission. Claudia spent a brief time practicing law and 40+ years on community activism, including church activities, women’s organization and the Green Party. . . . She ran for Pima County Attorney four times in order to highlight the elimination of the death penalty as a public issue. . . . She organized NOW chapters at the city, county and state levels and served on the national board of directors for NOW. Claudia was an original member of the Arizona Clean Elections Commission, first appointed by the Arizona Legislature in 1999. She has worked tirelessly with Church Women United (CWU), Disciples Women’s Fellowship, and First Christian Church. She has received a cash award from the Tucson Festival of Books or her writing in the category of non-fiction memoir. She successfully organized the county-wide effort to recall the Pima County Tax Assessor in 1994. Claudia subsequently organized volunteer efforts to pass Healthy Arizona I (Prop 203) and Healthy Arizona II (Prop 204) which successfully brought Medicaid to the state after 30 years without it. . . . In lieu of flowers, people are encouraged to work for passage of the ERA or (to make) a charitable donation to NOW or to the charity of their choice. A memorial Service will be held at First Christian Church, 740 E Speedway, on Saturday, December 1st at 11am.”
Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un.