Remembering Sylvia Bingham

It is with great sorrow that we post this in memory of Syvia Bingham. Sylvia was a former Next Generation student activist and Terra Linda High student. Sylvia, age 22, was killed while riding her bicycle to work in Cleveland on September 15, 2009. A recent Yale graduate and an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer, Sylvia was passionate about social justice and cycling, and was riding that day to her work at Hard Hatted Women, to empower women to achieve economic independence by creating workplace diversity in trade and technical careers. Following is a piece written by Roni Krouzman, Next Generation founder, who worked with Sylvia while she was a student at Terra Linda High. Sylvia Like so many people, I was stunned and deeply saddened by the news of Sylvia’s death. I’ve been putting off writing this, in part because I fear it will bring me to that place of grief yet again – and in part because I’m not sure what I can write that could do Sylvia Bingham, or how I felt about her, justice. But if there are two of many things Sylvia reminded me and reminded all of us by her example was to keep our hearts open even in the face of great pain. And to do our best. So I will try. I first met Sylvia early in 2003, when I was helping students to organize against the then proposed US war against Iraq. She was a student at Terra Linda High School at the time, and she joined our then fledgling coalition of students working for peace. For the next few years, I had the honor and pleasure of working with Sylvia, supporting her efforts to work for peace and justice and organize her peers to do the same. I saw her plan meetings and speak at protests, and she quickly became a leader in the youth empowerment organization, Next Generation, that those initial anti-war protests grew in to. I was always inspired by Sylvia, yet it is only now after Sylvia’s death that I’m realizing the extent to which I loved and was moved by her. I remember the thoughtfulness, courage and integrity Sylvia always showed when coming to me for support on how to organize fellow students. I remember her unflagging optimism, her huge heart, and her stunning intellect. I remember how sweet she was, how interesting, how sophisticated, a deep, old soul. I remember the lightness, playfulness and creativity Sylvia would bring to our work as well. Once during a break in a Next Generation Board of Directors meeting, Sylvia sat down at a piano and began to play the theme song to the French movie, ‘Amelie.’ We sat together...

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