DIANE GOTTLIEB

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Diane Gottlieb writes open-hearted stories about people in pain who choose to grow.

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Grace Linn: An Example for Us All

Most of my readers know I live in Florida. I love so much about the state. Of course, there’s the sunshine. The heat—yes, I love 90-degree weather! I adore the trees, the birds, and the gorgeous lizards. The blue skies. The cloud formations, the sunsets, and the beaches. There’s a great deal to appreciate.

 

But there is also a lot about Florida that brings me pain. One is our legislators’ continued efforts to ease restrictions on firearms possession.

 

On Thursday, just one day after the school shooting in Nashville, TN, Florida legislators passed a bill that will allow people to carry concealed, loaded weapons without having to get a permit. NO PERMIT. (Permits are currently required, but this bill scraps that requirement.) On April 3, Governor DeSantis  signed the legislation into law.

 

While Florida is a state that prides itself on the freedoms it allows its citizens—like the freedom to walk into a supermarket or a movie theater or restaurant with a gun in your jacket pocket or bag—our legislators sure have been extra busy limiting the freedoms of teachers, librarians, administrators, and students–often the most vulnerable of students.

 

There is the “Don’t Say Gay” legislation of 2022, which is being expanded upon as I write this, the “Stop W.O.K.E. ACT” . There’s also the recent Florida ban on the AP African American Studies course and the new mission to overhaul Florida state colleges and universities.

 

I Want to Tell EVERYBODY about Grace Linn!

 

Books are being banned in public schools all over Florida, a move that both saddens and terrifies me, a move that is itself based in anger and fear.

 

But why am I writing all this in my blog—a blog that celebrates women over 50 and all the wonderful things we can do?

 

Because of Grace Linn.

 

Grace Linn, a Martin County, Florida resident. A 100-year-old Martin County, Florida resident.

 

I want to tell EVERYBODY about Grace Linn!

 

On March 22, Grace Linn attended a local school board meeting where discussion revolved around the banning of books. Ms. Linn has her opinions about the topic—and she made it her business to share them.

 

Not only did she create a beautiful quilt displaying books that have either been targeted or already banned, she spoke up and out.

 

Here is some of what Grace Linn had to say at the meeting:

” ‘I was born the year after women got the right to vote. My first husband was killed in action in World War II. He died for freedom. Freedom is so important.

 

‘One of the freedoms that the Nazis crushed was the freedom to read the books that they banned. History will repeat itself if you don’t know history. History needs to be told, and everyone needs to know what went on in the past.

‘Banning books and burning books are the same. Both are done for the same reason — fear of knowledge.’”

 

Fear of knowledge. Is that what we have become? A state, a country, that fears knowledge, that fears the lessons of the past?

 

I worry about our future, about our children and their children.

But I am also hopeful—and oh, so grateful for people like Grace Linn, who use their talents and their voices to speak truth to power.

Women over 50. We are a powerful group. We have lived history—and learned from it, and we can make an impact, do our share to make this world a better place.

 

RESOURCES

Here are some resources to guide you. And if you have others, please share them with me in an email or a comment.

The American Library Association Fight Censorship page

PEN America’s Banned Book Week page

Learn more about banned books week

Here’s a list of organizations that support LGBTQ Youth.

And here are some organizations working tirelessly for stricter gun legislation:

 

 

Let’s be like Grace Linn, an example for us all.

 

As always, I’d love to hear from you. Please write a comment or send me an email.

 

See you soon!

XOXOXO

Diane

 

 

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14 Comments

  1. Marian Adams on April 3, 2023 at 10:11 pm

    I will tell everyone in my orbit about Grace Linn! Thank you Grace for your inspiration to right this wrong, this travesty of book banning, and Diane for sharing this wonderful interview with us. Just yesterday, I read that “Gone with the Wind” is on the chopping block for censorship. And thank you Diane for directing us to so many wonderful organizations of causes close to my heart…XO, Marian in NY

    • Diane Gottlieb on April 4, 2023 at 1:20 pm

      Thank you, Marian! While I did not have the opportunity (yet) to interview Grace Linn myself, I hope to get in touch with her and speak with her soon! She–at 100–gave me hope and is such an inspiration on so many levels!

  2. Sherry Danner on April 3, 2023 at 9:50 pm

    Thank you, Diane and Grace, for naming so many of the reasons we feel enraged and terrified…and offering ways to feel empowered and inspired at the same time. Bless you both!

    • Diane Gottlieb on April 4, 2023 at 1:17 pm

      And bless you, dear Sherry! You always inspire and empower me! I think we need feel both (inspired and empowered) to do what we need to do in this world! Lots to work towards!

  3. Debbie Russell on April 3, 2023 at 4:26 pm

    I’ve been following events in Florida with a mixture of horror and disbelief. Grace’s story is inspirational and the type I must focus on when it all seems so terrible. Thanks for sharing it!

    • Diane Gottlieb on April 3, 2023 at 5:13 pm

      Oh, Debbie, you and me both! It is stories like Grace’s and the small (and bigger) actions each of us can take that will, hopefully, make the difference.

  4. Debra Elisa on April 3, 2023 at 3:30 pm

    A terrific read, and you taught me sad details about Florida–these realities that seem unbelievable. We need to speak up, and it’s good to learn about people like Grace Lin and to read your efforts. Thank you.

    • Diane Gottlieb on April 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

      Thank you, Debra! The details are both sad and shocking–and we can make a difference!

  5. Barbara Mahoney on April 3, 2023 at 1:48 pm

    Yes….I fear the banning of books…the banning of history being taught….I come originally from Germany….and there was the book burning….my grand mother, who was British helped jewish people to get out of Germany, but she also had friends who just didnt believe it could happen in the country of their forefathers, and they were picked up.
    I was so proud to come to this country, and I still am, but there are signs that make me very sad.
    Thank you for all you do Diane

    • Diane Gottlieb on April 3, 2023 at 1:52 pm

      Thank you, so much Barbara, for sharing your personal story! THIS is my greatest fear–the repetition of history because of hate and fear. We must not ignore the signs!

  6. Teri Fuller on April 3, 2023 at 1:15 pm

    I love this post, Diane, and I adore your brave, wise interviewee. We MUST fight against the fascist politicians in Florida. There are so many connections to be made between Nazi Germany and present US. Scary and need to take the power back! This is a call to action. Thank you! 💖💖💖

    • Diane Gottlieb on April 3, 2023 at 1:42 pm

      Thank you, Teri! Those connections and similarities terrify me! We need to take the power back! XO

  7. Alison McGhee on April 3, 2023 at 12:35 pm

    WOW! I love this column. So filled with energy and ways to channel it into going forward instead of backward. Thank you Grace and thank you Diane! XO

    • Diane Gottlieb on April 3, 2023 at 1:14 pm

      Thank you, Alison! Hoping to move forward–sometimes it’s a challenge! XO

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