Judy Crockett

Judy Crockett
Judy Crockett

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Carol Atkins Passes On

We received word that our dear friend and leader in the women's movement passed away On Saturday, March 16, 2013 in Ohio. Carol was a tiny woman with a booming voice - a voice of equality for all. During her time in Manistee, when I met her, she was an activist, author, playwright, poet, community leader, and strong supporter of the Women's netWork.

In October, 2008 Carol Atkins was inducted into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame. I had the honor of introducing her that evening at the awards dinner. Her husband Ned, and daughter Cindy and her family were there with her. I looked back in old computer files, and here is what I read when I introduced Carol that evening:

"If I were writing a paper for school about what I would like to be when I grow up, it would be titled “When I grow up, I want to be Carol Atkins.”

Carol has been a grass roots leader working for women's rights most her adult life...and the stories she tells about those experiences – both good and bad - - - give me and other women she meets, the courage to continue to work toward equality and justice for all people.

When you meet Carol, picture her in 1973 -  35 years ago ---  as she and several other NOW women organized a demonstration at the Little League World Series that drew several hundred activists.  Carol and the others charged onto the field in the middle of an inning and ran around the bases.  Carol told me later - - we made it around the bases 3 times! Little League Baseball was changed forever - a change that eventually would allow nearly five million girls to participate in the world’s largest organized youth sports program.   Talk about impact!  This is just one story I can tell you abut Carol - - but this tells you about her determination, courage, passion, and her vision.

When I was first introduced to Carol, we met over lunch to talk about the possibility of her being a speaker for our Women's netWork luncheon. Her small frame, and soft voice were no match for her fiery eyes and passionate words. I could not help but giggle as she told stories, animated and lively, about working to get equal rights for all people. As she described her adventures, for me it felt like the history pages were being opened and the characters from the past were stepping into the coffee shop. I loved her from that first meeting and take advantage of every opportunity to talk more with her to soak up her energy and determination.

Her message is as loud and clear today as it was then - - and she continues to share her thoughts, ideas, poetry, dreams, and passions with anyone who will listen...and sometimes, even with those who will not.  When Carol Atkins speaks...people listen.  After all, how can you argue with a woman on oxygen.

Please welcome – my friend,  my mentor,   Carol Atkins"
...Rest well, my dear friend Carol.


Women's netWork said...

Carol Atkins wrote “In Their Own Words: 19th Century Suffragists Tell it Like it Was”. In this one-act play, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and other leaders of the fight for women’s suffrage describe this unique social movement, which accomplished its goals without resorting to violence. Carol has used this play to educate women, girls, and others about the work and service these women put in to make the world a better place for all women.
http://minds.wisconsin.edu/bitstream/1793/22242/1/FC_26.2-3_Spr-Sum2005.pdf Page 37 Carol wrote a second play, “Our Foremothers, Our Friends,” a conversation between 2 modern feminists and 5 earlier feminists. The play was performed in Manistee in 200 6 during the Celebrating Women’s Festival. Carol has spoken at the Women’s netWork monthly luncheons in Manistee encouraging women to become politically active

Women's netWork said...

Carol Atkins was raised by parents who made her believe she could be anything she wanted to be. When she got to college, she learned there were barriers to women when she was told women could not become US Ambassadors. Instead she was told to become a teacher. The seeds of passion to work for equal rights for women were planted. Carol, Gloria Sackman-Reed, Longtime NOW activist, along with a handful of other NOW activists in Williamsport, organized a demonstration at the 1973 Little League World Series that drew several hundred activists. Little League Baseball was changed forever - a change that eventually would allow millions of girls to participate in the world’s largest organized youth sports program. "Gloria was rock solid in her commitment to feminism and she made our work something you couldn't resist getting involved in," Atkins said. (http://www.now.org/history/041112memoriam.html) http://www.littleleague.org/media/30thgirls.asp

Women's netWork said...

Carol Atkins, a long-time journalist, has written for newspapers and magazines as a columnist and staff writer. Her first book, Putting It Together (1985), is an exploration of the theories and goals of feminism with a Foreword by the late Lt. Governor of Michigan, Martha Griffiths. The Michigan Woman’s Commission selected the book for its Archives. In addition to Rainstorms and Fairies, Carol has published three other collections of poems: Reflections and Connections (1993), Leaving (2000) and Soft Explosions (2003).

Carol has been honored by the American Association of University Women and by the National Organization for Women for feminist activism and was profiled in The Michigan Woman. Her poetry has received numerous awards, with Prince Who? winning the 2001 William J. Shaw Memorial Poetry Prize, sponsored by the Glen Arbor Art Association in Michigan.
Carol was presented with a Women’s History Month tribute March 20, 2008 at a Women’s netWork luncheon recognizing her contributions and encouragement of women and girls.

Christopher Hudson said...

Carol mentored/edited me/my books and helped me bring them to the light of day with her spirit, encouragement, and skill. She was great lady and I will miss her.