Tuesday, March 31, 2020

“now that we lose freedom…”: Edith Louise … RIP

Top,  Kitty and Edith, RIP.  
Disobedience School, May 26, 2012, Times Square
©Stacy Lanyon

Erik R McGregor
👋😢 Edith 💔 #RebelFriends (OWS 2017)

I used to see Edith a lot during Occupy.
Each day for a bit.
Sometimes funny stories about police arrests for looking at them wrong.
“Furtive  eye movement,” said Edith,  Josh at  the time.
Handing out food at  Occupy Broadway,
It was freezing cold.
Edith needed some shelter.
But stayed outside  for 24 hours, at least,  to feed everyone.
We talked about that a lot.
Do you know how to get housing here, asked Edith.
At one point, I suggested going to Housing  Works to get something more  permanent.
The streets were  full of  risk, I said.
 Edith was enduring.
No, no need I’m fine said Edith.
Not at risk.
That was the last time we talked.
The people in the movement dispersed.
Some kept organizing.
Many did not. 
There were so few structures in place for everyone.
Our networks did not contain us.
Without each other, things became harder and harder.

(See below for full interview)

Edith went through a transition
Some were consumed.
Others lost.
Alienation grips at  many of us.
Without each other, we’re  lost.
We lost  Venus last Spring
And Kitty in  December.

And last night I read about Edith.
 I didn’t sleep well last night.
This one hits hard. 

Monica Hunken
13 hrs ·
This is really hard to share. My second comrade to take their life within the last two months.
Edith, you were such a shining, fierce bright light. I loved running in the streets with you and will miss you. You were so generous and always kind to me.
I wanted to add, that I was so proud of you when you announced your transition, you were so radiant and seemed free. I remember you would ask people to tell you you were beautiful on Facebook. Did we say it enough? You were beautiful. you are beautiful. Im sorry.
Everyone, i realize this pandemic is creating a mental health crisis too. Many people we love are suffering. Please, although you physically distance, please connect, reach out, send love. We have such a short time
Thank you Stacy Lanyon for capturing so many moments.

Stacy Lanyon added 42 new photos.
10 hrs ·
My heart hurts. We lost another beautiful and brave soul this week. Hold your loved ones close. This pandemic is bringing darkness to an already dark world. I will forever miss your hugs and smile beautiful friend. (I also found out today that we lost Felix/ Venus a year ago)

Margo Gregory is with Stan Williams.
12 hrs ·
Incredibly heartbroken to hear of Edith's passing last week. My heart goes out to all people suffering from any illness, our time here is so short, though it might seem long. Edith, you will be missed my friend, who visited me at my home, who stayed with me and came right into my room to talk in the morning when I was not even out of bed yet. I am so, so, sad to hear of this loss. Feeling isolated and disconnected is a terrible horrible feeling. Now is the time to call all your friends who suffer from any kind of these triggering feelings, to let them know, "You are not alone." Rest easy, Edith.

Stan Williams
13 hrs ·
This past week has been tough. All I feel like I’ve heard this week is notices of sickness & death. Trying to remain grateful. RIP Gil, Allen, Edith & all that are passing away to COVID-19.

Mitchell Ehrenberg
I lost my son today. He took his life because of mental illness. He was a beautiful boy. I’m heartbroken. In the last few years he came out as transgender and preferred to be called Edith Louise but I never got to know her as a woman. To me, he will always be my Josh

Mitchell Ehrenberg
I am sorry that I misgendered my child, Edith Louise, in my last post. Sometimes, I speak from the heart and not the brain. For all transgender people, accept my apologies. Respect. It was hard enough when Edith was alive. Now it's even harder

Mitchell Ehrenberg
We just had our first zoom Shiva call in for my daughter Edith Louise who recently died. It was quite uplifting. I always felt funny making Shiva calls to other people especially if I didn’t know them very well. But seeing all those faces, even on a computer screen, what a beautiful thing. And the Edith stories, oh my God. Someone once told me that, when you lose a loved one, you will never ever miss a shiva call again for somebody else

Shayna Chandelle Hesselgrave
I feel sad.
TW: suicide (not me)
I found out this morning that someone I dated a few years ago killed herself on Thursday. Her name is Edith Ehrenberg. I don't know any details (and didn't ask, because I don't want to know). I did know she was in and out of the psych hospital several times in the past few months, so it was not such a shock. Just sad.
Sympathy, hugs, pics of teddy bears and cats requested.

Becky Wartell
12 hrs
Another sweet friend lost to this fucking capitalist hellscape. I last ran into her unexpectedly in western Mass a little under 2 years ago at a contra dance weekend, it was such a lovely surprise. She wasn’t on Facebook so we hadn’t been in touch since then but this still hurts to hear she’s gone. Rest easy, Edith, I’m sorry this system failed you 😔 

At the Heart of an Occupation

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Josh Ehrenberg

My sister led me to Occupy Wall Street and not with any particular direction. She was interested in what was going on back in the very beginning of October. We came down to New York City for Rosh Hashanah, and she, my brother and I stole away from a family dinner and went down to Zuccotti. At the time, I was hitchhiking around the North East. I had a pretty free lifestyle, kind of a gap year. After seeing the general assembly, after really seeing the mic check and facilitation, I was taken by just how powerful the mic check was. I guess I wondered upon it, and then I stayed because of mic check.

These days, it’s pretty clear to point out that we’re not occupying Wall Street. We don’t have a permanent encampment out there. This atrium is on Wall Street, but it really lacks the symbolic potency that our Zuccotti Park encampment wielded. I feel occupying was important because it showed solidarity with the homeless and pride in homelessness and not having a space to yourself. I think that space, that is space itself, is the bundling of choices. When you’re in a space, you have a set of options based on the space you’re in. For instance, we are in the atrium right now, and if I’m to lie down on the floor right here, that option is bound with a guard coming over and pestering me until jailing me if I persist. I can’t put up signs in here or else certain things happen. I also can’t walk east right now because there is a wall in the way. In any space contains option directing factors. When we occupy a space, there is something distinctly good in unbundling those choices such as separating the option of being in Zuccotti Park from the option of sleep. Hell, if you’re in New York City, unless you’re in an apartment you are paying rent for, you don’t have the option to sleep. Choice is so heavily bundled right now that we lose freedom. You can’t say no to both going to jail and being woken up from your sleep. Most of us could not stay alive without working for a corporation. That is liberating space. That is inherently a protection of liberty. Liberating space as a defense of liberty is one drive to my activism.

Assembling is a critical source of power, which I employ as a major goal and strategy. People have all too little power. The power disequilibrium is far more offensive than the financial one. Having a space in which to come together, recognize the needs and abilities of each other, then addressing them, generates work and roles. Assembling in the way we did, I was able to find a niche for myself in comfort, working to redistribute clothes and blankets that people no longer needed to those who needed them. Were we not geographically unified, I could not have located those with the needs I could satisfy. We created work for each other, from food to information, the power to help one another. And then additionally our ability to coordinate, creating a proactive force to address and resist the greater world. 

Occupy Wall Street is a way of networking power. Right now its effectiveness is questionable. We have poor communication in certain respects. Many relate to language. For instance, I transcendentally want individuals to have  the ability to manifest their ideas. Though rather than speaking as a proponent of individuals goals, we ask if the person is helping the movement. What virtue is there in empowering that which is non human, or un living. We are a network of individuals who want things. This turn of phrase and the idea behind it impede our simple assistance of each other. On the larger scale, I would not enjoy a world run by the “occupy movement” but rather as humans are diverse, a world with a great many runnings, and no mandated and universal One. What of a world full of many different worlds in it with many different systems of food distribution and health care. What of diversity in the idea of nationality or enfranchisement or employment & education. What if family structures ranged from the style of spartans to Mormons to anything else. I see no reason to have One anything across the nation. Tell me any great system and I will offer solid reasons why it is not the best. Instead of choosing for the people, let there be greater diversity. A good way to reach better ones is to allow for people to select their preference. Let there be greater diversity. Let there be options. We are born into a space with pre-determined options. Even in america there is a stark lack, a lack of educations, of resource distribution, of values, of enfranchisements. There is a lack of choice.

I can't figure out how to get into the second meeting, but I wanted to share this message with everyone that was close to Edith:
Since Occupy ended, we have lost four comrades to suicide. It's been incredibly hard on our community to lose comrades that we shared such an important period of our life with. During the occupation, I was very close to both Edith and Anthony, so losing both of them in such a short period has been incredibly devastating.
It's just too much. Following Edith's death, many of us have decided to examine what happened and what we can do to take care of each other as community members. After Occupy ended, we failed to continue providing support for all of our community members.
Following Anthony's passing, several former occupiers (myself included) did attempt to reach out to Edith to let her know that we are still a community. We wanted to let her know that, if she ever needed someone, we were here for her. Those of us who tried to reach out didn't know she was transitioning, so we couldn't find her and ultimately assumed she didn't want to be found. I'll personally never forgive myself for not looking harder.
I'm personally taking the time to hold conversations with community organizers and organizations to ensure we do everything we can to keep this from happening again.
Last week, I brought Edith's passing up at one of our meetings, and we identified several groups with at risk individuals. We are now taking the appropriate measures to ensure these individuals get the help they need.
I hope everyone that loves Edith takes some comfort knowing that we are doing everything we can in her name to keep this from happening again.


  1. My heart sank when I read the news. Like many others I met Edith almost 9 years ago in Liberty Square aka Zucotti Park. We lost touch after the occupation ended, even though we were both living in Western Massachusetts. The last time I saw Edith, she had offered to give me a ride back from a court date in NYC. She dropped me off in Amherst. We took the Parkway and backroads of Connecticut and upstate New York. We were deep in a conversation about everything you could imagine, when we got pulled over by the police. The cop was a total jerkface, but Edith was all smiles and jokes. The cop didn't understand her humor. "Do you have any weapons in the car?" "Yes officer, I have a rocket launcher in the trunk." That was Edith. I'll miss you and your hugs and your ability to piss me off and make me laugh at the same time.

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  2. Sweet sister Edith, I didn't know you well but I do know that every time I saw you it was with a smile and a hug. I almost always remember you dancing, making music too. As someone who narrowly escaped ending my own life more than a few times, I feel your pain so fully and I want you to know that even now you're not and never ever will be alone. Some bonds are just as strong as family ties... and when you put everything on the line for a cause so much bigger than yourself, and you share that big compassionate heart of yours with others in the struggle, you learn to find parts in yourself and in them that you might not have ever uncovered. Your beautiful light touched and inspired so many and I hope that other transgender people can continue to be inspired by all that you accomplished while you were with us. We love you, and I wish to send my deepest sympathies to your family as I can't imagine the heartbreak they must feel right now. One other small thing... I am a half Jew but I have never sat Shiva before, so for you sister, if I can line up the time zones, it will be my first time connecting with something ancient in me that we share. So thank you so much for that. If I had to pick 3 angels to keep watch over our little family, you, Kitty and Felix are the best ones I can think of. Loving you sister. May you find the freedom and acceptance you wish for, see your true beauty, and be at peace from today forward.

  3. I was so sad to hear about Edith's passing. I met Edith during Occupy and we became friends after camping out on some church steps the day before Mayday. We instantly clicked and hung out for a few days until I had to go back to Philly. We then met up in Chicago and went to all the NATO protests together. Then I saw them sporadically when I went up to NYC. After Occupy ended, they deleted their Facebook and I kept on changing my information because I kept on moving to different countries. After Anthony's death, I tried to find Edith, but I didn't know they had transitioned. I wanted them to know that I cared a lot for them, and that if life ever got too hard, to please reach out to me. In conversations with other friends from the movement, I found out that I wasn't the only one looking for Edith. At least we were able to find some peace knowing that so many people loved her.



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