by Joan Cavanagh, a friend of Theresa Carr
Theresa Carr, May 23, 1954 – March 27, 2014
“Keep doing our work.”
This is a request for PAR readers to contribute what they can to help raise $675 to plant a tree and erect a memorial plaque in Jocelyn Square Park for Theresa. Please make your contributions out to PAR, note in the memo line that it is for “The Theresa Tree,” and send to PAR, P.O. Box 995, New Haven, CT 06504, on or before Jan. 1, 2017.
Many PAR readers knew Theresa Carr, whose activism spanned several communities and countries. A self-identified “Marxist-Leninist Lesbian Feminist,” she gave her fierce intelligence to the interconnected struggles for peace and justice.
In her years in New Haven, Theresa worked with many groups including the New Haven Action Committee Against Repression, New Haven Coalition for Justice in El Salvador, Spinsters Opposed to Nuclear Genocide (SONG), the Women’s Pentagon Action(s) and the Coalition to Stop Trident. The actions often involved arrests for nonviolent civil disobedience. She also served on the board of the New Haven Women’s Liberation Center and worked in her trade as a union carpenter.
Creativity was her hallmark. With other members of SONG, she once painted a blank billboard in full daylight at the State Street exit off I-91 with the iconic image of a woman kicking a neutron bomb; and, during a trial of SONG members for actions against U.S. military intervention and funding of repressive regimes in Central America, the marble (male) justices on the steps of the courthouse on Elm Street one morning mysteriously wore purple headbands.
Theresa traveled extensively and worked in many other communities. In Florida, she completed a master naturalist program, cared for stranded whales, and became an active member of the Key West Tara Mandala Buddhist Sangha community.
In 1981, Theresa bought and rehabilitated a house on Walnut Street across from Jocelyn Square Park with her partner. Later she spearheaded the renovation of the deteriorated city park, now a beautiful oasis in our neighborhood. Friends of Jocelyn Square Park awarded her a Certificate of Appreciation on Sept. 3, 2005.
Following a double mastectomy and a rigorous alternative treatment protocol for metastatic breast cancer in 2011, Theresa cultivated land in northern Florida until her cancer returned. Her last words before she passed here in New Haven at her Walnut Street home were, “Keep doing our work.”
Please help mark this important life as we move into our next, crucial phase of resistance in these fearful times.