Ellen Pence, 1948-2012
Ellen Pence (1948-2012) was a scholar and a social activist. She co-founded the Duluth Domestic Abuse Intervention Project, an inter-agency collaboration model used in all 50 states in the U.S. and more than 17 countries. A leader in both the battered women's movement and the emerging field of institutional ethnography, she was the recipient of numerous awards including the 2008 Society for the Study of Social Problems Dorothy E. Smith Scholar Activist Award for significant contributions in a career of activist research. She died of breast cancer on January 6.
Women, children and men around the world are safer because of the work of Ellen Pence. She gave her intelligence, inspiring voice and creativity, insistent belief that change can happen, and insistence that no person should be deprived of their humanity through violence and oppression that is based on gender or sex. Ellen started her work to end domestic violence and gender-based abuse in Minnesota. She expanded it to have a world reach as an educator and trainer who helped others step forward to create new realities for women, children and men whose only option would have been a life of oppression and violence.
Ellen believed in collaboration, partnership and building-up others' abilities to bring their best spirits and talents to the cause of ending sexual and domestic violence. Today, this community of leaders is saddened by her death. We also know they continue to feel a sense inspiration from having known and worked with her, and a full appreciation for how well she prepared them to continue the work of creating the opportunity for lives with dignity, hope and joy for all women, children and men.
Over the past months, we at tpt have had the opportunity to step closer to the center of the world of Ellen’s amazing talents. We have had the opportunity to work with Education for Critical Thinking, a new group that Ellen and her long-time collaborator in this work, Michael Paymar, created to continue the job of education and training to stop oppression, violence and abuse. While today we pause to reflect upon the losses that come with Ellen’s death, we also know we have before us the task of creating a documentary inspired by Ellen’s ideas for how we end gender-based violence that is so embedded in our culture and her guiding voice. Thanks to Ellen, we – like so many others – feel compelled and prepared to continue down the path of change and hope that she blazed for us.
Twin Cities Public Television © 2000 - 2013