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Tribute to Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz

Melanie Kaye/Kantrowtiz smiling as she raises a fist.

Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz - poet, academic, and activist - was born in 1945 in Brooklyn, New York. She described her Jewish-American upbringing as fomenting her passion for racial and economic justice, and was involved in the Harlem Civil Rights Movement as a teenager. In 1966, she left New York for Berkeley, California to attend graduate school. Kaye/Kantrowitz would later teach the first women’s studies course at Berkeley. Thoroughly committed to intersectional activism, Kaye/Kantrowitz also taught in Urban Studies, Race Theory, Public Policy, Gender and Queer Studies, and Jewish Studies, and published poetry and essays examining her identities as a Jewish lesbian.

In 1983, Kaye/Kantrowitz joined Michelle Ucella as co-editors of Sinister Wisdom, and held this position until 1987. In 1990, she served as a founding director for Jews for Racial and Economic Justice. Kaye/Kantrowitz passed away on July 9, 2018, of Parkinson's disease, and is survived by Leslie Cagan, her partner of 21 years.

For more information, see Julie R. Enszer's tribute to Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz here.

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