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The Catalina Islander
Avalon, California
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April 7, 2017     The Catalina Islander
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April 7, 2017
 

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The Bay Area activist was also a poet and an actor FOR THE ISLANDER Widely known and beloved Bay Area activist Leslie Gordon died March 1 lth at the age of 55. A native of Los Angeles, Gordon was born with cerebral palsy. She broke barriers for peo- ple with disabilities from a young age, with the constant support of a large and loving family. A lifelong wheelchair-user, with speech and consequen- tial motor challenges, Gordon's search for knowledge, and what Bay from San Francisco in 1982, Gordon spent her early child- hood in Sherman Oaks where her parents moved their family when they learned Leslie would have the best educational oppor- tunities there. Later she moved to a specialized residential school, Angel View, in Desert Hot Springs CA. While the facility was austere in many respects, Leslie was encouraged to live as independently as possible and her leadership skills were fostered. Recognizing her extraordinary drive and talents, Several teachers befriended and mentored Leslie into her years at Palm Springs High School where she was the first mainstreamed student using a wheelchair. Leslie Gordon was a native Californian. Courtesy photos Leslie Gordon had an MA in Religious Studies from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. Leslie Gordon's search for knowledge, and what defined a life of meaning, was a constant in her life. defined a life of meaning, was a constant in her life. Gordon earned her BA from UC Riverside, a degree in coun- seling from SFSU, and an MA in Religious-Studies from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. Leslie Gordon was a poet, an actor, and an activist for the many causes she believed in, most recently the Women's March in Oakland on January 21st. She worked as a rehabilitation counselor for people with disabil- ities and as an interim director for EZDoeslt - an emergency atten- dant care agency in Berkeley. A decades-long resident of Berkeley, who moved across the Leslie also traveled as much as she was able, the most adven- turous being a two week trip to Israel. She spent many joyful summer vacations with family on Catalina Island where her grand- parents had a home. She visited the island numerous times in her adult life as well, and she always enjoyed spending time on the beach with family. In the mid 1980s, Gordon par- ticipated in a demonstration at the Concord Naval Base, protesting the shipment of arms to Central America. A row of wheelchair users suc- cessfully faced down the police cars when the police came to make arrests. Gordon was also a frontline activist in the fight for the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the California law (504) providing full access to public transporta- tion for those with disabilities. This included the installation of let-downs on public buses, Leslie was very proud of the work she - working with and as a part of the disabled community - accom- plished. Leslie valued her Jewish heri- tage and the study of Torah from her days at Angel View where she insisted on attending Sunday School. After moving to the East Bay, many years later , she was the first woman Bat Mitzvah at Kehillah Synagogue. She later joined Congregation Netivot Shalom, participating in every aspect of synagogue services and programs. The daughter of Robert and the LesHe, Page 6 Every day we take fresh squeezed lemons and juice them to make the worlds best frozen lemonade fight here in our kitchen. No additives, no preservatives just lemons with tiny bits of our "secret lemon zestl Hop Over to Sunday, April 16 9:00 am to 5:00 m Enjoy family style appetizers, your choice of entr@e and a platter of minidesserts. $40 for adults. Kids menu available. Sip Our Sangria Special - $5 Enjoy a Glass of Springtime Freshness For reservations, visit OpenTable.com or call 310.510,7494. CATALINA " J,CANI~ eOI~pAW, THE CATALINA ISLANDER Friday, April 7, 201715