Tribute to social justice activist Maya Miller

Over the Labor Day holiday, I returned to Nevada where I joined several hundred people who paid tribute to late philanthropist and social justice activist Maya Miller of Carson City.

Maya was a tireless and fearless advocate who contributed millions of dollars and thousands of hours to environmental, liberal and progressive causes. She was especially known for nurturing organizers and providing seed money for new groups. You’ll find her obituary at www.MayaMiller.com.

I met Maya through her daughter, Kit, about 15 years ago when I started my journalism career at the Nevada Appeal in Carson City.

Maya, then in her mid-70s, had just returned from a trip to the Middle East as part of Madre, a group that drove trucks of food and medicine from Jordan into Baghdad in violation of a U.S. embargo. Maya wanted to help Baghdad’s women and children.

She let me write her story and I remain honored for the opportunity to know her and her family in years that would follow.

I have interviewed many incredible people in the past 15 years. But in every journalist’s career, a few individuals stand out in your mind.

Maya inspired me, although not necessarily because of any particular viewpoint or action.

She taught me that achieving meaningfulness in my life is neither constrained nor enhanced by my gender, geography or financial means but by my willingness to participate in my community and stand up for my convictions. Ignorance can be overcome but apathy is unacceptable.

Lisa Vorderbrueggen