SF Dem Chair Susan Popovich Has Died Tragically and Too Soon

It is with great sadness that I report what many of you heard yesterday, that Susan Popovich was killed in an automobile accident on Sunday morning. I had a post ready to go for today. It will wait til tomorrow. Today a tribute to Susan.

There are some people who just show up and show up and show up. They get things done that no one wants to do because without someone doing them, all kinds of other things won’t happen. That was Susan. Roxanne and I first met her in the fall of 2015 when we needed someone to manage a Bernie office in El Dorado. She showed up. Almost every day. She bought supplies, she worked with the landlords to get wireless and landlines and heat. She recruited volunteers to do phone banking and canvassing with phone banking going on to El Dorado residents and to residents of key swing states. She served on our leadership team, almost never missing a meeting. Tens of thousands of calls were made because Susan showed up.  I have no idea how many hours she volunteered, but by the end of the campaign I am sure it  was well over 1000.

After the Democratic National Convention when we formed Retake the Roundhouse, again Susan showed up, serving on the leadership team and with Charlotte Roybal organizing canvassing and phone banking many days a week. Without question, she was Retake the Roundhouse’s most active volunteer and given that phone bank calls she and Charlotte coordinated targeted key districts, 2-3 where Democrats won by less than 300 votes, she was a critical factor in retaking the Roundhouse.

After the general election, Susan didn’t slink away in disgust. Again, she showed up. Helping us form Retake Our Democracy and serving on our leadership team in its early days before she realized she had a different calling. She ran for Democratic Party Chair committed to reforming and re-energizing the Party. She won handily; not because she was a tremendous speaker, but for one very clear quality: the woman cared and translated that caring into ceaseless activity.

In large part due to Susan’s showing up, the Santa Fe Democratic Party has been revived significantly, wards are meeting, the county Party’s steering committee meets, funds are being raised, picnics and potlucks are occurring and there is constant energy at 1420. While many others have contributed to this re-energizing of the Party, we all know who was the glue, who was the catalyst. And it shows you what can happen when one person decides: enough is enough. If I don’t do it no one will. So she got it done.

As with any people working together closely, you don’t always get along. Susan and I had moments of great camaraderie and moments of conflict. We didn’t always agree and we are both stubborn. I am so grateful that in the last two weeks, Susan and I had made amends, shared a hug and acknowledged each other’s value to the community and to each other. It would have been an endless regret had that not happened. Many of you knew of our conflict over Retake posts about Rep. Lujan and so I wanted to share that that fence had been mended with a call and a hug a day later. But this note really isn’t about Susan and me, but about Susan and all of us.

Susan wasn’t interested in transforming the Party just for the sake of it. She saw the pathetic state of the world and knew it needed to be fixed and in a hurry. And she knew that that wouldn’t happen by sitting at home. So she showed up. Thank you Susan for all you’ve done for this community. No one can replace you, but hopefully your example can inspire others, perhaps not to give of themselves entirely for many months, but to give of themselves consistently. This world is in terrible shape, but by working as Susan did to get the little things done, we can form a community that shines a light on injustice and works to correct it. We owe it to Susan to sustain that effort.

Rest in peace. We will finish what you started.

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne

Tomorrow’s post will have information about two critical City Council meetings both on Wednesday, at 5pm the City Council will discuss the Finance Committee’s unanimous recommendation to extend the Wells Fargo contract to manage the City’s $220M for another four years. We oppose vigorously.  The second meeting at 7pm the Council will consider allowing cell towers to be placed anywhere in the City without neighborhood consent as long as they meet pre-determined requirements. We oppose. Finally, on Wednesday at City Hall FairVote New Mexico will announce a lawsuit to force the city to implement Rank Choice Voting. We support this lawsuit.

It would be a fitting tribute to Susan if many of us showed up at these meetings. Yesterday’s post had information on the Wells Fargo contract. Click here for that post.  You can click here to get contact information so you can contact your Councilor or the Mayor. Details on these actions will be provided tomorrow.

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8 replies

  1. YESTERDAY felt like a “blistering” energy day of chaos and destruction and pockets of rage. In the midst of all that comes your post, Paul. I did not know Susan except to see her at two meetings I attended, but I feel deep grief and I am stunned. So much going on ….I wish you well, Susan on your journey to what is next for you.

  2. We lost a true Democratic Party Progressive and a leader for all people to be part of our true Democracy….we will be sorely put to test to follow in her shoes.
    I am deeply saddened to realize I will not see her grace and light again at 1420…but she will guide the s IF we listen.

  3. A huge loss of a wonderful woman and leader, so sad, deepest sympathies, and a resolve to stay active for the good causes and work we share.

  4. Beautiful tribute – brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for being present and honoring and leading in all the ways that you do. This is tragic. I didn’t know Susan but had a sense of her enormous contributions. May she rest in peace and power.

    Love, B

    On Tue, Aug 29, 2017 at 7:12 AM, Retake Our Democracy wrote:

    > paulgibson51 posted: “It is with great sadness that I report what many of > you heard yesterday, that Susan Popovich was killed in an automobile > accident on Sunday morning. I had a post ready to go for today. It will > wait til tomorrow. Today a tribute to Susan. There are some” >

  5. I phone banked with Susan at El Dorado in ’16 and she taught me a great deal. She was a true progressive and dedicated to our cause. I found her to be inspirational and energetic; I only wish that I had her knowledge and dedication.

  6. Very sad re Susan. LIfe is fleeting. I Hope with our environmental struggles in the age of absurd TRump that THE EARTH will sustain and outlive us!

  7. I didn’t know Susan well, but I trusted her. She recruited me to do phone banking during the Bernie campaign. She was efficiency and good humor rolled together. Sorry to hear of her passing.

  8. Fighting the injustices in our life time, is significant, moving ever forward with due diligence in order to repair our system of democracy, which has been erroding through geeed & facist ideology.
    Susan, like many of us, don’t get tired of bringing Truth to Power.
    May her torch for Human & Civil Rights be carried on by those who believe in significant political change for the better, as well as Unequivocal Equality, for all.

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