Samantha Mattox died May 15 of complications due to HIV/AIDS at Kindred Hospital. Samantha was a young African-American bi activist around multiple issues including queer liberation, women's liberation, freedom for Mumia Abu-Jamal, and justice for striking workers. She joined the coalition for the National Young Women's Day of Action, which took place in Oct. 21, 1998 and addressed many issues relevant to young women. She also worked with the Coalition or Positive Sexuality to educate high school students.
Samantha received her bachelor's in journalism from Roosevelt University. She participated in Ten Percent, a GLBT student group, the Black Student Union and student government. She organized a Black feminism discussion group.
Samantha worked with Affinity where she gave talks on Black feminism as well as on AIDS and the African-American community with author Cathy Cohen in 2001. She also was a contributor to BLACKlines and volunteered with the West Side Pathfinders Prevention Education Fund.
After her diagnosis, Samantha received a '30 Under 30' award certificate from the Windy City Times. She said, 'Although I have AIDS, it is not the sum total of who I am. AIDS is not something to be proud of or ashamed of. It just is. It's a medical condition. I was an activist long before I knew I had the disease.' Samantha's funeral service was held May 22 at Gatling's funeral home.
Submitted by friends of longtime community activist and volunteer Alexis Bowlds.
We had a friend named Alexis: a passionate, charismatic woman whom we endearingly remember as a gentle giant. You may have seen her, strolling along the sidewalks of Andersonville, lost in her thoughts or daydreams. Perhaps she had a frown, but more often than not, she would be giggling to herself. She crisscrossed our community. You may have met her on the softball fields on Sundays or on Thursday nights at Star Gaze. She always found a place to fit or would create one.
Modest about her deeds, Alexis moved here in 1999. She volunteered her services at the Lesbian Community Cancer Project, Mountain Moving Coffeehouse, Chicago Filmmakers, and as a photographer for Dykediva.com . She loved art and taught children its gifts. She was talented and skilled at graphic design, sketching and watercolors. In all her endeavors, Alexis believed in carrying on traditions while creating new ones and never saw limits, but only possibilities. Some of her mantras include 'Big Strong Dyke,' and 'Dykes Can Do!'
Aside from her contributions to our community, there are memories of Alexis we will always cherish. A self-proclaimed grown child, she asserted that she had 'Peter Pan Complex'. If you weren't careful, you may have fallen victim to her practical jokes. Always up for a laugh, she was a fan of the comic strips 'Peanuts' and 'Dykes to Watch Out For.'
While a picky eater, Alexis loved to try any cuisine. Most often though, she lived on a steady diet of chocolate, coke, pizza, and hotdogs. She would only eat ice cream in the summertime, claiming it was a seasonal food not made for the rest of the year.
She could play a mean game of Scrabble and would show up at the coffee shop, armed with her Scrabble dictionary. Give Alexis a board or card game, and she had non-stop entertainment for the night.
When in her own home, she enjoyed listening to music by Natalie Merchant, Innocent Mission, and Six Pence None the Richer. You could also catch her watching women's basketball, especially the Indiana Fever, HG TV and The Food Network.
While playful, Alexis was always serious when it came to issues of social justice. She was particularly incensed about the disappearance of the Bradley sisters and the disparity of media coverage in cases of African American youth gone missing versus other racial groups.
Alexis once said she was looking for a relationship like durabond, to stick together forever—she found that in her loving partner Renee Potter. The two of them shared a home on the city's Northwest Side. While a dog person, Alexis fell in love with a cat person, and could be found chasing kitties through the house, calling them 'Doofy Cats!'
Alexis touched many lives and will be terribly missed by many. Her laughter, kindness, generosity, and non-judgmental nature exuded with joy and spirituality. She brought laughter and courage into the world, and it is a sweeter place because of it.
Alexis Bowlds died of complications following heart surgery. She was born Aug. 7, 1963 in Marion Indiana and she passed away on June 9, 2004 at the University of Chicago Hospital. Donations can be made to the National Marfan Foundation at www.marfan.org or mail to 22 Manhasset Avenue, Port Washington, NY 11050. Donations in Alexis' memory can also be made to the LCCP at 4753 N. Broadway, Ste. 602, Chicago, IL 60640.
Whether you knew Alexis or not, she would have recommended that everyone see the movie Auntie Mame, the Rosiland Russell version, not the Lucille Ball version. It is a story of a woman that lived life to the fullest regardless of adversity. Or, as Mame says in the film, 'Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving.' Alexis loved life and lived every day to the fullest.
A memorial service was held Tuesday, June 29 at 7 p.m. at Summerdale Community Church, 1700 W. Farrugut.
Lois 'Cookie' Robey
Lois 'Cookie' Robey passed away May 20, 2004. A memorial service was held June 19 at Affinity Community Services, 5650 S. Woodlawn.
Chicana lesbian-feminist writer Gloria Anzuldua has died.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported on a San Francisco memorial for Anzuldua, 61, who died May 15 at her
Santa Cruz home. One of her most famous works was Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, a 1987 work, anchored in her own stories of growing up in
as a child of Tejano sharecroppers. See