Labors of Love

Organizers are the ones who make things happen, who keep us on the road to justice and peace. They aren't always or often the upfront spokespeople, but they're the ones who do the work and get the job done. Jean Sindab was an organizer in the midst of some of the most important movements of our time.

Though her name may not be as well known to our readers as some others, the movements she helped organize are well known to us all: to end apartheid in South Africa, to link racial justice with environmental concerns, to bring about a gang truce, to name just a few. Her influence crossed many boundaries. For example, after she died in January 1996 at the age of 51, the young people of Break and Build in Kansas City—who were coming out of violent street life and building new possibilities with the assistance of Jean—decided to name their new school after her.

Her legacy will be with us for a very long time, not only in the exemplary work that she did, but more importantly in the hearts of the countless people whose lives she touched. —The Editors

Nellie Jean Sindab, known to many as Jean, was born in Cleveland on October 23, 1944, to Joneil Pitts. Shortly after Nellie's birth, she and her mother moved to Brooklyn, New York, where they resided with Nellie's maternal grandmother, Anna Pitts. Later a sister, Debra Pitts Ross, was born. Her mother and grandmother were employed as domestics.

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Sojourners Magazine January-February 1997
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