We had the immense pleasure of working with Nora Breen throughout 2021, first through our online Unstoppable Voters workshop, and then as a project lead on the incredible creative campaign Chase the Erase.
It’s not always that a participant in an online workshop makes such an impression. When something resonated with Nora, she had these wonderful, visceral and physical reactions. While presenting, we would see Nora on the tiny video conference window jumping up and down in her seat, or pointing, or clapping. She was active with questions and really took to the material.
From there she applied for support for Chase the Erase, the anti-gerrymandering project she developed during the workshop with her friend and colleague Christine Sciulli. Their application got everyone on the review panel excited. We were thrilled to be able to support Chase the Erase and work with Nora for many more months.
Nora was fearless
That fearlessness showed up as ambition – finding lots of partners and taking on a large-scale project – but it also showed up in the way she communicated and how she worked. She wasn’t afraid to throw out a half-baked, wild idea in a brainstorm, which is often exactly the kind of thing a group needs. When prototyping ideas for Chase the Erase she made videos of herself in her apartment, performing cheers and chants for us to take a look at. Doing high kicks and thrusting her fists in the air. It was impossible not to love.
Nora brought this joy, fun, kindness, optimism, and a wonderful artistic and imaginative spirit to all of our times together. Chase the Erase was in keeping with all that Nora was: it was a raucous street theater action that happened across Pennsylvania in October of 2021, to push for the drawing of fair political districts in that vital state.
Nora and her collaborators supported tons of civic organizations through Chase the Erase, and as she said:
“They were so grateful that we were able to support them with a spirit of an event that they could really show up to and have a good time.”
Nora’s energy and spirit were inspiring. It’s hard to make sense of how someone with so much vitality could be suddenly gone.
For those of us who are still here, we can work to be as driven, joyful, and silly as Nora could be. And we can aim to bring her level of enthusiasm to what we do with the time we a fortunate to remain here.
Thank you, Nora Breen, for all of the support you gave throughout your life and for helping so many people have such good times.
To learn more about Nora and support her family in this time, head here.