Dorothy Rupert (born 1926) served 35 years as a public high school teacher and counselor, 14 more years in the Colorado House and Senate, and decades in the peace and women's rights/human rights movements. She has consistently supported education, relentlessly and courageously tackled difficult legislative issues, and traveled the globe for peace. Dorothy embodies commitment, passion, vitality, caring, sincerity, never-give-up determination, and joy. As she nears 80, these traits shine more brightly than ever.
"We discovered that a powerful way of truly seeing another person is to look into each other's face and with no words say 'I am glad you are here. You have every right to be here.'" Dorothy Rupert shares this memory from the UN Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. It is an image that says much about this woman whose life is all about really seeing and honoring others. After a visit in Africa where she had met a 16-year-old victim of female genital mutilation, Dorothy determined to learn the truth about mutilation in her home state of Colorado and do everything possible to stop it. She wrote and passed legislation making it a felony. Having seen buttons in Beijing that read: Thursdays in Black: Demanding a World without Rape and Violence, Dorothy organized a button campaign back home, modeled after Women in Black, the Palestinian and Israeli women who stand together outside the Knesset to advocate nonviolence. She distributed over 10,000 buttons. And in Beijing Dorothy heard the stories of 35,000 women from all over the world, and within months after returning home she gave 50 talks and wrote editorials on their behalf. By the time she traveled to Beijing, Dorothy had served 35 years as a high school teacher and counselor, 14 years in the Colorado legislature, and decades in the peace and women's rights/human rights movements. She earned the reputation of one who would fight for those who had no voice. More than 40 plaques on her capitol office walls testify to Dorothy's effectiveness and the appreciation of many diverse groups for her work. Dorothy's life and work cannot be summed up in a word or two, but there are a few words that come to mind, her own words: "My dream is for all of the world's little girls to have access to a progressive education where their learning opens doors to whole new possibilities for them to live their dreams."
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) Women’s Action for New Directions (Wand)