Robyn Few passed away Sep 13 after a long battle against cancer. Most of my readers probably don’t know her and I can’t say I knew her well. What I did know of her was great. She was one of the biggest points of light in the movement. She was the first activist who remembered my name from one meeting to the next (which were months apart). She loved every sex worker without reservation. That level of acceptance is hard to come by, even in the movement. She is an example to follow.

Beyond the lovefest that was Robyn’s trademark, she was a rabble-rouser. She was tireless as an activist, not afraid to get in anyone’s face over the issues. However, she didn’t seem to pull a stunt just because it was there to be pulled. Whatever she did had a point. I didn’t know her before her cancer diagnosis so perhaps that was the reason for her focus, or perhaps it was just her. I can say that she fought cancer and won several more years than the doctors predicted. Yes, she died younger than she would’ve without cancer. I don’t see her life as a tragedy, though. Her life was something to be proud of. She earned every day she had and I don’t feel she wasted them.

Arguably her biggest accomplishment was designating Dec 17 as the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. Last June the Robyn Few Sex Workers’ Resource Center opened in Tuscon, AZ (no website listed yet). Her impact on the movement is profound because of who she was.

I can’t think of enough good things to say about Robyn. I knew when I hugged her bye at the end of the Desiree Alliance conference in 2010 that it would be the last time I would see her and it was. Unfortunately. Reading about her can’t explain the radiance she always carried or the love she freely gave to everyone who met her. She does have her own website if you’d like to know more. It’s very sad knowing she won’t be around anymore. She leaves behind a family and a global network of friends.

11 thoughts on “robyn few — memoriam

  1. I wish I had known Robyn better as well. Her enthusiasm was infectious and that is what got me to become active in SWOP after DA 2008. I think that strength was just part of who she was as a person. After what she went through with the federal charges, she wouldn’t have come out stronger as a person if not for her extraordinary will. I also didn’t know until a couple days ago that she was from Paducah, KY, which is where my father’s brother lives.

    I said in my own post about her passing that she definitely wasn’t a woman you forget meeting!

  2. Aspasia — You’re right, she had to be pretty strong to go through what she did with the feds.

    Link to your post here!

    David — You would have enjoyed meeting her.

  3. Dear Ms. Brooks:
    How are you doing and how is your latest literary effort maturing? With respect to the recent passing of Ms. Few who certainly was an ardent and feverent supporter of workers with in the sex industry, whom do you see emerging in her role that she played so eloquently nationally? Also whom do you feel is the most prepared to take the mantle into this century and beyond and what do you think will be the chief issues on your agenda for the upcoming years both at home and abroad?

  4. What a shame. I did not know Robyn personally but it seems like this world needs more women like her. I wish I had her strength and courage.

    Godspeed to you Robyn!

  5. Amanda – Wow, this is surprising and very sad news. My condolences to Ms. Few’s family, and to you and all of her other friends. I saw her very briefly at the 2010 DA conference, but didn’t have a chance to talk to her. I remember attending one of the same presentations she was at, and her asking a couple of very much to-the-point questions. It was easy to see why she was spoken of so highly. Really sad news.

  6. Robyn was one of the most amazing people I have ever met. It isn’t that often that you meet someone was warm, authentic, welcoming, caring and compassionate as Robyn. Robyn was someone that added to the lives of virtually everyone she met. She is someone I will never forget. She was there for me in 2006 when my activist career was hanging by a thread. In a time that she could have shut me out because of my previous activism but she didn’t. Instead she welcome me into the sex worker rights movement. A lot of what I achieved as a sex worker rights activist was the result of Robyn’s place both in the movement and in in my heart. The world was a brighter, better place because of Robyn. She is someone I will always remember and always love.

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