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Letter: Valley visionary

Leslie Laurie was a visionary and community activist organizer when she came to the valley in the early ’70s and continues to be.

Fortunately, she was also someone who was willing to give her life to working hard for the disenfranchised.

She was willing to take on the very conservative medical community as she knew that women were not getting the services they needed and deserved much more. Throughout her leadership at Family Planning Council of Western Mass. as it changed to Tapestry, she was always thinking of ways to serve those who no one else wanted to think about. She was a forerunner when it came to be willing to meet the needs of those with AIDS and the services were modeled statewide as she was a statewide leader in this area.

The needle exchanges are another example of her forward thinking and her seeing a problem and wanting to solve it. Her political and collaboration skills enable her to work with officials in Northampton and more recently in Holyoke. She is someone who sees where the cutting edge needs to be and comes up with a solution.

Her most recent vision was that medical marijuana would be a way to help those who suffer and meet the needs of many clients. She went to statewide meetings to speak and learn about ways in which Tapestry could become involved even though Tapestry didn’t have the money to start a project. After meeting with many people who were interested in forming a relationship with Tapestry, she chose to ally herself with New England Treatment Access, as she felt it would be the best match. And she was correct again that this was the way to bring medical marijuana to Northampton as they are one of only two contracts that have been accepted in Western Mass.

It was my pleasure to have served with Leslie for over 40 years. I learned a great deal and am sorry that her tenure and mine have come to an end.



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