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WDC Tribute to Psarah Johnson

Ellen M Brady | Published on 5/2/2022

Tribute to Psarah Johnson

The Women’s Democratic Club and the marginalized within the Utah community lost a friend and a fierce advocate with the death of Psarah Johnson on Friday, April 29. Her greatest passion was advocacy for the differently abled community. Severely impacted by juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, which struck at age 2, she knew altogether too well the life of chronic pain and physical challenges. And if that wasn’t enough, she battled breast cancer during the pandemic, only to defeat it and succumb to complications stemming from a defective heart valve.

A friend of hers, Scott Perry, posted this on Face Book. For those of us who had the privilege of knowing her, it captures the heart of Psarah perfectly:

She fought. Lord, did she fight. After a lifetime of being bullied by people young and old, singularly or in numbers, she was not one to back away from a fight. Not Nobody. Not No How. Fighting not just for herself, but for the disabled community, the LGBTQ community, for women’s rights, for all people of color, and for her myriad of underprivileged students. She fought on the Hill, on the streets, on the radio, on TV, in the papers and—if you deserved it— she was in your face. There’s not a marginalized person in our state whose life hasn’t been made better because of Psarah Johnson.

On a familial level, Psarah was the centerpiece of our Easter gatherings where she sported the feistiest of bonnets and shouted the foulest of comments. She was our Christmas table’s squealing Cindy Lou Who, and our dazzling Oscar Hostess with the Mostest. She was more Halloweeny than Tim Burton himself, and a favorite crazy auntie to her adored plethora of friends. She was our source of mirth, too. With her love of John Waters, lunchboxes, The Dollar Store, and all things Muppets, her joie de vivre was ever present.”

“Matchstick Theory”, the theatrical monolog she wrote and performed, describes the challenges she and others in her community face on a daily basis. Take the time to watch it, share it, and thus let her voice and advocacy live on.

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