June Callwood exuded kindness and compassion. It was how she lived her life; it was what she believed in.
On April 2, 2007, just 12 days before she died, June gave George Stroumboulopoulos her last interview. It was a beautiful interview. She was extremely candid and honest. She talked openly about her life, her experiences, and her loves. Her honesty included her health and her acceptance of her remaining days. When asked about what comes next, in afterlife, she said she did not believe in God.
“I believe in kindness, I think it’s very communicable. Just as meanness is too, but even more so, more powerful.” June Callwood, Canadian Journalist, Author and Social Activist, 1924-2007
June had an incredible career in journalism, working for the Globe and Mail and freelance writing for various books and magazines, and also authoring many books. She was also host of several television shows. She received the Order of Canada, the Order of Ontario and became an inductee into the Canadian News Hall of Fame.
Her concern for social justice, most prominently for children and women, exemplified her belief in kindness. In 1988, at the height of the HIV/AIDS pandemic she founded Casey House, a Toronto hospice for people with AIDS. World AIDS Day was proclaimed on Dec 1 that same year. She also founded Jessie’s, a centre for pregnant teens and young parents, PEN Canada, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and Feminists Against Censorship. And there is so much more, June helped found over 50 social organizations, her life achievements are immense and inspiring.
“Great consideration for one another, that’s what’s going to save the world.” June Callwood
As we enter the hectic, silly season of December holidays and close out 2014, we should slow down and reflect upon the past year. Ask yourself, have you been kind to others?
We should all aspire to be kind, every day.