Mary Jo “MJ” Berry was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi on December 12, 1947 to Lucille (Schmutte) and Travis Berry Sr. She shined her light on this world into the wee hours of November 15, 2020.
When a serious auto accident almost took her life in 1979, doctors said she would not likely walk again. But reaching out to what she experienced as a Higher Power, MJ regained her ability to walk and began a long and active spiritual and political life in Lincoln, Nebraska.
A lover of music and participatory democracy, she always supported Lincoln’s KZUM community radio station and served as a leader in the Nebraska Green Party, Nebraskans Against the Death Penalty, and other peace, social justice, and environmental groups. When the internet emerged, MJ started her own “Mostly Good News” online service, collecting links to positive news stories from a wide range of sources and passing them along to a growing list of readers in more than 1,100 installments over 20 years. She earned the Peacemaker of the Year Award from the local Alternatives to the Military group.
MJ advocated for medical marijuana to deal with the pain she lived with since 1979. She came to believe that our collective human consciousness can evolve to a greater harmony with nature, to world peace, and to a collective healing with social and economic justice for all. Always the optimist, she believed, as the poet Pablo Neruda wrote, “You can cut all the flowers, but you cannot keep Spring from coming.”
It is MJ’s wish that any memorial gifts be donated in her name to Lincoln’s KZUM radio station at kzum.org and/or to: Nebraska Green Party; P.O. Box 85442; Lincoln, NE 68501. A memorial service will be planned for in 2021 when the COVID-19 pandemic threat has passed. MJ will be interred next to her mother in Lincoln Memorial Cemetery.
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