Activist Laurel Hester Dies

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Laurel Hester, the New Jersey police lieutenant who fought for the right to leave her pension to her longtime domestic partner Stacie Andree, succumbed to lung cancer on Sunday. Hester, a 23 year investigator, made headlines last month when she pressed city officials in Ocean County, New Jersey to pass a domestic partnership resolution provided for by the Domestic Partnership Act which “gives counties and cities the power to extend pension and health care benefits to the gay partners of employees if they so choose.”

Following several months of heated debate and wavering, the Ocean County freeholders eventually reversed their original decision on January 25th, granting police and fire department employees the freedom to designate their own pension beneficiaries. Thanking freeholders, and present despite the advice of her medical team, Hester told them “you have made yourselves an example of what democracy is all about.” Laurel Hester certainly did not intend to become an activist, but she nonetheless became a hero in the fight for equality.

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Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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