Sunday June 16th 2019

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“It’s time to move up to the next level.”

NNO2007045– Muriel Simmons
June 2, 1939 – January 15, 2013

By Harvey Winje

A Memorial Tribute, Celebration, and Funeral of Muriel Barnes Simmons was Monday, January 21, 2013; the same day as:

  • 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation,
  • 50th Anniversary of the 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington,
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2013,
  • 2nd Inauguration of 44th President Barack Hussein Obama.

It was a remarkable coincidence with similar characteristics of organizing, struggling for freedom, uncommon accomplishments, and all promising hope for increased peace and justice.

In Minneapolis, scores of mourners of Muriel’s death and celebrants of Muriel’s life, having endured the subzero weather to honor Muriel and support one another, heard Messiah Lutheran Church Pastor Lee Cunningham repeat Muriel‘s oft-repeated words, “it’s time to move up to the next level.”  Muriel knew when the time was right and had the courage to not only move to the next level but to often take others with her and even more often inspire others to move up on their own.

City Councilmember Robert Lilligren speaking for himself and also representing Mayor R.T. Rybak (who was attending the Presidential Inauguration) spoke passionately about the profound impact Muriel had on his life as his mentor, friend, and inspiration.  State Senator Jeff Hayden also spoke with heartfelt recollections about Muriel also saying that all local politicians wanting to promote an idea or legislation would always be sure to get Muriel’s blessing first so they could assure people that Muriel had heard and endorsed it.

Many of Muriel’s descendants were present and gave their own very intimate reflections of their Mother, Grandmother, and Great Grandmother Muriel who had obviously infused their hearts with the same intensity of purpose, commitment to life, and love of community, always admonishing them “we gotta stay cool and help each other out” and know when “it’s time to move up to the next level”!

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