In Memoriam written by Michael Hutchins & Patricia Arredondo
When I learned of Janet’s passing, my heart ached. I have known Janet since the early 1990s when we were each weaving our way into the fabric of leadership in the American Counseling Association. One summer, we met on the beach in Ogunquit, Maine. We shared stories of how we got to be who we are; what we would like to see unfolding in our world, our profession and our association; and how we could contribute to our community. We laughed, we cried and we danced in the waves of the North Atlantic.
We had similar visions — to create a world where love, peace and respect were at the core of who we were and what we did. While our visions were similar, our paths were often very different. At times, we disagreed on how to weave the tapestry of community, and some of the threads that we were sewing became knots to untangle. What I loved and respected about Janet was that we could disagree and still remain engaged in a loving way until we came to a resolution, thereby creating a more colorful tapestry.
Janet was an early voice in Counselors for Social Justice (CSJ). When we were establishing the structure for the association, Janet became the first “communications officer.” I remember a long, and often heated, discussion exploring the need for a communications officer” and not a “secretary.” Janet was committed. She spoke convincingly of creating an alternative model for an association that championed collaborative decision-making and shared responsibility. Today, CSJ has a communications officer.
Janet deeply understood the power of storytelling, and her story was a rich one. For many years, she spoke about writing a book that included the stories of a very diverse group of people whose stories might not otherwise be told. She invited me, Anita Jackson and Carlos Zalaquett to walk with her through this phase of her journey. It was not always an easy adventure. For me, the path was challenging and rewarding as we learned new lessons about love, respect and weaving together diverse ways of seeing, doing and being in the world.
Janet, I am deeply grateful for having had the opportunity to sew threads of my story into the tapestry of your life. I, like many others, am more fully human as a result of our shared experiences over the years. I already miss you and trust that you are lovingly challenging the spirits in your new world.
— Michael Hutchins
I met Janet in 1978 and was immediately taken by her passion to advocate for the careers of Air Force veterans at Pease Air Force base where she worked as a career counselor. Janet was an unmistakable crusader for social justice. She believed in the power of relationships, caring, healing and empowering. Within the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development, she persisted in bringing to fruition the Native American Concerns Network and a vice president for Native American concerns.
Janet’s love was shared by many, including her two sons, Michael and Curtis, her grandchildren and a great-grandchild. Her legacy is one to guide our challenging times and staying true to the course of inclusive multiculturalism and social justice principles.
— Patricia Arredondo