October 3, 2019

Thank you, Jessye Norman

With so many others worldwide, we mourned Jessye Norman’s passing earlier this week. She possessed an incomparable voice of artistry, nuance and expressiveness that was as expansive as it was full of depth. We were lucky to have her raise her voice on behalf of The Partnership as our national spokesperson for more than a decade. In this role, she reminded us all of the humanity and dignity that each and every one of us possesses, regardless of the challenges confronted on a given day. As she has said of her work to end homelessness, “one needs to remember that a middle class, seemingly comfortable and secure person needs only three things to transpire in life before homelessness could become a reality: the loss of one’s source of income, personal or familial catastrophic illness with no health coverage due to the loss of employment, and not to be able to manage payment for housing or not having family or friends with whom one can live until things turn the corner.” By leveraging her stature as a globally respected and cherished artist, Ms. Norman helped to bring resources and attention to the thousands of people – 60,000 in New York City alone, the majority of whom are women and children – struggling with housing instability and insecurity painterly. She, with other like-minded donors, helped The Partnership to build the foundation for our current homelessness prevention efforts, which seek to resolve immediate housing crisis, ensure long-term stability, disrupt the generational cycle of homelessness and engage cross-sector and citywide support to change the narrative about homelessness. Ms. Norman gave life to the belief that “Art makes each of us whole by insisting that we use all of our senses, our heads and our hearts, that we express with our bodies, our voices, our hands, as well as our minds.”