By now you have all heard the news of the passing of Dr. Cherri-Ann Beckles.
As the past chair of the ICA/SUV, I would like to add my voice to those remembering the energy, dedication, and vision that Cherri-Ann brought to all of our work. I began working with her after her 2014 election to the SUV Section Bureau. She immediately brought new ideas and energy to our work. She was particularly engaged with assessing and then advancing the communications strategy of the Section. Her approach was systematic and thoughtful. What’s more, for every idea she put forward, she stood ready to take on the work herself.
She made a point of booking travel early so she could be a part of a key Section Bureau meeting in February 2015 when we were to discuss what and what kind of a future there was for the SUV. However, the January 2015 terrorist attacks on Charlie Hebdo raised saftey concerns for all of us. When Cherri-Ann asked for assistance in navigating the city, I gladly volunteered. My wife and I met her at the train station and introduced her to Aux Pipalottes Gourmandes for afternoon tea. I then came by her hotel each day to navigate her way to the ICA Secretariat where the Bureau meeting was being held. What could have seemed to be an extra burden quickly dissolved on seeing Cherri-Ann’s electric smile. Paris is a place that leaves one with many memories, but those treks through the city with Cherri-Ann will remain very high on my list.
Through her illness, Cherri-Ann continued to stay engaged with the SUV, monitoring Section Business and helping us update our web presence and integrate it with the ICA’s work. Throughout it all, her positive attitude toward ICA and her health, and above all her concern for her family are inspirational.
ICA, SUV, and the global archival community have suffered a great loss, but Cherri-Ann provides the model for how to proceed.
William J. Maher