It is with great sadness that we share the news that Shaun Mitchell, a member of our community, has passed away. To honour their memory, we have collected tributes from activists who knew them.
“I felt seen by you. You had a way to just see people and tell them wagwan in a way like you’d known us for a minute – and that’s why anyone who knows you will be heartbroken by the news that you’ve left us. You had a way to see into the future, and to bridge that freer world to this present. I promise to bridge harder for you. People have written that you’d be hard pushed to find someone nicer. Honestly you were one of the realest out here. Rest in complete peace and power comrade.”
Joshua’s words remind us of the power, joy and spirit that Shaun brought to the world and the people around them. Shaun was a beloved activist and friend who sadly passed away earlier this month at the age of 39. As a community, we feel complete and utter grief at this tragic news. We hope that the tributes below will contribute to Shaun’s lasting memory and legacy, as well as honouring the impact of their campaigning and organising work.
Shaun was a disability rights activist based in Glasgow, who did vital work to raise awareness of the challenges faced by those with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS), as well as other invisible disabilities. They were an active member of the Campaign Bootcamp community, having graduated from our residential Bootcamp in 2016, and then returning to facilitate the following year. They also took part in our Training for Social Action Change (TSAT) and Advanced Training of Trainers programmes, and more recently, worked with the Bootcamp team on cohort selection, as well as other projects. You can find out more about Shaun’s work with Campaign Bootcamp in their own words here.
Shaun was greatly loved by everyone who knew them within our community. Our thoughts are with their family, friends, and anybody who is grieving and remembering Shaun during this time. The tributes below were shared with us by campaigners who knew, worked and spent time with Shaun over the years. Together, they speak of and remember Shaun’s beautiful spirit, determination to create change, knowledge, friendship and their unforgettable sense of humour. May they rest in peace, and power.
“Shaun had a beautiful heart that touched me so deep that I didn’t realise until they were gone, I’ll always cherish the times we spent in the same spaces. They never judged people, just loved people for who they were and always knew how to make everyone laugh however serious the conversations were.” – Rakesh
“Shaun was in the home-group I facilitated at Bootcamp and a nicer person you’d struggle to meet. They were so passionate and knowledgeable about their campaigning cause, EDS awareness and I always enjoyed Shaun’s insights and humour. Keeping them and their loved ones in my thoughts.” – Zèyn
“Shaun began working with us around five years ago, setting up a support group for the Glasgow area and offering much needed guidance, emotional support and knowledge to the Ehlers-Danlos syndrome Community. Shaun used their own experiences in a positive manner to help others and make a difference, always reaching out and helping as many people as possible. Whether it was a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on or practical advice, Shaun always went over and above to help. Shaun was an absolute pleasure to work with and an asset to the team, we have wonderful memories of Shaun and they will be sorely missed.” – Sarah, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Support UK
“I can’t believe I won’t be able to laugh with you again, to receive your wisdom, to be reminded by your spirit that there’s a better nature we can all strive for. You’ll leave a hole in our communities that will be filled to the brim with memories. Memories of the committedness with which you sought justice denied, the kindness with which you approached people and the humility you carried even though you were as wise as they come. You are such a bright light that will shine eternally, and through all the hardships, those you left when you came to this difficult island and those you had here, you remained that light for all those you shone around.
I feel so blessed for the moments we had, that we were able to facilitate together, to be trained together, the jokes in the car rides or the short walks or just the looks. I feel blessed too for the energy, work and legacy you leave. I felt seen by you, to be honest, you had a way to just see people and tell them wagwan in a way like you’d known us for a minute – and that’s why anyone who knows you will be heartbroken by the news that you’ve left us. I remember when we were speaking about Octavia Butler and the worlds we’re creating, I was thinking that you had a way to see into that future, and to bridge that freer world to this present. I promise to bridge harder for you. People have written that you’d be hard pushed to find someone nicer, true, but when we say nice we mean you kept it 100. Honestly you were one of the realest out here. Rest in complete peace and power comrade.” – Joshua
“I loved getting to know Shaun at Bootcamp, they became a great friend. We had great fun chilling out with super unhealthy junk food at the end of the day. They really were so caring, kind and very funny. Such a sad loss. I’ll enjoy remembering our time together with this picture of us.” – Lauren
“So blessed to have been a part of Bootcamp 9 and then also to have been in Shaun’s presence again at the conference earlier this year. Rise in power, beloved.” – Kehryse
“I’m so sorry to hear this sad news. From my brief time of getting to know Shaun I found them to be a warm and gentle soul with a gentle sense of humour. It’s such sad news and I’m sure Shaun’s passing will be a great loss to many people.” – Paul
“I’m so sorry to hear this, it’s such a loss . Shaun was such a beautiful and positive soul, often praised and always inspired. Rest in peace. Sending my love and prayers. In the words of Shams Tabrizi: ‘For who departs in the world another is born.’ May our world be filled with more Shaun’s fighting for justice and shedding light on what we as a society need to keep improving.” – Rabia
“Rest in power Shaun. You were one of those people that brought out the playful side in me – your energy compelling me to crack an inappropriate joke or play the clown. You had a great sense of humour and a presence that allowed me to relax. I remember how patient you were with others and how you went above and beyond to support and defend those on the margins of our community. You could buss joke but also be serious and firm when it came to upholding your values. At times I saw you doubt yourself or think yourself unworthy of support.
Only in losing you do I realise how you were community to me in so many ways. Thank you for facilitating with me, for laughing at white supremacy with me, for campaigning, for being black and queer and trans and working class and disabled but also more then all those things. I loved the spaces we shared together and I’m angry that this world has taken you.” – Tamara-Jade
“I had the privilege of getting to know Shaun at Bootcamp, during which time we also shared a room together. I remember our time together with great fondness; even after a long day of training we managed to have some wonderful conversations. Shan had such deep insight, but was full of compassion and empathy too. I learnt a lot from them, and I will miss them. Sending their family and friends a lot of love during this difficult period.” – Supriya
You can donate to The Ehlers-Danlos Support UK here.
If you are looking for support or advice during this time, please see the resources below:
- Cruse is a bereavement charity that can offer 121 support and are running webinars at the moment
- Majonzi Bereavement Fund, set up by Patrick Vernon and Ubele, is raising money to provide a fund helping families, colleagues, communities and faith groups to organise memorial events and tributes during and after lockdown
- AUNTIE is being set up to provide tailored psychological support to BAME people
- Death Cafe runs volunteer-led online informal group meetings
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