Jude swims daily at the CV Starr center to stay fit and healthy.
Jude swims daily at the CV Starr center to stay fit and healthy.

“We have, at last, achieved our political emancipation … We shall build the society in which all South Africans, both black and white, will be able to walk tall, without any fear in their hearts, assured of their inalienable right to human dignity - a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world.” - Nelson Mandela

"May 10, 1994, when Mandela said these words in his inauguration speech, we wept tears of joy, with those worldwide who had worked to free Mandela from prison and to realize the sweetness of this day.” Jude was in the crowd of thousands, on the front lawn of the Pretoria capital. Jude is an inspiring individual who cherishes her connection to the "60s generation," a time that ignited her dedication to peace, justice, and civil rights. Her commitment to social change has been unwavering, leading her on a remarkable journey of activism. Her path began in high school, when she was dismissed from the school newspaper for interviewing a nun protesting the use of napalm in Vietnam. The next year, she hitchhiked from college in Indiana to join a massive anti-war demonstration in Washington D.C., where over 500,000 protested against the Vietnam War. Throughout her life, Jude continued to challenge conventions and take risks in support of progressive causes. Her endeavors ranged from smuggling cash and computers to aid liberation movements in Nicaragua, the Soviet Union, and Yugoslavia, to contributing to Nelson Mandela's campaign for the South African presidency. All of these experiences became more meaningful because they were shared with equally committed friends. In between her global solidarity work, she had a son who turned two on the day the black majority voted for Mandela to be their new president.

Along with her co-mom, Jude created an “alternative family” of lesbian and gay parents and friends to be the village that helped raise their Lucas. Jude is proud of the man he has become and of the choices made to support his upbringing. This past decade, Jude has advocated for cannabis medicine and its pressing need for full legalization. She staunchly believes in healthcare as a fundamental human right and advocates for traditional herbal medicine as a means of ensuring this right for all. With 15 years of experience in the cannabis industry and 35 years in public media education, Jude is actively engaged in promoting traditional cannabis medicine, culture, and the legacy community of Mendocino, California. She owns Dragonfly™ Wellness Center, a holistic healing hub on the Mendocino Coast. She has served as an officer of the Mendocino Cannabis Alliance, a trade association that supports farmers struggling to uphold the values and policies shaping the evolving world of medicinal cannabis. Presently residing in Mendocino County, she participates in a local group of older women, studying Buddhist teachings. Jude is learning to embrace a slower pace of life, contemplating how compassion and equanimity can guide her journey. Her story is a testament to resilience, activism, and a lifelong dedication to making the world a better place.

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How does it feel to be 72?

I can’t believe I’m 72! I feel much younger, and so lucky to still be active with regular swimming, walking, and pickleball to keep those bones and muscles moving. In spite of some serious surgeries, I feel great.

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What do you look forward to?

I eagerly anticipate retiring from my paid work and my volunteer commitments within our trade association. This transition will allow me to delve into writing, dedicate more time to my Buddhist practice, and prioritize better care for my body.

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What is your biggest concern?

Fear of ending up sleeping on steam grates on Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley is too real considering the fundamental inequities in our economic system. The exorbitant costs, $6k/month for decent assisted living facilities, create a daunting obstacle for elderly individuals without substantial financial resources. Creating or finding a community of like-minded elders seems like a viable and empowering solution. It would be wonderful if we could pool our resources! Create a shared physical community for our collective caregiving. We could model a supportive and sustainable way of living. Our life-long values would become guideposts for our last years of meaningful living.

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Life expectancy 2023

United States

About the photographer

Joyce Perlman


Based in Northern California. An artist, photojournalist, storyteller and educator, my true passion lies in capturing the beauty and complexity of real-life focusing on everyday moments of people in their natural environments.

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