Leda Dederich, a lover of life, a fierce mother, partner, friend, community organizer, and digital strategist passed away on October 11, 2021, nearly five years after being diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. Until the end, she called on her core optimism and joy to embrace life as fully as possible.
A passionate advocate for racial and social justice, Leda was one of the first people to recognize the Internet’s potential as a tool for organizing and campaigning; with Arianna Huffington’s gubernatorial campaign in California; and as founder and director of dotOrganize. Later, through her social change consulting practice, ScoutSeven, she provided important guidance and strategic planning to many organizations and initiatives including the American Association for Justice, The Haas Foundation, Green for All, and the Story of Stuff Project.
Born April 6, 1971, Leda grew up in the controversial commune, Synanon. She spoke of the blessings and challenges of her unconventional childhood with compassion and clarity as she forged a loving and independent adult life. Leda and her beloved partner Andy Gaines formed a joyful and intimate family unit with their children, Jaren (11) and Raina (8). As a devoted mother, she made a practice of parenting with empathy and presence, while also being a fierce and unyielding advocate for her kids. She brought this advocacy and fearlessness into and through the Pandemic, despite her progressing illness, using her heart, voice, and skills to help her own and others make it through and thrive.
Leda faced her life-threatening illness with her characteristic ability to hold contradiction; revisiting an evolving prognosis with regret but without bitterness. She remained vigilant in her practice of gratitude and recounted frequently what she saw as her overall great good fortune along with the possibility of joy to be found and gleaned each day.
Leda is survived by her husband Andy; their children Jaren and Raina; her mother Jady Dederich Montgomery; her father, Steven Schiff, and his wife, Bonni; and the other circles of made family and friendship she fostered and cherished. To honor Leda’s memory and to continue her work for the causes and organizations she championed, family and friends have created the Leda Dederich Fund for Social Justice. If you are interested in learning more, or in being a contributor, please send your name, email, and text contact info to LedaDederichSocialJustice@gmail.com.
For more photos and stories about Leda’s life put this link into your browser: rememberingleda.org