Maxine Marie James
Maxine’s kindness was apparent from the first time I met her; she and William were dropping Tayo off on her first day of university, and amidst the hustle and the stress Maxine greeted me with such a wide, kind smile. As Tayo and I became friends, Maxine would often bring me food and talk with me about politics and my studies whenever she came to visit Tayo. The thoughtfulness of this gesture, which expected nothing in return, always struck me as indicative of Maxine’s generous way of being in the world. She was generous too in her listening, always making sure to ask my opinion and listen carefully when we talked about political issues that I know she understood much better than me; Maxine always encouraged me to form opinions and discuss them, often enriching my perspective with her own insight and experience, and urged me to improve the quality and aims of politics by joining my local Labour party. Maxine really did believe in each person’s ability to make a difference to the world around them, and sought tangible, accessible ways to encourage the people she knew to participate in the decisions that would affect them and their communities. I see so many of Maxine’s qualities reflected in her daughter, Tayo: loyalty, generosity, a strong sense of justice. I am grateful to have known Maxine and I miss her. I know her spirit will be kept alive by all those who love her.