SPRINGFIELD — Arise for Social Justice and others mourned the death of its co-founder Michaelann Bewsee, 71, on Friday, who was a long-time leader in anti-poverty and social justices causes.

Arise for Social Justice posted on Facebook on Friday morning, “Michaelann has passed on. The torch is ours. The revolution continues, and our love for Michaelann is endless.”

She died late Thursday night following a battle with cancer, according to an online statement from her daughters:

“Mom’s social activism was especially influenced by the teachings of Jesus. Like Jesus himself, she committed herself to a life of humility and poverty in service of social justice,” they said. “Mom lived her life the way she believed she should: in poverty, and in service of the poor and underrepresented.”

At-Large City Councilor Jesse Lederman said in a statement, “Springfield lost a giant last night. Michaelann Bewsee was a relentless advocate for people and causes that society too often ignored. She was endlessly compassionate, fiercely committed, and uncorrupted in her goal to seek justice. To her last day she sought no recognition, nor was she willing to compromise her values or take the easy way out, even during the toughest fights.”

Bewsee founded Arise 34 years ago, served as executive director of Arise for 10 years before her retirement in October 2018. […]