In the world of media, journalistic integrity can be hard to come by. But one woman was the beacon of integrity and truth that shined brighter than the rest: Bonnie Bucqueroux.
There’s no way I can write this memorial without personal bias of my own. You see, Bonnie was a hero in my life. No, she didn’t wear a cape (at least not one I could see) but she wasn’t afraid to act when others were. Her pursuit of truth and justice was an integral part of everything she did and every story she reported on. Mine included. Or rather, the story of my precious daughter. Dozens of news outlets turned their backs to our story when my family was attacked by Child Protective Services. But Bonnie sat down with us for hours to put together a news series that featured a dreadful video of our circumstances, a video that others had turned away initially. If it wasn’t for her drilling judges, digging for the truth, and fighting for justice, I don’t know that I would have my daughter in my arms today.
Bonnie’s light was kindled long before my story came along.
Perhaps fueled by her personal experience with domestic violence in her first marriage, Bonnie took up a cause to work in Victim Relations. For the past 4 decades, she has written about crime and violence and taken on projects aimed at serving victims and pursuing justice. In the 70’s, Bonnie won a Detroit Press Club Foundation Award for a piece she wrote in Michigan Farmer magazine about rural crime in Michigan. In 1985, Bonnie was again recognized, this time with a National Magazine Award, for a freelance piece she did on suicide.
She moved on to work with police agencies including the US Dept of Justice and then collaborated with Michigan State University to develop a “Victims & The Media” program in 1995; the first of its kind in the nation according to a resume offered by MSU. Bonnie was the coordinator of the program in its later years.
In 2000, Bonnie tried her hand at politics. She ran in a Green Party bid for 8th Congressional District. She came in third but didn’t let that waver her spirit.
Along with being one of the favorite professors at Michigan State University, Bonnie was well-known for her local news contributions on LansingOnlineNews.com and as part of her Monday night radio show through Lansing Community College. She co-hosted the show with Bill Castanier who shared her commitment to justice and truth.
Many activists in our community have been invited by her to the show to discuss hot topics affecting the community. Jim Powers, parent of a pediatric cannabis patient and chairman of Michigan Parents for Compassion paid this tribute: “Bonnie always supported our mission to protect sick kids and their families. She consistently offered her show, her classroom, and her time to help us out in anyway she could. I am deeply saddened by this news and wish Bonnie’s family and friends peace during this difficult time. Thank you for everything, Bonnie, may you rest in peace”
And the tributes didn’t stop there. Hundreds of them poured into her Facebook feed as today pressed on. Students, colleagues, victims, and friends shared stories, each with one thing in common; how much she helped those around her.
“This is a terrible loss for the progressive community, the Spartan family and Michigan as a whole,” wrote Sam Inglot, deputy communications director for Progress Michigan, in a press release. “Bonnie was a champion for progress and peace and will be greatly missed.
I remember sitting with her at Maru (a sushi place in East Lansing) to discuss our launching of this-here magazine. Her lifetime of experience was invaluable in shaping this project and it was helpful to brainstorm with my friend.
Bonnie passed away Tuesday, October 13th and leaves behind quite a legacy. Like any good light, Bonnie’s fiery spirit spread and created a wildfire behind her. We will never be left in the dark as long as we continue to nurture the flame as she did. She wanted this world to be a better place, and it was with her help.
Funeral arrangements have not yet been made but will be announced here.