Susan Meurer, poet, playwright, author, health and safety activist, labour adjustment specialist – a true renaissance woman in the world of social justice – died in Toronto on March 3, 2010, after a nine-year struggle with the aftermath of a stroke.
Born in the United States, Susan came to Canada with her husband, following a year at two universities in Germany, which she attended on a Fulbright Fellowship. They settled in Toronto but, after the arrival of her three children, she became a single parent in the mid-1970s. From there Susan began her activist journey, some of which paid the bills but most of which was more about her commitment to working people, their rights and their voice through politics and culture.
Her 1988 play, Shadowboxers, chronicled the shutdown of a Toronto Goodyear plant, the beginning of the de-industrialization of Canada’s largest city. The play, which featured the audience playing a role as union members at a local meeting, was eventually sold to the CBC and produced as a radio play.
That was followed by collaboration with historian David Sobel on Working At Inglis. The book is an absorbing and detailed account of the life and death of a Canadian factory that closed in late 1989 after 100 years of operation.