I cannot go to sleep on this night without a word on Berta Cáceras, who was assassinated in her home in Honduras last night.

Our paths crossed briefly. In September I moderated a plenary at which she spoke, supported by a translator. She was beautiful, vigilant and clear; an environmentalist with her own inner light, no nonsense in her commentary, witty and exacting through the translation.

She made an impression on me. Something about the ease of her smile and the heat of her fire brought to mind my friend Charity, killed by a texting driver in 2014. Berta felt unique, necessary in the same way Charity did, irreplaceable, leaving in her wake a chasm that is hard to imagine being filled.

As racism and xenophobia get naked in this country, the depth of U.S. imperial madness like fresh bruises on ancient white skin, pulling our collective attention into high alert – I am grateful I got to cross Berta’s path. Her life is a reminder to let this world matter to us, to be of the dirt, to struggle for this home of ours. Her death is a reminder that we are at war for the future of the planet.

Berta. You did so much with your precious life. Fallen comrade, sister, freedom fighter, I light candles in your honor and wish you gentleness in your ongoing journey.