Our Stories: Lu Wright
by Janet Meyer
Lu Wright is one of those people who is a powerhouse in an unassuming package. She is a long-time Buddhist who has found a home here at the Fellowship, an accomplished librarian with passion to serve, and a dedicated and well-connected volunteer for economic equity, immigrant rights, and racial justice.
Lu was born and raised in Tennessee by a family full of doctors, lawyers, politicians and public servants. “Service was their gift; that’s where I learned that service was my way in the world, too.” Her family wanted her to be a doctor, but she was more interested in working with the public. She was already a social justice activist as an undergrad at the University of Tennessee, where she studied Psychology and Religious Studies. After graduation, she was recruited to Union Theological School in New York City, a school that shared and fostered her progressive perspective but decided to defer graduate school for a while.
She moved to Boulder in the early 1970s, and was introduced to Vipassanā Buddhism through teachers like Joseph Goldstein, Jack Kornfield, and Sharon Salzberg. It felt like home to her and has, ever since. “It’s been the ground out of which springs my compassion, my service, my sense of right action.”
Around that time, Lu realized that a career as a librarian would give her an avenue to continue her social justice work. She graduated from DU in 1981 with a Master’s in Information Management and Librarianship, at a time when they were first introducing computers. After graduation, she began working in the Adult Services Department of Boulder Public Library, where she served for 9 years.
At the invitation of a friend, she took a detour on her library career path to go to Sri Lanka to work for a British Human Rights NGO. The experience of going through two pandemics there (cholera and dengue fever) gave her a great appreciation for community and health safety. She got sick while there, and had a fever that lingered for a year.
Upon returning to Boulder, and with a “burning desire to serve,” she realized that one of the highest need areas of the Denver area was just a short drive down Highway 36. She went to work in the Westminster Public Library and was just recently honored for 15 years of service. She works at the intersection of library services and social justice work, doing digital literacy, tech help, supporting patron’s citizenship efforts, etc. At the Irving Street branch, she coordinates English Conversation Groups, a Jobs Program, a Tech Help Program, a Citizenship Class, Mindfulness Tuesdays, a Book Club, the Community Resource Series, Kids and Family Art Sundays, and the annual Naturalization Oath Ceremonies. “Naturalization ceremonies are a manifestation of the social justice work that I do, and are also done by other libraries across the country.”
In addition to her library career, Lu engages in an impressive amount of very rewarding volunteer work. For several years, she served on the Adams County Low Income Family Empowerment Board. She was appointed, by the Governor of Colorado, to the first Twentieth District Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission that recommends retention of county and district judges and she was the Media Representative for a $5.5 million Community Housing Development in Boulder County.
Lu sits on Senator Bennet’s Immigrant Advocate Roundtable, the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network’s Liberty Circle, and Rep. Neguse’s Immigrant Advocates Working Group. She is also on a federal Civil Rights Civil Liberties Denver Roundtable. The list goes on and on, but you get the point. At 70, Lu does not seem to be slowing down.
She and her husband John have been married since 1996. Their family includes John’s children from a previous marriage, and one son they have together. Alaric came to be with them through Boulder County Social Services when he was 16 months old, and is now 19 and a freshman at CU. Lu and Alaric have enjoyed doing most of the Bolder Boulders together since he was in Kindergarten. When he was in elementary school, she helped to start and continues to serve on the Sanchez Foundation, which serves low income families in the Sanchez Elementary School area.
The family first came to Unitarian Universalism when, 20 years ago, John’s younger child came to live with them and they looked around for a place they could be as a family. They first went to UUCB, and, although it didn’t really work for John’s son, the two adults really liked it. They came to the Fellowship when they moved to Lafayette, and have been members since around 2006.
At the Fellowship, Lu and John taught RE while Alaric was in elementary school. And Lu co-facilitated the women’s Mindfulness Meditation group on Thursdays. She actively supports our social justice work, and participates in a covenant group, as well.
“Not only did I feel at home with Buddhism – body, mind, and spirit – but I also felt at home in the UU church. I felt welcomed, and the principles and intentions and actions of our faith reflect my values. I feel supported here.”
We are so glad to have Lu as a part of our Fellowship community.