"My maiden name is Reid, and Fergie is my cousin, we share a great grand father. The Reid families in Virginia have been community activist for "our community" for generations. I was 8 when I learned that Grandmother Reid was working with other women in her church to persuade the Mayor of Portsmouth to advocate and budget for a Negro library in her town. At the same time in Newport News, Mama Lula took care of the sick in her community with soup, visits and affection. She collected, washed and ironed clothing for those without adequate clothes for school or work.My sister Edna and I rode in her little car to make deliveries.
The Negro Library in Portsmouth was dedicated just before I went off to a Fisk and my grandmother Lula continued in her role as friend to her community until illness made it impossible.
I stuffed envelopes and delivered flyers to support political candidates and initiatives. It was at in union halls and in church basements where I learned that my people were not free.
Advocacy , community service and political activism have been integral in my personal and professional life.
Strange, invisible and stinging cuts around ones mouth are no longer the badge of children lucky enough to be raised in families where there exists a belief that wrongs are cured by personal initiative and urging other to think,act and care. But e-mail,Face Book,Twitter and other forms of social media make more creative calls to to action for the concerned, dedicated and caring. The VOTE is our most mighty tool. Please use it, in memory of those who were denied the vote."
Hazel Reid O'Leary