Where were you born and raised?
Kansas City, MO
What is your occupation?
Founder and Program Director of KC Mothers in Charge
What is your favorite childhood memory?
My favorite childhood memory: being raised by my mother, who was a single Black mother and took the time to raise me well. I was the oldest of seven, and all my siblings were close.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
Black History Month allows our culture to shine. During this time, we showcase for the world how creative, intelligent and resilient we are. And it's my hope that people recognize this beyond February.
What do you believe is the most important issue currently facing the Black community?
We need to come together as one to stop the violence in our community. The solution to this problem begins with US.
When did you realize you were Black in America and what has that meant for your life?
I was born in 1964, in the midst of the civil rights movement in America. Children pick up a lot, even if they don't fully understand all the details. As a young black child, I felt the trauma of racism, though I didn't understand it. And I know it is learned and taught behavior.
Who or what is your biggest inspiration to push for change?
Michelle Obama inspires me. She's a strong Black woman who stood with a strong Black man and is still standing and progressing. The loss of my son to homicide was - and is - the biggest factor in my push for change in Kansas City. My hope is to prevent anyone else from experiencing what I (and too many others) have experienced through the pain and tragedy of homicide.
How have you supported or contributed to the local Black community?
Every time there is a homicide in our community, I am called out by KCPD to stand in the gap for families--for a mother, a father, for families that have been victimized by homicide. The organization that I founded also provides counseling, education and is a voice in the prevention of violence in our community.