Where were you born and raised?
Burlington, North Carolina, but moved around because of my parents being in the Army. I've lived in Kansas City, Missouri, since 1985. My father was from Sedalia, Missouri.
What is your occupation?
Director of community connections and missions at St. James United Methodist Church in Kansas City, Missouri.
What is your favorite childhood memory?
Being a military child traveling with my family all over Europe.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
It means an opportunity to reflection on the AWESOME and AMAZING contributions given to society. We can acknowledge the trailblazers and leaders who exemplify their gifts and talents given by God. We celebrate God's precious uniqueness in creating bold and courageous people.
What do you believe is the most important issue currently facing the Black community?
Economic security, financial security and educational equity for children of color.
When did you realize you were Black in America and what has that meant for your life?
When I returned from Mannheim, Germany, and encountered the school system. We looked and sounded different and they want to put us back a grade level. I thank God for a bold mother who would not let that happen.
Who or what is your biggest inspiration to push for change?
My parents Ret. CW4 David and Swannie Richards who instilled in us the pride of being Black and intelligent. They were examples of being the first in their careers and being willing to speak up for what is wrong. Be at the table where the changes are being made. Our family mottos: "No hill for a stepper," and "When it gets to hard for them, it is just right for us." The most important lesson was to follow God.
How have you supported or contributed to the local Black community?
A proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Mu Omega Chapter. Supporting community service activities. Recruiting students interested in HBCU; especially for North Carolina A&T State University....proud graduate, class of 1985. Aggie PRIDE!
- Co-coordinator of the National Black Methodists for Church Renewal Meeting from March 3 to March 9, 2020. I showcased our 18th and Vine District with a performance from American Jazz and NLBM. Ordered food from Gates Bar-B-Q and used a Black caterer.
- Keeping the key issues at the forefront of my ministry work.
- Submitted a grant for COVID-19 students and families educational program.
- Educational partnership with MLK Jr. Elementary, Paseo Performing Arts School, Providence School of Arts and De La Salle Educational Center.
- Providing back to school supplies, healthy food, cleaning supplies, and personal hygiene items for 1,200 students and 300 teachers and staff. 80+ percent of which are Black students.
- Coordinated a partnership with Truman Medical Center for drive-through COVID-19 testing, a drive-through flu clinic, and two days of vaccine distribution at St. James UMC, which has a 98 percent Black congregation.
- Organized a breast cancer awareness event and free mammograms with a mobile bus.
- Organize weekly educational information regarding COVID-19.
- Support Black business: my personal trainer, hair stylist and doctors are Black, just to name a few.