In March, we celebrate Women’s History Month, and I for one am very grateful to all the women in my life who helped make me who I am today.
My mother was a very strict, determined woman, raising four children by herself in a time when there was no social-service help for single mothers.
Coming from the state of New York to Tampa was a true awakening for her, since we came to Florida when segregation was still in full force.
At 7 years old, I remember one day getting on a bust and sitting on the front seat. Soon, a young, very pregnant African-American woman came on board with a small child. My mother told my brother to move and let the woman sit. She looked very surprised at my mother’s action, but sat down. The driver then stopped the bus and yelled at the woman that she couldn’t sit there and to move to the back.
My mother got up and yelled back at the driver, telling him that the woman would sit in her seat and that unless he owned the bus, he had no right to tell her to sit in the back.
The bus driver was kind of taken aback since my Mother was all of five feet tall and weighing less than 100 pounds. The woman quietly moved to the back. She apologized to my mother and told her not to worry, that she was OK.
Needless to say, my mother had no idea coming from New York that African Americans were not allowed to sit in the front of the bus. After another passenger explained the segregation laws to my mother, she had some choice words for the driver and we all got off the bus.
My mother raised us to respect our fellow human beings. To this day, that moment on the bus is fresh in my mind. It reminds me that we all can make a difference in this world if we want. My mother did a great job: My brother is a doctor, my sister a teacher, and, well, here I am in the same field for the last 35 years. I also served as a Hialeah councilwoman during the 1990s.
Many women in our community make a difference every day: law enforcement officers, teachers, elected officials, nurses and doctors, and those who offer everyday services to our community.
Don’t forget to say thank you to that someone special who made a difference in your life.
Carmen Caldwell is executive director of Citizens’ Crime Watch of Miami-Dade. Send feedback and news for this column to email@example.com, or call her at 305-470-1670.