It is admirable to commit to helping and serving others. Service is a high calling but taking on the additional responsibility of leadership is a sacrifice that often comes with few accolades. Women have always been at the forefront of serving others whether in our families, in our church, on our jobs, or in our communities. A servant’s heart is especially true for African American women who often remain in the background while being the rock that helps our brothers achieve. Today, many African American women are stepping out of the background and pursuing leadership roles in politics. Some would say it’s about time, while others still believe that servant leadership is best handled by men. I don’t intend to debate the merits of either argument here, but I do think that a picture is worth a thousand words.
In this edition, we’re painting that picture by highlighting four South Carolina women who are servant leaders at the helm of their cities as mayor. Their stories will inspire and encourage you. Each of them faced obstacles as they made their ascent into the political realm, but they were committed to not only serve but to lead. Mayors Alfred Mae Drakeford (page 8), Barbara Blain-Bellamy (page10), Julia Nelson (page 14) and Teresa Myers Ervin (page 16), thank you for your courage. Thank you for stepping out of the shadows and showing other women by your example that they too can lead. And these courageous women are joined by other African American women who lead their towns as mayor (page 25).
It takes a servant’s heart to be a good leader and anyone who knew the late Vince Ford knew that he was not only a dynamic leader but that he truly had a servant’s heart. I had the pleasure of serving with him on the Richland One School Board for four years. His decades of service on the board, in communities in the Midlands and across the state will be sorely missed. He helped many, many people just because he could, never seeking anything in return. SC is better for his service. A powerful rendition of “May the Work I’ve Done Speak for Me” was sung at his homegoing service and it was a reminder to us all that it is our work as servants that is our lasting legacy.
Have a Blessed and Safe Holiday Season,