I stepped into the Movement when I stepped into the streets on Aug. 28, 1963 to join the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. I then organized students at Mary Washington College in Virginia to join anti-racist activities and actions thru the YWCA. I worked at Atlanta SNCC headquarters in Summer, 1964 and staffed the Greenwood Miss. office during the August MFDP Atlantic City Challenge.
Back home in Virginia, we organized a statewide student conference at Hampton Institute and SNCC's Stanley Wise led us in forming Virginia Students Civil Rights Committee that worked in southside Virginia Black Belt counties building the movement. Stokely's speech to a community rally in Farmville was a highlight event. I worked in these rural communities for 2 years as VSCRC build locally led organizations and registered voters in six counties, and built a counyt-wide economic boycott to protest the tolerance of open Klan organizing, shootings, cross-burnings. We mobilized people to go to a southwide conference at Old Gammon in Georgia that included SNCC and SSOC people and to hear Dr. King speak at a Petersburg rally.
I was a campus traveler and staffer for Southern Student Organizing Committee in Virginia and Nashville 65-66, joined efforts to organize North Carolina textile workers, and later served on the SCEF Board. I actively participated in anti-war activities, workplace organizing, and joined the emerging women's lliberation movement of the mid to late sixties. I was a co-founder of Atlanta's "Great Speckled Bird" underground newspaper in 1967. I was privileged to cut cane in Cuba as part of the Venceremos Brigade in 1970. I continued community and workplace organizing throughout the seventies. I worked 17 years in a union shop - Nabisco - working for union democracy - before running for elected office after my two sons were born. I was executive director of the Fund for Southern Communities, funding social change work in Georgia and the Carolinas, from 1987-92.
I have been a State Representative in the Georgia House of Representatives since 1987, representing inner-city Atlanta neighborhoods. I worked for ten years for passage of Georgia Hate Crimes Act, and continue to work on health, civil rights,civil liberties, workplace and union rights, and women's issues. I am a founding executive committee member of the National Labor Caucus, a national network of union-friendly state legislators.
I am President of WiLL (Women Legislators Lobby), a national network of progressive women state legislators who stand against excessive military spending and work to redirect those federal dollars to the greatly underfunded human services and environmental protection needs.
WiLL is a program of WAND, Women's Actions for New Directions, a national women's group on whose staff I have served since 1997.
I serve on the boards of the Sapelo Foundation, the Center for Policy Alternatives, and other national, state and local community efforts.
I credit my lifelong activism and commitment to progressive social change to the profound influence of the Movement that re-educated this southern white girl and put my feet on the road toward freedom. I cherish the lessons I learned and continue to learn, and the comrades I have been privileged to fight alongside. My first husband was Gene Guerrero who was a SNCC summer volunteer in Mississippi, my second husband Charlie Orrock worked for both SCEF and SSOC. They are alive and well and will submit their own biographies. My two sons, 25 and 19, are staunch opposers of privilege for the few and are active in anti- racist, peace, and environmental causes.
La luta continua!