Editor: In honor of Black History Month, I want to celebrate and share my happiness. After all, where I live has been dubbed “The Happiest County” in the U.S. Here, in what used to be called the “Exurbs” of Loudoun County, we have a new day:
- The first two African-Americans to ever be elected to the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors in its 250-year history;
- The first African-American representative to be appointed to the first ever Diversity Commission under the Town of Leesburg;
- The first black woman to found a church in Loudoun and organize the honoring of the slaves that worked on the land it will stand on; and
- A current leader who was the first African-American school board member, and remains the only one to this day.
A special congratulations to Phyllis Randall, the new chair of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, Adrianne Bray, vice chair of the Leesburg Diversity Commission, Pastor Michelle Thomas of Holy and Whole Life Changing Ministries, and Wendall Fisher, outreach director for the Loudoun County Public Schools. You are all an inspiration.
I’m proud to be in great company—grateful to be working alongside six other talented members of the Diversity Commission, including Adrianne Bray, and fortunate to call Wendall Fisher a long-time colleague/friend. I’m excited to get to know Phyllis Randall and Pastor Michelle Thomas more, and looking forward to meeting Koran Saines, the new Sterling District representative of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors. I would like to also recognize the tireless efforts of NAACP Loudoun Chapter President Phillip Thompson, our fearless leaders (in the spotlight and working behind the scenes), and all those honored and mentioned in the Black History month resolution at the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors meeting on Feb. 2.
We need another special “shout out” to the people who reside in this place, such as those who have had the courage to seek a “better life” here without knowing their future. Let us also remember those who stand up/stood up for, and others who support the ever-changing landscape of Loudoun County—a pillar of growth, hope, and innovation.
As a native Californian, having been raised bi-culturally and bi-lingually, it’s hard to believe that I used to call this place “Hickville,” when I first moved here 15 and a half years ago. Today, with my husband, two kids later, and my new-found family, it’s a place I can call “Home” and find happiness.
We are all united in this human race. We have but one life to live, and I implore you, as Gandhi so eloquently said, “Be the change you wish to see in the World.” And, don’t forget each and every day to be awesome—as you can clearly see, my friends and colleagues are, Leesburg and Loudoun County is doing it, and you can, too.
Yvette Castro-Green, Leesburg
Diversity Commission Member, Town of Leesburg
Former Executive Director, La Voz of Loudoun