"We African American Women seldom do just what we want to do, but always do what we have to do. I am grateful to have been in a time and place where I could be part of what was needed." - Dorothy Height
The world lost a civil rights icon today and I lost a fairy godmentor. Dorothy Height was the backbone of the civil rights movement and the only woman's voice that was included in the highest levels of leadership in the civil rights movement. She was an amazing organizer, mediator, and an unparalled fundraiser. It was under her leadership that the National Council of Negro Women purchased its new headquarters, the only Black owned building between the White House and the Capital.
Dorothy Height was my fairy godmentor because she took a seat at the table as a civil rights activist. She faced both racism and sexism but managed to achieve great things despite the many barriers that she faced. She was also was able to leverage her relationships with foundations and donors to bring financial resources to the movement.
She was a doer in the best sense of the word. Many of us get stuck in planning and thinking and never move to the action step. Even at 98 Ms. Height was still a doer, working for the next phase of the civil rights movement.
I've heard many people say today that she has left big shoes to fill. That implies that there will be one person that must fill her place. Instead I think that she has carried all of us halfway up a mountain and it is our collective duty to finish that journey.