Vi Hawkins

Light #25

Never let hatred and intolerance have the last word.

Age: 79
From: Milwaukee WI
Classification: Other Light-Maker

Vi grew up in a small town in Louisiana where signs designating “White” and “Colored” were boldly displayed on bathroom doors and in movie theaters. She remembers winters when she and her siblings sat around the fire, listening to her parents’ stories of how they overcame their struggles through faith, discipline, and the good old-fashioned common-sense they learned from elders. A community activist for over a half-century, Vi is a founder of Jazzy Jewels, a group of elders who inspire and delight their audiences with their joyous dancing to upbeat music.

“I could have grown up bitter, but I saw how my parents met denigrating hatred and intolerance with pride and dignity. They didn’t let it poison them. They showed me that hatred is no match for compassion, love and understanding. Now it’s my turn to pass on values to young people starting their own life journeys. I teach them to be kind to the people they meet on the way up because they may meet them again on the way down. My hard-earned values are what make me, ‘me’ “.

Dedication: Sam Jordan