County supervisors proclaimed March Women’s History Month in Loudoun with a ceremonial resolution March 16, as well as letters of recognition for several woman leaders in Leesburg.
The proclamation, passed unanimously, points out several women who have made their mark in Loudoun history, such as abolitionist and educator Margaret Mercer; Marie Moton Medley-Howard, who was instrumental in establishing Leesburg’s first Black high school and was the first president of the Loudoun NAACP; Vinton Liddell Pickens, an artist and chairwoman of Loudoun County’s first planning commission; and longtime educator and advocate Rosa Lee Carter, for whom Rosa Lee Carter Elementary School in Ashburn is named.
The board also presented letters of recognition to six women in Leesburg, including Mayor Kelly Burk; Leesburg Police Department Deputy Chief Major Vanessa Grigsby, the first woman to ever reach the rank of major in the town police department or to serve as deputy chief; Paula Callaghan, Community Outreach Coordinator for Loudoun Free Clinic and Community Educator at INMED Partnerships for Children; Loudoun County Volunteer Rescue Squad Assistant Chief and immediate past chief Tami Bredow, who is also a member of charitable fundraising group 100WomenStrong; Tammy Carter, who works at Tuscarora High School and chairs the I Have a Dream Committee that organizes the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day march in Leesburg; and Gladys Burke, former Loudoun Education Foundation president and first vice president of the Loudoun NAACP, and founder and owner of ADJ Enterprises, which Supervisor Kristen C. Umstattd (D-Leesburg)said may be the longest-lasting Black woman-owned business in Leesburg.
Supervisors also celebrated their own members. The Women’s History Month resolution also recognizes the women who served or serve on the Board of Supervisors, and several of those were in the boardroom to accept copies of the resolution, including former supervisors Janet Clarke and Kelly Burk, now the Mayor of Leesburg; Dale Polen Myers, the first woman elected to serve as county chair at-large; and current Chair Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large), Umstattd and Supervisors Juli E. Briskman (D-Algonkian) and Sylvia R. Glass (D-Broad Run).
“One of the things I believe in very strongly about women is, we tend to really do it for the right reasons,” Myers said. “We’re mothers, we’re nurturers, we care about our community, we care about our children, and our theme has always been, I want it better for my kids than I had it. I think when you start with that, it doesn’t matter what your party affiliation is, your heart’s in the right place, so your leadership ends up following it.”