Mom, my shero
By Ananda Leeke, Guest Writer
(In honor of Women’s History Month)
Musician. Feminist. Sorority Leader. Educator. Traveler. A former paper girl with a newspaper route and dreams of working as a radio DJ in Indianapolis, Indiana. These are just a few words that describe my mother, Theresa B. Leeke. She is my Women’s History Month shero because of her passion for information, media, and technology. She decorated the landscape of my childhood. It started with her listening to an early morning radio show, WTOP-AM. The show provided updates on local news, politics, traffic, weather, and school closings. My mother was in the know 24/7/365.
Her passion embraced the headlines of the Washington Post newspaper and the evening news on television. It also greeted me each week when JET Magazine, the Indianapolis Recorder newspaper, and the Catholic Standard newspaper arrived in the mailbox. Each month her favorite magazines, Ebony, Essence, and Ms. appeared on my family’s kitchen table. Because of her voracious media appetite, my brain inhaled it all!
When I turned 13, I developed a healthy appetite for lipstick, fashion, entertainment, and women’s issues as a result of reading my mother’s Essence and Ms. magazines. I also discovered my own favorites– Mademoiselle, Glamour, Right On!, and Vogue. All of the articles I read inspired me to expand my wardrobe while I was a seventh grader. I begged my parents for money to purchase outfits, shoes, and accessories. But my mother told me I would have to make do with what my parents already purchased unless I found a job. She suggested I become a paper girl like she was when she was a girl. This would allow me to earn my own money and spend it the way I liked. The power of being able to earn and spend my own money was exciting. So I took the leap into the paper girl world.
Nowadays, my mother’s passion for information, media, and technology is still going strong. Her favorite news sources have expanded to include CNN and MSNBC; the Washington Post, Washington Afro-American, Washington Informer, Prince George’s Journal, Catholic Standard, and Indianapolis Recorder newspapers; and WHUR-FM and WTOP-AM radio stations. Her magazine collection includes Prevention, Real Simple, and The Oprah Magazine.
She has one laptop for her music and work as the director of liturgical music and gospel choir director for her Catholic church. Her second laptop is used to access the Internet, email, online banking, Amazon.com, and her work with Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. and the Phyllis Wheatley YWCA. YouTube is one of her favorite places to visit online. She enjoys watching videos featuring gospel music singers and musicians. They help her prepare and select music for her church’s weekly Masses and concerts. Facebook is her online community du jour. She uses it to stay in touch with family, friends, former students, sorority members, and colleagues. Her Facebook status updates give voice to her spiritual inspirations, feminist perspective, support of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, and sense of humor.
(Based on an excerpt from Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online.
Ananda Leeke is CEO of Ananda Leeke Media l Author l Artist l Creativity Coach l Yoga Teacher Go to: www.anandaleeke.com.)