3 Columbia women get service awards

Neighbors

December 16, 1998|By Heather Tepe | Heather Tepe,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

THE HOWARD County Center of African American Culture awarded medals of honor to three Columbia women for their service to the community at a ceremony Dec. 6.

Harper's Choice resident Natalie Woodson was recognized for her efforts to improve education for African-Americans.

Woodson, a retired Baltimore school principal, is chairwoman of the Howard County National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's education committee and serves on the social studies advisory committee for Howard County schools.

She is founder of Educational Advancement for African Americans, a Columbia group that tutors high school students who are in danger of not graduating.

Ruteena Blake of Wilde Lake has a long history of service to young and old in the county.

Blake organized events for needy children, founded a Young People's Travel Club and produced children's plays at Howard Community College's Smith Theatre.

Blake also runs four assisted-living facilities for senior citizens in Howard County.

Beulah Meacham Buckner, an Oakland Mills resident, teaches people how to research their heritage through genealogy.

"Meach" -- as she is affectionately known -- is working with the Maryland chapter of the American American Historical and Genealogy Society to raise funds to restore the Ellicott City Colored School, built in 1882.

The school building eventually will house a Howard County Black History and Genealogy Center.

The Howard County Center of African American Culture was founded in 1987 by Wylene Burch of Wilde Lake.

The center, at 5434 Vantage Point Road in Columbia, is dedicated to the collection, preservation and interpretation of African-American culture.

Christmas in April

Christmas in April*Howard County is accepting applications from homeowners needing assistance with home repair and maintenance projects.

The national volunteer organization rehabilitates houses of elderly, disabled or low-income homeowners at no cost to the owner.

Carolyn Harlowe of Long Reach village is director of the group's local chapter.

Harlowe said she became involved with the program as a way to give back to communities that have supported her in her career as a county real estate broker.

Harlowe said that since 1992, the organization has rehabilitated 235 homes in Howard County.

Projects include painting the interior or exterior of a home, putting on a new roof, providing handicap access, or putting in a new kitchen or bathroom.

On National Rebuilding Day in April, Harlowe hopes the group will rehabilitate 35 homes. She expects more than 800 volunteers -- those skilled in plumbing, electrical work or carpentry, and unskilled laborers -- to give their time.

Applications or to volunteer: 410-381-3338.

Human rights activist

For most of us, involvement with a political issue or social cause ++ begins and ends with attending a PTA meeting or signing a petition.

But for Hickory Ridge resident Jackson Day, social action is a lifelong endeavor.

Day served as an Army chaplain in Vietnam in 1968 and 1969. "Ever since I came back from Vietnam," he said, "I've had questions about U.S. foreign policy."

On Nov. 22, Day joined more than 7,000 protesters in Columbus, Ga., for a demonstration against the Army's School of the Americas -- a military training center at Fort Benning, Ga. The event was sponsored by School of the Americas Watch, led by the Rev. Roy Bourgeois.

In 1992, it was discovered that Latin American military officers were being instructed in torture and human rights abuses at the school.

The gathering at the protest was larger than at eight previous demonstrations -- held annually to commemorate the killings of six Jesuit priests by a Salvadoran army unit and other atrocities committed by graduates.

Nineteen of 26 Salvadoran soldiers involved in the 1989 incident were trained at the school. The watch estimates that the victims of the school's trainees number in the thousands.

Day was one of more than 2,300 protesters who risked arrest by "crossing the line" into Fort Benning. The white line, newly painted, marked the boundary between Fort Benning property and Columbus.

"The issue for me was not about breaking the law, or risking arrest," Day wrote in a narrative describing his experience. "It was about whether I would stand with those who had been killed or turn my back on them."

Day said he and the demonstrators who crossed the line were intercepted by police and put on buses. After leaving the post, they were released in a park without being charged.

Day, a health care administrator, is a volunteer clergy member at Christ United Methodist Church at Owen Brown Interfaith Center.

Human rights event

On Thursday at Florence Bain Senior Center, the Howard County Human Rights Commission -- in cooperation with Amnesty International Chapter 228 and the Howard County Friends of Latin America and the Caribbean -- sponsored a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the United Nations' signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

More than 125 people attended.

Edible art

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