02/25/2018 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm Bortin Hall
Meet Betty Reid Soskin and hear her read from her just-released book
Sign My Name to Freedom A Memoir of a Pioneering Life
Betty Reid Soskin has been a home-front war-years worker, a singer-songwriter and performer, a writer, a legislative aide, a National Parks ranger, a national icon, and an honest and tireless fighter, both against discrimination of all forms and for the growth and triumph of the human spirit and values that would benefit us all. In her blog, CBreaux Speaks at cbreaux.blogspot.com, she writes, “Life has never been richer, nor more abundantly lyrical,” and “I’ve grown into someone I’d like to know—were I not me already!”
The child of proud Louisiana Creole parents who refused to bow down to Southern discrimination, she was raised in the Bay Area Black community before the great westward migration of World War II. After working in the civilian home-front effort in the war years, she and her husband, Mel Reid, helped break down racial boundaries by moving into Walnut Creek, a previously all-white and initially unwelcoming community. There she raised four children—one openly gay, one developmentally disabled—while resisting the prejudices against the family that existed among many of her neighbors.
Betty found a welcoming community at the Mt Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church, receiving great support from the minister then, Rev. Aron Gilmartin, and church member David Bortin. She performed her own compositions at church events singing and playing guitar.
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