Friday, February 21, 2014

In memory of Donna Blacksmith, graduate of Women's Empowerment

It is with heavy hearts that we share with you the passing of Donna Blacksmith, a determined, hard-working Native...

Appreciate Sister Lisa ~ I remember Donna from the time when she was at the Salvation Army Homeless Shelter. She was sweet and soft spoken, but spoke up for her rights. I am glad to know that she did so well and sad to learn of her passing. At least we learn better how to cope with life on life's terms along the way. Some of us are blessed to blossom in the season of blossoming in our lives. especially for our loved ones. Blessings for her children. ~Love, Peter
Venceremos! We Will Win! Educate to Liberate!
Peter S. Lopez aka @Peta_de_Aztlan
Sacramento, California


On Friday, February 21, 2014 4:00 PM, "Lisa Culp, Women's Empowerment" <> wrote:
In memory of Donna Blacksmith, graduate of Women's Empowerment

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Dear Peter,

It is with heavy hearts that we share with you the passing of Donna Blacksmith, a determined, hard-working Native American woman and mother, and a beloved graduate of Women's Empowerment.

We wished to share with you some of the words and memories of Erie Shockey, who had the privilege of working with Donna for over ten years as her social worker, here at Women's Empowerment.

"Throughout WE's eight weeks of classes, Donna was mainly quiet in class – but she began to make different choices, and slowly she shared with me her past, her hopes and her dreams.  Her boldest dream was to be a "good mom."  She wanted to explore what it meant to be a "good mom."

I was consistently struck by her patience in dealing with an infant daughter and a young, frisky lad with unpredictable behaviors and special needs. She learned to advocate for her children's needs. She learned to persevere on housing waiting lists. Donna learned to explore any and all resources that might benefit her children.

Donna learned to ask when she needed help. She learned the rules of the road and she passed the test for a Class B drivers license.  Donna was oh so proud when she learned to drive a bus and was hired by Paratransit.  And, most importantly to Donna, she learned to be a wonderful mother, who protected and nurtured and provided for her children as they grew through the years.

I admired Donna Blacksmith's strength, her perseverance, and the pride she maintained for her heritage.  I admired her resourcefulness and her ingenuity in putting the many pieces of her life together.  I admired Donna's values - to put her children first and to insist on the best education available to them.

And this year, as cancer ravaged her body, I admired the way in which she chose to die.  She struggled as the cancer was overcoming her;  but she did not let go until she was sure that her children would be safe and nurtured after she no longer walked this earth.  Donna left this world with the same dignity and grace with which she lived her life.  Donna was a proud, Native American woman and I will miss her and the way she touched my life.  May she rest in peace."

Donna Blacksmith was fifty-one. She leaves behind her two children, Rydell and Starla. Today, her name was inscribed on the memorial wall, at Loaves & Fishes, where her brother's name is also inscribed.

It was an honor for everyone here at Women's Empowerment--staff, volunteers, students and graduates--to know Donna, and to be inspired by her courageous spirit. She will be deeply missed. You may read her obituary, printed in the Sacramento Bee, by clicking here.

With gratitude,

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