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Love Letter to the Women of Toledo by Lily Hickey


Dear Women of Toledo,

My name is Lily Hickey; I am a woman of Toledo but I have not always been. In 2003 I was adopted and brought to America when I was just 13 months old. I have called Toledo home ever since; the people here have truly grown to become my sense of family. Many people that graduate high school and go on to pursue college look forward to escaping their hometown; however, I have fallen in love with everything that Toledo is and is becoming.


I am a proud second-year student at the University of Toledo.


The Toledo community alone has allowed me to get involved with causes I am passionate about and gain a more well-rounded understanding of life. This has empowered me to pursue a more expansive higher education during my undergraduate years. Growing up I was a camper and then a camp counselor at Metroparks Toledo summer camps, now I am pursuing a minor in sustainability. Likewise, I grew up in a socio-economic diverse public school system that allowed me to see and learn about racial inequities, so now I am pursuing a minor in Africana studies to help fight the racial disparities in healthcare. In addition to the overall community, Women of Toledo specifically has provided me with endless opportunities to create local impact such as compiling a list of LGBTQ+ locally owned and allied women-owned businesses, helping with the Immigrant Heritage Month event, attending a HerHub social, updating resource lists, packing the Habitat for Humanity Women Build boxes, and helping with the Women’s Equality Day event.


My summer at Women of Toledo has shown me just how much women play a role in the vibrance of our community. This summer I worked with my first ever Asian female mentor: Nina Corder. Nina and Women of Toledo opened my eyes to how seamlessly women empowerment unites groups from all different backgrounds. Whether we were at the Achieve Career Preparatory Academy graduation ceremony or the Girls Hub graduation ceremony, it was undeniably evident how genuine the connections Nina and so many other women have made with the foundations being women empowerment.


During the Girls Hub graduation ceremony, the builders were allowed to share the meanings behind their chairs. One of the girls made a chair with names on it such as Rosa Parks, Amelia Earhart, and Harriet Tubman to highlight iconic women who have gone down in American history. If I were to replicate this chair, I would add the names of Mary Brucker, Nina Corder, Councilwoman McPherson, Carlena Johnson, Kathy Tucker, Jen Bak, Kaitlin Kaiser, Brenda Holsey, Danielle Lutman, Valerie Thompson, Trisha Jambor, and so many other exemplary women actively striving to cultivate a better Toledo. 100 years from now the majority of America may not know these names; however, I am sure the future Toledoans will feel their long-term impact.


Thank you again to the women of Toledo I have met and will eventually meet for allowing me and so many others to feel at home in the Glass City.


With much love,

Lily




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