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Meet Reverend Dr. Norma Heath of Union Capital Boston in Jamaica Plain

Today we’d like to introduce you to Reverend Dr. Norma Heath.

Reverend Dr, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
When I was homeless, I had to find something to do to stay busy and off the streets. I started volunteering at Rosie’s Place, Bay Cove and helping other homeless women with their errands and business meetings. At night, I attended Harvard University as a psychology student. One of the ladies at Rosie’s was a member of UCB and she told me that they will reward me for the things I was already doing. I said, “Sign me up”!

I became a member of UCB and started networking with other members. At Network nights we applaud each other for the new and good things in our lives. I always wanted to be a part of something. As a little girl I was not accepted by the black children nor the white children. I was Afro Latina and the children, back then, did not know what to make of me, so they called me an African Bush Boogie and told me to get back on the banana boat. It was a sport for the whole school to chase me home and beat me up.

All my life, I would join groups to “belong”. It was not until I became a Network Leader at UCB that I finally arrived. I am a part of a powerful social network. UCB is teaching me how to be a community organizer and what power really is. I love what I am doing, the world needs it and I get paid for it. Because of UCB, I am successful!!! My mission is to help others find success as well.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Because I am new to community organizing, I still have lots to learn. When I share UCB with my constituents they say it’s too good to be true and think it’s a scam. I agree, it is too good to be true, but it is true! My peers are the underrepresented population in Boston. Homeless, incarcerated, addicted, mentally ill. My peers are sensitive and do not trust anyone easily. I am happy I am here to give them a voice.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Learn as much as I can about community organizing during my 2-year Fellowship at UCB.

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