Written by Teresa Goodnight
Mary Williams isn’t consciously building a legacy, as much as she is living as a modern-day creator of change. She’s been paving the way for racial integration for as long as she can remember, holding positions across Tulsa enabling her to focus on her mission. She’s a woman of been doing it so long that it’s just the essence of her beautiful character. She has a way of making you feel so incredibly special—even when you are trying to focus on the amazing life she lives.
Like many women with those special gifts, she somehow makes you feel as if you have known her all of your life. You just want to share things with her. Our conversation travelled all over the place. She laughed that we had to be careful whenever we talked, as a few minutes could turn into a few hours. I felt special that it might be just with me, but I knew Mary had that effervescent presence with everyone she met.
With her B.A. Degree from Oral Roberts University, Mary is a board member of Greenwood Chamber of Commerce helping to bridge gaps within our city. Mary has been the first, or only African American in positions around the city. She was the first African American to serve as Vice President of the Tulsa Chapter of the Association of Desk & Derrick Clubs, where they promote education around the oil industry. Mary is also a motivated women’s leader, mentor, speaker, writer and more.
Mary has played the role of a successful political campaign adviser, while also implementing the first monthly political community forums for a diverse candidate in North Tulsa. Mary also is the Director for the citywide “Juneteenth on Historic Greenwood,” an event focused on sharing “heritage, history and hope.” We could list event after event, organization after organization where Mary has been leading the way for diversification and change.
Her overall mission is to help others find their purpose and reach their God-given destiny through her Color Me True Workshops she now puts on around the city. These sessions focus on personal and professional growth of the attendees. It’s really an empowerment program fostering identity of purpose and multicultural awareness.
Mary said, “The Color Me True Workshop Program is designed to fit a wide variety of audiences. It provides steps for participants to find their purpose, build self-esteem and take possession of the path God has for them.” Mary continued, “Color Me True workshops have a proven successful track record after years of programming on the high school and collegiate levels, professional and doctoral levels, as well as special workshops for middle school and upper elementary school ages.”
Mary’s next project is dear to her heart. She’s working with Dr. Libby Adjei, the superintendent of Langston Hughes Academy for Arts and Technology. It’s a charter school in North Tulsa threatened with losing its battle to remain open. Mary is working with Dr. Adjei trying to save the school by offering a program about building self-esteem, establishing a cotillion for the students. She wants to teach men how to treat women, how to treat other men, and how to treat themselves. She wants to do the same for women. Mary said, “If we can learn to treat each other with respect and to respect ourselves, we can accomplish so many things we need in life.”
Mary is a licensed minister and noted as a community servant who believes in the power of prayer. Prayer walking in the community is one of her favorite activities. She simply walks and prays on whatever God brings to mind. Sometimes she starts the walk with things on her heart, others she prays for people and places she sees along the journey. This amazing focus on time with the Lord is part of what creates such a peaceful spirit in her. She just exudes love all over the place. You just want to be around her and catch some of that love she’s throwing around so freely. I have to think that’s a bit of a picture of what being around Jesus was like—and isn’t He our role model for daily living? Mary is simply right on track following in the footsteps of her savior.
Mary said, “When I leave this life, I hope what is left behind me — the work that I’ve given, the work I’ve served — has helped improve someone else’s life.” Mary continued, “It’s a spiritual thing. I get a sense of filling a spiritual part of me, a most important part of me when I help people find their God-given destiny.” I don’t think she has to leave anywhere to know she improved someone’s life. Like most she encounters, mine was improved just in the small time I spent with her.
Senior Moments, sponsored by Visiting Angels
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