Activist turned politician: Legislator Williams paved way for women of color

Colleagues say Williams follows the leadership style of former President Teddy Roosevelt: Speak softly and carry a big stick.

News 12 Staff

Feb 4, 2020, 10:23 PM

Updated 1,592 days ago

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In celebration of Black History Month, News 12 sat down with Westchester County Legislator Alfreda Williams, the vice chairman of the County Board of Legislators and a trailblazer who sought to pave the way for other women and people of color in politics.
Colleagues say Williams follows the leadership style of former President Teddy Roosevelt: Speak softly and carry a big stick.
“I just want to make sure I'm doing as much as I can at this particular point,” she told News 12. “When I feel that I can't do as much, I’ll stop.”
Williams began her career as an activist in the 1970s with the NAACP, the Westchester Black Women's Political Caucus and other local Democratic groups.
She says that was a time when local government was all white. When she entered the political arena, she became the first black women to be clerk in the Town of Greenburgh.
“I found that being a town clerk, I could be helpful to people and help them negotiate the system and negotiate Town Hall and I loved doing it,” says Williams.
In the 2000s, Williams succeeded her mentor, Lois Bronz – the first black woman on the County Board of Legislators.
Her guiding principle then remains today – fighting for rights of the underserved and inspiring young people.
“When you find your niche – find something you can succeed at. You do the best you can for as long as you can,” she says.


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