Women Warders

By Frances Akridge, City Council Representative District 2

Protector, Guardian, Warder. When I watch a movie like “The Black Panther” or “Wonder Woman,” I’m inspired by the women who protect others. I think of my job as a Council representative as also being these things for my neighbors in my own way, wielding no weapon, wearing no badge, but sworn nonetheless to uphold the Constitution and look out for my neighbors as a legislative representative and a voice vis a vis the Administration.

I come by this protective spirit honestly; in the last decade, when my sister was terminally ill, I was her personal samurai, sleeping on the floor or curled up in a chair next to her. To be sure nothing happened to her while in a rehabilitation center and doing my part to ensure her comfort. Also, at an even younger age, as I recall, and we all have selective memories, anybody who dared to pick on my brothers when we were walking home from school had to go through me; I could double-dog dare anyone to try. (I learned later that my helping hurt).

As a Council representative, I accept the responsibility to stand guard over use of our money for wise investments and do my best to anticipate future threats to our security, be it financial, physical, and spiritual well being as a community. Fortunately, there are professional women who stand guard at the financial and constructed “gates” of the city, namely Penny Smith, our CFO and Kathy Martin, our City Engineer. There are also professional women serving as first responders who are trained to anticipate threats to our spiritual and physical well being. They are the women who are made of the right stuff, heroines wearing a badge, sworn to uphold the Constitution and protect and serve the common good. Sergeant Yuliya Zaremba is a remarkable woman who comes to mind; she serves in the Special Investigation Division with the responsibility of leading a team to find the perpetrators of domestic violence which includes physical, emotional, and sexual abuse and destruction of property and/or pets.

I met Sergeant Zaremba during a community event hosted by Crisis Services of North Alabama (256-716-1000). The gathering was designed to encourage everyone to stand up to domestic violence by learning about the signs and finding the courage to call for help. Sergeant Zaremba was proudly described by Deputy Chief Charles Brooks as “one of our best.” She approached the microphone with the quiet assurance of a woman who knows the depth of her gentle but firm words and the critical nature of her work. She spoke to women in the audience with assurance that together, they would recover and then thrive. I invite you to get to know more of the women of HPD within the pages of South Huntsville Neighbors and through the meetings of the Huntsville Citizens Advisory Council. For more information about women as guardians, simply call me 256-427-5017 please.

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