City of Lakewood announcement.
JoEthel Smith is a familiar figure in Lakewood. She lived in Lakewood for more than 50 years, she was a prolific organizer in her time. Over the years, she worked with local leaders to host multicultural events and community gatherings, and to mentor aspiring Black leaders.
Now 86, Smith lives just a stone’s throw away in neighboring University Place. She still insists that Lakewood is the only place she can truly call home.
On Monday, Feb. 7, the Lakewood City Council will issue a proclamation to celebrate February as Black History Month. We sat down with JoEthel for a conversation about her memories of dear friends and leaders that became important figures here in Lakewood.
“As I look over how important Black History Month is, I think in terms of what our children are getting in school. Even to know the people in the community who have been instrumental in bringing the City where it is today… I think that’s an approach we need to have.”
JoEthel recalled Dr. Claudia Thomas. former Mayor of Lakewood and Washington State’s first Black female mayor. She also remembered David Boyd, recent recipient of the Police Chief’s Citizen Commendation Award for 17 years of service on the Public Safety Citizen Advisory Committee.
Men and women like Dr. Thomas, Mr. Boyd, and Ms. Smith are vital Black figures that helped make Lakewood the place it is today.