Rosalind Wornum, a 35-year Dorchester resident, is running for elected office for the first time, saying she plans to “bring the community to City Hall.” A single parent to four daughters, she says her experience of nearly losing her home inspired her research into the support services accessible to her.
“Almost being homeless made me stretch my hands more into the community,” she said in an interview with the Reporter. “My past doesn’t define who I am today. Where I am going will define that.”
Wornum said her mother experienced homelessness, which made her see how homeless individuals are “not getting the attention that they should get. We’re busy building houses and developments and condos,” she said, “but the home situation crisis is growing.”
She wants to help equip people with the “right tools” to support themselves. “I want to feed the information because I didn’t get it. I had to go find it,” she said. “When somebody doesn’t have the knowledge or the know how, they don’t know what to do. They give up.”
Wornum said her community needs “empowerment connection. Certain areas have it, and the less fortunate don’t. We’re going to connect people where they need to be connected to.”
Her first act in office, she said, according to Wornum, would be to start working to transform abandoned buildings into housing for the homeless.
In her campaign literature, the candidate, who attended Mount Saint Vincent University in Canada before transferring to Northeastern University, says she will “ensure high quality equitable education, develop a plan to increase mental health and counseling services, and stabilize the housing crisis and home ownership” while also prioritizing the implementing of senior services in the community.
Rosalind Warnum is shown canvassing for votes in Dorchester last week. There is a vacant city council seat in District 3. Lindsay Shachnow photo.
A self-described community organizer and activist, Wornum is on the Boston Neighborhood Trauma Team, which seeks to support residents affected by violence. She is also the founder of Women on the Rise Inc., an organization that aims to guide women who have experienced trauma. “I guided them to help them get a better future, to help them with their trauma, help them with domestic violence,” she said.
Wornum said her personal experiences with mental health and gun violence enable her to best address these issues. “You can’t tell a person about being hungry if you’ve never been hungry,” she noted.
A longtime member of Mount Calvary Holy Church, Wornum said she has fought to make the building a historical landmark, preventing it from being torn down. “I’m a woman of faith,” she said. “I trust in God to get me where I need to be,” noting that she has held fashion shows for members of the community “to help build their self-esteem.”
Wornum founded RB and DB Modeling agency in 1985, which became New England City Chic Modelling in 2014. She said she was inspired to start the organization after being in a state of depression for several years. “You can enhance yourself,” she said. “Not that you have to, but a little makeup or hair or what have you doesn’t hurt.”
The candidate, right, laughed with friend and campaiugn volunteer Patricia Hayden as she canvassed for votes at Blend on Dorchester Avenue last week. Lindsay Shachnow photo.
On the topic of mental health, Wornum said she thinks it is important to have mental health facilities in the community and not just in hospitals.
As a councillor, Wornum said she would be a “voice for the people” and “let the people be the voice for themselves.” She added that she would have more community meetings and create more community spaces. “Our community needs change,” she said. “It needs change with a purpose.”