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Lieutenant Governor-Elect fulfills promise to a Waynesboro nonprofit

Published: Dec. 18, 2021 at 8:18 PM EST
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WAYNESBORO, Va. (WVIR) -A recently elected official made her way to the valley on Saturday, but it wasn’t her first visit.

Lieutenant Governor-Elect Winsome Sears is the first woman of color to be elected statewide. While she is just weeks away from taking on her new role, she’s still working as a mentor to the RISE Foundation in Waynesboro.

“I believe that if they see me and they say, ‘wait a minute, Winsome is there, Winsome is the Lieutenant Governor and she said, all she did was stay in school and study, then I can do that too. I can stay in school and I can study,’” Sears said.

RISE is a social justice organization in Waynesboro that works to give hope to the Black community. For Sears, she says it’s a cause that hits close to home.

“RISE really helps those on the lower income strata, and so I know this income strata, because I was in it. My father was in it when he came from Jamaica with nothing,” Sears said. “The only thing that lifted him out of poverty was education.”

Those at RISE say Sears has become a role model to their young scholars and she helps inspire their lives.

“It’s doing the thing that we started RISE to do, which was to build a hope, to restore hope back into the community, and to give voice,” co-founder and CEO of RISE, Sharon Fitz said. “Her being here does both of those things.”

Sears has been fostering this relationship with the organization for a while, and during her last visit, she promised she would return when elected.

“She followed through and she kept her word and that means everything,” Fitz said.

In just a few weeks Sears will take office. She says her first duty will involve education. She also wants to make sure Black students are equally represented in the curriculum.

“We have a secretary of education who’s going to be about that,” Sears said. “I think it’s already happening. People know what the children need.”

Sears says when she becomes Lieutenant Governor, she will be out in the community, helping citizens and students. She will take office in January.

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