MIAMI (CBS) – Florida’s first lady of equality electrified a crowd of luminaries turning out to honor this feminist pioneer.
“We all stand on the shoulders of Ms. Roxcy O’Neil Bolton. All of us in office, it is because of this amazing woman,” said Congresswoman Illeana Ross Letinhen.
Call her a rebel with a cause.
“Women are problem solvers and that is what Roxcy did. She said I am not going to sit back and do nothing, I am against to fix this!” Exclaimed former Florida CEO Alex Sink who spoke passionately about Bolton, a woman who has touched so many lives and opened so many doors. And she did it all and always without accepting a salary or a formal title in any of the organizations where passion helped create.
” She never took a penny. In fact, she gave of herself, left a hand financially to those in need. Few know that,” Coral Gables Commission Ralph Cabrara told Chief I-Team Investigator Michele Gillen.
From all corners of Florida, people connected Friday at Women’s Park, which Bolton founded to commenorate her life and living legacy. From afar there was barely a trace of the massive stroke she recently suffered. As she elegantly strided across the room, she carried a trusted notebook in which she now write, because the stroke stole her speech. But it did not rob her of her passion or determination. She is still fighting for others.
The live of Roxcy Bolton has affected generations of women but many don’t know that she found her voice as a young woman.
She began the walk as Red Cross volunteer and then found a path to help poor and disenfranchised women. She was one of the first to speak out and get help for rape victims. That voice lead to the creation of the nation’s first rape treatment center at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
Her efforts also lead to the formation of organizations like Women in Distress and Crime Watch.
Her greatest treasure remains her children. Her son Buddy remains so proud to share her. He says her generosity began when he was just a boy.
“This was a way of life in our household. People came and they needed help,” said Buddy Bolton. “Mom would never turn anyone away. She is such an inspiration to me.”