Re­nault ap­pointed to Com­mis­sion for Women

The Dundalk Eagle - - EDITORIAL - By NI­COLE ROD­MAN nrod­man@ches­pub.com Fol­low me on Twit­ter @NRod­man_Ea­gle

Ev­ery­one knows Anna Re­nault.

Av­enue News con­trib­u­tor, au­thor, speaker, com­mu­nity ac­tivist, can­cer sur­vivor — among many other ti­tles — Re­nault has been mak­ing her mark on the com­mu­nity for decades.

Now, even as she faces her ninth bout of can­cer, she is tak­ing on a new role as a mem­ber of the Bal­ti­more County Com­mis­sion for Women.

Es­tab­lished by the Bal­ti­more County Coun­cil in 1977, the com­mis­sion is made up of 21 mem­bers — 14 ap­pointed by the county ex­ec­u­tive and one ap­pointed by each County Coun­cil mem­ber. Com­mis­sion mem­bers serve three year terms.

The aim of the group, which meets once a month in Tow­son, is one of “ed­u­ca­tion and out­reach” ac­cord­ing to the com­mis­sion web­site.

Among the top­ics fo­cused on by mem­bers are hu­man traf­fick­ing, do­mes­tic vi­o­lence and women’s health. The com­mis­sion pro­motes ed­u­ca­tion on many top­ics in­clud­ing fi­nan­cial management, healthy re­la­tion­ships and leg­isla­tive is­sues that im­pact women.

The com­mis­sion also hon­ors no­table women in Bal­ti­more County with their Woman of the Year hon­ors.

Re­nault be­came in­ter­ested in the com­mis­sion last fall when she crossed paths with pres­i­dent Bella San­tos Owens at an event and learned that the Dis­trict Seven seat was va­cant.

In­trigued, she con­tacted Coun­cil­man’ Cran­dell’s of­fice. Sev­eral months later, in March, Re­nault re­ceived her of­fi­cial let­ter wel­com­ing her to the com­mis­sion.

Now an of­fi­cial mem­ber, Re­nault is div­ing right in. She has been talk­ing to res­i­dents across the dis­trict, let­ting peo­ple know that she is serv­ing and find­ing out what is­sues are im­por­tant to them.

“We cer­tainly have a prob­lem with hu­man traf­fick­ing,” Re­nault said. She also cited do­mes­tic vi­o­lence and health is­sues among the is­sues im­pact­ing the area.

Hu­man traf­fick­ing is, es­sen­tially, mod­ern-day slav­ery, in­volv­ing the trade of hu­mans for pur­poses in­clud­ing forced la­bor or sex­ual ex­ploita­tion.

A re­port con­ducted by the Com­mis­sion for Women con­cluded that hu­man traf­fick­ing does in­deed oc­cur in this state, and even within Bal­ti­more County.

The com­mis­sion works to mon­i­tor hu­man traf­fick­ing ac­tiv­ity in the county (with the goal of erad­i­cat­ing the prac­tice), and raises aware­ness of hu­man traf­fick­ing coun­ty­wide.

Re­nault has made it a mis­sion to make res­i­dents, es­pe­cially young women, aware of the prac­tice and the po­ten­tial risks.

She pointed to a friend whose daugh­ter was grabbed on her way to school in Es­sex. She may have been kid­napped if she had not fought back and es­caped.

Re­nault also warns young women to be wary of ad­ver­tise­ments or peo­ple promis­ing to make them a model or get them mod­el­ing or act­ing work. Such schemes can be fronts for hu­man traf­fick­ing rings.

Re­nault is hop­ing to sched­ule events on the topic at schools, li­braries and other venues across the dis­trict.

“These girls need to be aware,” she ex­plained. “They take so much for granted.”

In ad­di­tion to her work with the Com­mis­sion for Women, Re­nault is also a mem­ber of the Pa­tient Ad­vi­sory Board at Franklin Square Hos­pi­tal, serves on the Par­ish Coun­cil at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church and is a mem­ber of the Holly Neck Con­ser­va­tion As­so­ci­a­tion and the Back River Restora­tion Com­mit­tee.

She re­mains ac­tive in com­mu­nity causes, though she gets out less now due to her health.

Last year, she has a knee re­place­ment, gall­blad­der surgery and op­er­a­tions for a her­nia and on her spine.

Her cur­rent round of can­cer has metas­ta­sized and she was gravely ill from last Novem­ber through Fe­bruar y.

She was uncer­tain if she would make it home from the hos­pi­tal then, but she has since re­ceived a feed­ing tube and has been gain­ing strength and get­ting health­ier.

“I’m still up and out and do­ing,” she said, not­ing, “I’m bounc­ing back.”

Re­nault con­tin­ues to raise aware­ness, and of­ten funds, for wor­thy causes through her writ­ing. She writes ed­i­to­rial and health col­umns for The Av­enue News each week and is a pro­lific au­thor of 27 books, in­clud­ing an au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal se­ries, the Mitzy the But­ter­fly se­ries for chil­dren in grades 4 to 5, the Francine se­ries for younger read­ers, and sev­eral other se­ries and col­lec­tions for read­ers of all ages.

“I’m still do­ing. I’m still go­ing. It’s my voice and my writ­ing,” she said of her work.

“The Lord still has me here for some rea­son,” she con­cluded, adding, “Hope­fully I’m ful­fill­ing that rea­son.”

To con­tact Anna Re­nault, email re­naultan­nam@ya­hoo.com of find her on Face­book (Anna Re­nault).

COUR­TESY PHOTO//WWW.ANNARENAULT.COM

Anna Re­nault has been ap­pointed to rep­re­sent Dis­trict Seven on the Bal­ti­more County Com­mis­sion for Women.

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