Renault appointed to Commission for Women
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 email@example.com of find her on Facebook (Anna Renault).
Anna Renault has been appointed to represent District Seven on the Baltimore County Commission for Women.