I Am Rosemary McCann
Welcome and hello again! Today I am super excited to be sharing a very special lady with you all, Rosemary McCann. Rose was nominated by her daughter Melissa & her friend Elaine. They nominated her for being a determined and loving woman her whole life. I myself have been lucky enough to also know Rose my whole life and have been graced with her humor, care and encouragement.
Rose grew up in Newark, New Jersey and graduated from what was then, South Side High School but is now named Malcolm X Shabazz High School. Rose enjoyed school and had ambitions of becoming a teacher. While in high school, a school counselor encouraged her to continue her education right after graduating because she was a very good student and since she came from a very low income family, chances were she would be awarded scholarships so that she could afford college. Rose went on explaining to me that when she went to tell her mother about the possible opportunities, her mother discouraged her and told her not to take the “charity.” Her mother told her to go to school the next day and request to take all business classes, so when she graduated she could start working because she would not be going to college. She would continue on to eventually put herself through college in her adulthood, while raising 3 young girls on her own and maintaining 2 jobs.
The reason I start Rose’s story here is because this snippet of her life really sets the tone for the kind of woman she is today and has always been; hard working. It took her 10 years to graduate, taking a few classes at a time but she never gave up. I don’t know about you, but this is the kind of woman I aspire to be. There will always be a reason to put off going after your dreams, your will to succeed must be greater. It’s easy to assume the biggest take away from this story is that Rose’s mother was in the wrong for discouraging her and it was an act of rebellion to go on to pursue college later on. However, Rose explained to me that she could never fault her mom for her discouragement because she understood that her mother was only looking out for her the best way she knew how; encouraging her to work & make a living for herself. The real message here is to never give up on your dreams, no matter how far away they may seem.
Rose has worked since she was 13 years old, so she has seen decades of change when it comes to women’s equality in the workplace. Over the various years she has experienced amazing bosses and employers who barely appreciated the work she did. It wasn't until she began to work at her current job where there was a woman in charge. It just so happens that there are 3 women in charge. Rose explained how amazing it has been to be able to witness society morph into a place where women have the opportunities to run a company. Ladies, it wasn’t that long ago when there were very limited opportunities for women. Don’t take for granted how far we have come, there is still a fight but we’ve made huge strides!
Being 1 of 6 siblings, Rose and I spoke about the trials and tribulations of sisterhood. She explained the importance of sticking through it with family, despite your differences because they will always be the people that have your back. In her experience friends will come and go but your siblings will always be there for you. It’s no wonder she’s raised three amazing women, right?
As I mentioned a few times now, Rose has 3 daughters, whom she raised on her own. It is common to hear that young girls and their mothers tend to bump heads often, so I asked Rose what the secret was to raising great women who all support each other and adore their mom. She explained how it was always just the 4 of them (Rose & her daughters) and while she was always honest with them about her struggles, she was also always trying to be the best version of herself around them in order to support each of her girls. She said how of course there are moments of arguments and disagreements but they always come back together as a family. Rose went on to say that her daughters were the best thing that ever happened to her because even on those extremely hard days, she always had her girls.
Throughout the interview, Rose frequently mentions her admiration for the women of our generation. I want to take this time to encourage everyone reading to not only continue making a difference in the world, but to do it with determination and care like Rose!
If you know someone like Rose, who you’d like to see featured on I Am Woman, please be sure to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We love sharing the stories of women who are important to you!
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Thank you again!