This spring, I published in this web site a tribute to my friend Brenda Perryman (see “Corona Claims a Queen“). Brenda was special to me, and she was an inspiration, because she didn’t wait for permission or credentials or titles to do the things she wanted to do – she just did them. Brenda spent a career teaching in the Southfield, Michigan schools, and her obituary is filled with tributes from grown men and women, tributes that usually include the words “my favorite teacher.” Though Brenda loved teaching, she had a lot more interests, and her retirement simply gave her more time and freedom to pursue them. Brenda authored and directed plays; she hosted her own weekly interview program on a local public access television station (WHPR Highland Park); she delivered powerful spoken word performances. Brenda was supremely civic-minded – she seemed to be on a mission to improve the community one person, one interview, one poem, one dramatic performance at a time. And she did.
When I posted my tribute, I promised to publish the video interviews Brenda produced for the Urban Entrepreneurship Initiative (recorded and edited by our friend Michelle Wyche Watson). These interviews are a testament to Brenda’s community involvement, her commitment, and her talent. I expected to publish the interviews “in a few weeks,” and of course that has turned into several months, but it is never too late to remember a good person and to recognize a life well lived. You can see the interviews on the Urban Entrepreneurship Initiative web site at urbanei.org/brenda-perryman-interviews. The interviewees include CEOs, university presidents, a future lieutenant governor, and everyday citizens. Take some time to watch and enjoy, and if you knew Brenda, to remember.