Janice Williams, a 28-year Roslindale resident, is an artist and writer. Janice just self-published a wonderful book that compiles photos and biographies of 80 womxn who live(d) and work(ed) in Roslindale. We were happy to talk with Janice about this year-long labor of love for her neighborhood…
Janice, what led you to get so involved in Roslindale, and to publish this fantastic book?
When I moved here, the business district was almost totally abandoned and severely neglected. At that time many business owners and the City of Boston were working hard to revitalize a once booming shopping district. Roslindale was the location for the first Boston Main Street program started by Mayor Tom Menino.
My husband Glenn and I eagerly became involved with Roslindale Village Main Street and a growing local art community as well. I volunteered along with other community members to help revitalize Roslindale.
I put together photos and short bios of women who work and live here to document this special group who make the community exceptional day in and day out.
How has Roslindale changed in the 28 years you’ve lived and worked there?
Now many years later, I still live in Roslindale and cherish the fruits of everyone’s hard work and passion. Roslindale today bustles with busy shops, restaurants, banks, personal services, a food pantry, a community refrigerator, a farmers’ market, a nature center, an arboretum, a medical center, library, swimming pool, post office, churches, commuter rail, community centers, social security office, grocery store, specialty food stores, parks, an independent pharmacy and more, all within walking distance for most residents. It’s a wonderful diverse and caring community because of the people who live here.
Why did you choose the womxn of Roslindale for your first book?
I created this book as a historical document for future generations to know some of the wonderful womxn of Roslindale. I focused on womxn, because a great deal of the neighborhood’s revitalization has been shaped by womxn, who continue to be active and creative business owners and community leaders. These are their stories. Each womxn listed provided their bio in their own words.
*The dictionary defines ”womxn” as an alternative spelling to “woman” to avoid the suggestion of sexism perceived in the sequences m-a-n and m-e-n, and to be inclusive of trans and nonbinary women.