Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence was raised by her grandparents on Detroit’s northeast side. She attended Courville Elementary and Nolan Middle schools, graduating from Pershing High School.  Congresswoman Lawrence says she treasures what she was taught at Detroit Public Schools. She appreciated that when she was growing up, her schools had diverse populations where during a young age, she learned to break through racial stereotypes. “I learned at an early age that your color and race does not define your greatness – it’s about the hard work,” she said. She goes on to share a story about a school counselor by the name of Ms. Fitch from Pershing High School, who had called her grandmother about Brenda’s misconduct resulting in her grandmother crying. Her counselor was instrumental in her success by telling her “You will not make your grandmother cry again – you are going to give the best that you have!” Lawrence recalls, “She monitored me, checked on me and as a result, I knew she cared about me.” Congresswoman Lawrence went on to graduate from Pershing High with honors and received a scholarship to the University of Detroit. “I didn’t think I was smart. I thought academic achievement was something I couldn’t have.” Lawrence goes on to explain that the educators — no matter the color of their skin – cared about their students.

Brenda Lawrence later received a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from Central Michigan University. She worked for the U.S. Postal Service for 30 years where she advanced to working in human resources. Brenda Lawrence has been an elected official since 1997 when she was voted in to serve on the Southfield City council and was later elected mayor of Southfield where she served in that capacity until 2015. She is currently a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for the 14th Congressional District which covers most of eastern Detroit and portions of Oakland County.

When asked what advice she could offer today’s students who would like to be of service to their committees, Congresswoman Lawrences says “Stay strong and keep waiting on tomorrow. And don’t give up – don’t ever give up! Your education belongs to you.”

She is truly #DPSProud!

Watch DPSF President Pamela Moore’s interview with Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence.