Ward 5 Democratic Committeewomen Hazel Bland Thomas was elected to serve as a liaison between the policy-making D.C. Democratic State Committee and the residents of Ward 5. She recently collaborated with Robert “Bob” King to establish the Ward 5 Leadership Council which identifies and makes recommendations of priority policies to the Ward 5 Council member and to other at-large D.C. Council members.
Currently, she is the 2022-2023 co-chair of the National Federation of Democratic Women (NFDW)/Women in Blue Advocacy Day Committee along with Christine Pelosi. A recent recipient of the Fannie Lou Hamer Community Service Award, Thomas frequently says, “I am incredibly honored to even be associated with the name of such a trailblazer who made so many sacrifices.”
She served for nearly three years on the successful renaming committee for the new Lamond-Riggs Lillian J. Huff Library. She is also the president of the Eleanor Holmes Legacy Scholarship Fund (EHNL Fund), a 501(c)(3) organization that raises funds to provide scholarships to students at the UDC School of Law who emulate the qualities of Congresswoman Norton, the District of Columbia’s “Warrior on the Hill.” Hazel Thomas works diligently to help raise funds for this project each year!
While living in Central and West African countries with her husband, Hazel worked with the Cameroon Extension Service and was successful in acquiring motorcycles for rural workers. She later worked with several U.S. embassies overseas as a community liaison officer with the role of linking official Americans to the surrounding people and culture. Upon finishing graduate school in Public Administration and Policy at George Washington University, Hazel became more focused on public policy, urban planning, and community and economic development.
It was 1983 when I met Hazel Thomas. She worked at the D.C. Chamber of Commerce in membership development and later moved into business and economic development, creating the Chamber’s first one-stop business and economic development training center. She later began working with the D.C. Office of the City Administrator in the area of economic development with a portfolio that included downtown development, the downtown partnership, the Washington Convention Center and the D.C. Chamber of Commerce. Upon the office director’s assignment of the mayor’s press office, she became director of the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development’s Office of Information and Marketing.
Since returning to the States, Hazel Bland Thomas has worked in various positions at the Department of State. She is currently a legislative affairs specialist who works as a liaison between U.S. embassies overseas and Congress to coordinate congressional delegation trips. To maintain her core interest in economic development, Hazel became the Board Chair of Premier Community Development Corporation (Premier CDC), a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit, volunteer organization committed to creating and retaining affordable housing in Ward 5. She helped to create the Rhode Island Avenue Task Force which brought together neighboring community organizations, churches and civic leaders to take leadership in the direction and scope of projects such as the 4th and Rhode Island development, Brookland Manor and others.
Hazel has worked on Council, mayoral and presidential campaigns and GOTV in D.C., Virginia and Pennsylvania. Additionally, Hazel has been an officer in the Ward 5 Democrats and attended five DNC Conventions. A past president of the DC Federation of Business and Professional Women (DC/BPW), known for designing training programs; and the DC Federation of Democratic Women, and has been active for over 10 years, primarily with writing and directing legislation policy.
She has been a member of the Shiloh Senior Choir for over 30 years and currently serves as its public relations coordinator and parliamentarian, and she earned her associate’s degree in bible class at Greater Mount Calvary in D.C.
It has been my pleasure to work with Hazel B. Thomas from time to time, over these past 40-plus years. We salute you, Hazel Bland Thomas!
Lyndia Grant is a speaker/writer living in the D.C. area. Her radio show, “Think on These Things,” airs Fridays at 6 p.m. on 1340 AM (WYCB), a Radio One station. To reach Grant, visit her website, www.lyndiagrant.com, email email@example.com or call 240-602-6295. Follow her on Twitter @LyndiaGrant and on Facebook.
Thank you Lyndia for lifting the accomplice this amazing public service Shero. I always enjoy learning about impactful people, policy and community activity through your writing and radio show.
I am extremely proud of Hazel Bland. As a former classmate from Northampton County High School in Machipongo, VA, I am sure that all of us from that area and era wish her the very best and continued success.
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