Valerie Nicholas made history in the city of Laurel, Maryland, in November becoming the first Black woman chosen to serve as council president.
Nicholas won reelection last year for a fifth term on the five-member council. Each council member runs every two years.
She made history in Laurel more than nine years ago as the first Black woman appointed to city council in June 2011 and would be elected to the board six months later in November 2011.
Besides representing the citizens of Laurel as a member of the council, she serves as chair on the city’s Tree Board and Citizens Advisory Committee for Persons with Disabilities.
The native of Roanoke, Virginia, moved to the greater Washington area in 1986 and worked for the federal government for 20 years.
She currently works as a patient advocate for Adventist Healthcare System.
But community advocacy remains a passion through her nonprofit organization Love is Not Enough, which aids those affected by domestic violence.
Nicholas uses her experience growing up in an abusive household to help others. Her personal battle began at 11 years old when her father’s friends sexually abused her.
She also experienced an abusive relationship when she moved to the D.C. area that caused the death of an unborn child.
Nicholas received the title of “Wounded Healer” because of her successfully surviving her experiences of domestic violence and helping other people.
Aside from council meetings, passing local legislation and checking on residents amid the coronavirus pandemic, she helps feed those less fortunate, especially the homeless.