In Memory of Debra Walker

Floor Speech

Date: Dec. 2, 2022
Location: Washington, DC


Ms. TLAIB. Madam Speaker, today I rise in memory of Debra Walker, Detroit resident and community activist, whose bright light will live on in our hearts.

Debra was a remarkable and devoted resident of Detroit's Corktown neighborhood. She got her start in community organizing while she served as an Americorps volunteer following her retirement from a career in the automotive industry. Debra's service had no bounds, and she was a friend to many and a dedicated volunteer to countless organizations. Her commitments were deeply rooted in our community with Friends of Historic Hamtramck Stadium, Corktown Business Association, Corktown Experience, Alternatives for Girls, and People's Community Services, to name a few. She was especially proud of the organizations she founded, Black CAT, whose work focused on social justice issues and Women Achieving Victory and Esteem (WAVE), a support group for African American breast cancer patients and their families.

In addition to her work in the community, Debra was also an entrepreneur, artist, crafter, poet, and spoken word performer. She was passionate about the arts, which led her to found Power in Poetry Experience of Detroit, which created a platform for performing artists across Detroit. The community will always fondly remember Ladel's, the children's bookstore that Debra owned and ran. The store's selections, stories that exposed children to diverse cultures and representation of communities like their own, were truly reflective of the community Debra wanted to create. She truly embodied the generosity and warm- heartedness of Detroit.

Please join me in honoring the memory of Debra Walker as our community mourns her loss.