Top 100 Women of Impact: Shirley Moorehead Washington

Shirley Moorehead Washington

Mayor, City of Pine Bluff

About me: I was born to Willie and Blanchie Moorehead in Gethsemane, Arkansas. As my parents toiled to make a living on our family’s small cotton farm, they stressed the importance of hard work and education. With their support, I discovered my passion for teaching at an early age. For 38 years, I had the phenomenal opportunity to live out this passion by serving as a teacher and eventually a principal, helping other children discover the power of education. After retiring and spending years as a volunteer in the community, I wanted to do even more to give back, which led to my election as mayor in 2017. Every day I’m guided by a passion to empower others and build up the community I love. 

Lives/Works in: Pine Bluff

Lesson Learned the Hard Way: Don’t judge people or situations based on what you hear. There was a time when I would form opinions based on what others told me. This led to making decisions that I regretted. I now choose to form opinions based on my personal experiences.

Proudest Moment of Impact: My proudest moment of impact was the opening of a state-of-the-art aquatic center in 2018. This brought an immense amount of joy to a community that had not had access to a public pool in decades. Grants were secured to provide free swimming lessons to youth and adults who qualified. Now, citizens enjoy this life-saving sport and the many amenities featured at the center.

Call to Action: We need people to volunteer their time consistently, to invest in our youth and to make their neighborhoods better. Not only is it important to have volunteers on day one, it is equally important to have them on day 500 and beyond. Many hands make work light, and it takes a collective to grow and sustain our efforts. 

What Keeps Me Motivated: Faith in God is my greatest motivation. Whenever I face a difficulty, I remember Philippians 4:13, which says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I also remember my mother’s words of encouragement: “Shirley, if others can do it, so can you.”

A Women’s Foundation of Arkansas Initiative

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