I lived with my mom and you know how that goes once you're grown and you have two kids. So they let me move in with my sister when my mom was like, “You gotta go.” And I got back on my feet in that space. My kids went to school. Single mom, I'm still a single mom. And Abby's gave me the courage and the strength to be able to walk on my own. Through my time here at 77 I actually got a Section 8 certificate and found an apartment moved on, blah blah blah and all that good stuff. And Abby's asked me to come back and be on the board of directors. So I did that for a while, they always have a representative from the women who serve on the board and that was my job. And I’m honored and humbled and then I did that and Tess Sneesby said, “We have an opening for shelter advocates, you should come and do that.” And I was like, “Tess, I'm a secretary. I don't know anything about that.” And she said, “Well, you'll be fine. Just come on and do it.” And they offered me a couple more dollars than I was getting at Head Start so I took that role on and here I still am. So guess I'm supposed to be here.
Parlee Jones was born in Leominster, MA in 1966 and moved to Worcester, MA as an infant. Except for spending eleven years in Brooklyn, NY, Parlee has spent nearly her whole life in Worcester. Parlee currently serves as a shelter advocate at Abby’s House women’s shelter in Worcester and has served in this position for over ten years. She describes how activism changed the course of her life. In Brooklyn, she encountered community organizations and a sense of pride in Black culture, which she worked to bring with her back to Worcester. Parlee highlights the groups she’s worked with, from the Black Elks Lodge, to Juneteenth, to an informal group of like-minded women with whom discusses the pertinent issues of today. With regards to social justice, Parlee emphasizes the importance of coming from a place of love, and loving self first. The powerful journey she shares is full of challenges and lessons, setbacks and breakthroughs that have shaped the remarkable woman Parlee is today.