Determination and drive are in my DNA.
I am not “built” to back down from what I believe. And I have the past and present Black Queens in my life to thank for it. Especially my beloved mom.
My parents are an interracial couple who married in 1970. A climate then was nowhere near as accepting of that as we are now. No cheerios commercials, many schools still largely segregated, hippie love abounding. Despite all of their hardships and adversity they somehow raised three smart, popular, funny, and caring daughters.
- Deirdre “Deedee” Bianca Cummings – Author, Lawyer, Therapist & Entrepreneur
- Amanda Ella Compton – Attorney & Law Professor
- Louisa Lucia Pecchioni – One of the very few female vascular surgeons in the country
My mother was a Mast. My father a Pecchioni. Two very strong and respected families in their communities. Pecchioni [pronounced Peck-ee-oh-nee] is Italian and means “keeper of the bee”. The Pecchionis were beekeepers in Northern Italy. A severe drought forced them to migrate South. They eventually settled in Sicily and continued to raise bees. Bees to this day have been significant symbols in our family.
My mother, Andrea Mast Pecchioni, was an innovator, leader, and very passionate about the Arts. Because of this love, she was instrumental in founding the first alternative theatre in KY during a time when the Arts were not very well supported. Kentucky Cooperative Theatre 1982 was created in 1982 and this was exceptionally remarkable because my mother was a woman of color. And at the time, there was not a lot of interest or respect for either.
Despite the naysayers, she followed her dream and did something that everyone said was crazy; she created a beautiful place for the Arts to come to life. It wasn’t about money, it was about following her heart. For more than 15 years, despite the naysayers, she helped the dreams of many playwrights and actors come to life on stage.
My mother was also strong, loving, and no stranger to speaking her mind when she felt things were not as they should be or injustice had been done. That precious gift is one of the many she gave to me.
THANK YOU, Mom. I miss you.
Social justice can take on many forms.
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