BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — In honor of Women’s History Month, BRProud and Healthy Blue will spotlight four women, over the next four weeks, who have been nominated by the community as “Remarkable Women.”
Ro-Montee Williams is the fourth finalist of 2021. Her inspirational story is one of courage and purpose, and models how to find hope after an unthinkable tragedy. Williams has always lived a life of service, but said the accidental drowning death of her six-year-old daughter Tiarah gave new meaning to her life. Through the darkness, she found hope.
“After she died, I did feel like I was going to lose my mind. I felt like I had no purpose here on Earth. I felt like my life was meaningless. I wanted to take my life,” said Williams, “and God gave me this purpose — and this purpose was to give back to the community.”
I have a daughter in heaven, who I never forget.Ro-Montee Williams
Today, Williams routinely hosts events to feed and clothe the homeless, as well as the larger community. She often appears on local radio to encourage others to give or take part, depending on their circumstance.
Williams also hosts an annual Christmas toy drive and said the past year was especially memorable because of the economic impact of COVID-19. “I was so emotional this year because I received hundreds of emails where parents were just not able to provide for their children,” said Williams. “They were unemployed. They did not know where their next meal was coming from and all they wanted was to know that their children were going to be blessed with some toys.”
Williams said she traveled throughout Louisiana collecting more than 900 toys from Covington, Houma and Lafayette to give to the children of Baton Rouge. “Someone donated a U-Haul truck to me — payed for a U-Haul truck — and here I am this lady, riding around in a U-Haul truck with toys,” said Williams with a chuckle. “I did all I could to make sure these children were happy.”
I was a parent one time who did struggle, so I know what it’s like to be single and have children and want to see them have the best.Ro-Montee Williams
Outside of community service, Williams is also a healthcare professional. “My great grandmother had a stroke right there in front of me at the age of seven and after that, I knew healthcare was the place for me,” said Williams.
She refers to herself as well-rounded when it comes to the medical arena. With nearly three decades of experience, Williams holds multiple degrees and is certified in more than 12 areas of healthcare spending the majority of her time as an HIV/AIDS counselor.
Williams combined her passion for helping the community with her healthcare profession by hosting a teen summit, where HIV/AIDS and teen pregnancy were topics of discussion.
She’s strong — a remarkable lady. If her heart tells her to do something, she’s going to do it.Eugene Rico Williams III, brother to Ro-Montee Williams
Williams is also a mother to daughter Si-Arah, who also serves in the medical profession and will soon graduate with a Master’s degree. “Si-Arah has made me proud. She was homecoming queen of Southeastern, Miss Black and Gold — she’s earned five queen titles,” said Williams.
Williams is a survivor of domestic violence, something she once hid from her family. “I didn’t know that my sister went through those things,” said her brother, Eugene.
Today, she shares her experience by speaking firsthand with battered women, both individually and in group settings. “I just say ‘keep on keepin’ on’. Keep your head up and through it all, you are stronger. You just have to believe in yourself,” said Williams.
Keep living so that one day you can again see your child and do good. I’m not perfect, but I want to do all the good I can do so one day, I can see Tiarah again.Ro-Montee Williams on the death of her six-year-old daughter
Williams is also highly regarded as a talented singer and songwriter. “What I get out of singing is helping others to have fun, to worship God, to just let go,” said Williams, “and then, a lot of people just tell me how it has helped them get through the day, get through the week.”
Williams has been singing since the age of five and when not opening for famous gospel artists, Shirley Caesar and Vicki Winans, you can find her inspiring her church community.
Williams told BR Proud she defines a remarkable woman as someone who “doesn’t mind taking chances to improve the community and those who surround her as well.”