31 Days of Revolutionary Women, #24: Cynthia Ann Green

In honor of Women’s History Month, we present 31 Days of Revolutionary Women; a series of daily essays by local authors documenting, honoring and celebrating powerful women who inspire us in South Seattle and beyond.

by Bridgette Hempstead

According to Dictionary.com, “virtue” is defined as “moral excellence; goodness; righteousness”, and “virtuous” is defined as “conforming to ethical and moral principles”. So a virtuous woman would be a woman of moral excellence, goodness, and righteousness, conforming to ethical and moral principles.

Cynthia Ann Green: There are not enough words in the dictionary or the bible to describe this woman.

Cynthia Ann Green is the Virtuous Woman; the dictionary and the bible only touch on a small part of the description of this woman.

Cynthia stands about 5 feet tall but, in reality, she is a giant and a stick of dynamite. When she steps outside her door, the world changes; and our lives are so much better with Ms. Cynthia in it. You can find her on any given day giving back to her community without expecting anything back.


Miss Bridgette Miss Cynthia
Cynthia Ann Green (right) and Bridgette Hempstead with their co-authored paper: “Community Empowerment Partners (CEPs): A Breast Health Education Program for African-American Women.” (Photo courtesy Bridgette Hempstead)


In the most recent past, Cynthia ran the Renton Area Youth and Family Services (RAYS) Family Center located in Skyway – now called the RAYS Cynthia A. Green Family Center. The executive director and governing committee members of RAYS unanimously voted to change the name to honor the guidelines set by Ms. Cynthia.

Cynthia Green’s was the first face you saw when you walked into the building. She had a presence and an order to this wonderful building that changed the lives of many community members who walked through the door in need, depressed, or heartbroken. But when they shared their needs with this woman, they would leave with all their needs met, and resources to spare if another crisis was to visit that person’s door.

Cynthia did not have the title of director, but in reality, she was the director. She ran that building like a million dollar business located in Skyway.  If you ever had the opportunity to visit the Center when she was there, you may have walked in the door feeling hopeless – but I promise you were not that way when you left. You left with resources, connections, perhaps food, along with loving and inspiring words from Ms. Cynthia that would resonate in your spirit for the rest of your life.

Many organizations lean on the expertise of this amazing woman, including myself. Let me clarify how. This is what part of her non-paid work week may look like: tutoring twice a week to her little angels, building up the South Seattle Emerald, supporting the Kinship Caregivers, supporting Women United in Skyway, as well as advising many young folks on what direction they may need to go in to advance their education.

While all of this is going on, she has made time to become a co-author of the paper “Community Empowerment Partners (CEPs): A Breast Health Education Program for African-American Women” alongside myself, representing Cierra Sisters. Let me not forget her great contributions to the veterans on a weekly basis. And I know there are other organizations that have experienced this woman’s amazing services.

Truly, her family is blessed to have her every day as a true matriarch who stands 5 feet tall.

I just need to say: if you don’t know, now you know that Cynthia Ann Green is the Revolutionary Woman the world needs to know and admire.

I am honored to express some of my feelings about this amazing woman who has touched my life.

ms-bridBridgette Hempstead is the vice-president of the South Seattle Emerald’s Board of Directors.  A two-time 20-year cancer survivor, Bridgette received her diagnosis on her 35th birthday.  At that time, she found no resources for African American women. Therefore, she became the solution, and Cierra Sisters, Inc. was born. She found that women’s fear of breast cancer was due largely to the lack of knowledge.  As the late author and entertainer, Earl Nightingale once stated, “Whenever we’re afraid, it’s because we don’t know enough. If we understood enough, we would never be afraid.” Inspired by Ms. Nightingale’s words, Bridgette chose the African word “Cierra” which means “knowing” to identify the community resource and educational organization which she began in 1996.  Bridgette is a proud resident of the Skyway neighborhood.