Remembering Linda Kanney

Tribute to Linda Kanney – Actively Connected to IMPACT since 1993

Portrait of Linda Kanney, the esteemed president of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women's Central Ohio Chapter, recognized for her advocacy and leadership, and a recipient of the YWCA Sue Doody Alumni Award​​​​. Linda, with her warm smile and confident gaze, exemplifies her dedication to empowering black women and girls in Columbus, Ohio​​. Her legacy includes significant contributions to the YWCA Columbus as the Director of Women's Programs and Vice President of Human Resources, retiring as the Mission Compliance Officer​​. She has also served on the Community Relations Commission, reflecting her deep commitment to the community​

IMPACT Safety might not exist if it hadn’t been for Linda Kanney. In 1993, I was teaching martial arts with Grandmaster Sunny Graf in what was then the basement of the YWCA on Fourth – when there was still a swimming pool.

I had heard about this incredible self-defense course, that covered so many necessary skills that my martial art did not. Myself and Max Peoples worked to bring it to Columbus in February 1993. (There was also a blizzard if I remember correctly!) 

I waltzed into Lindas’ office where she was Program Manager, told her what I was trying to do, and asked if we could have space at the YWCA for more than 25 hours of training over the space of 2 weeks. And, of course, we had no money, needed various hours as class was at different times, different days, and would also need parking vouchers. Fateful for us both – she said yes.

Her yes stayed constant to the day she passed. She was a Board Chair, Strategic Planning Committee Chair, and Advisory group member of IMPACT Safety. We never let her go, and since 1993, Linda has supported our programming growth in so many ways – through her time, her talent, and her treasure. 

She was ALWAYS there for anything we asked of her. In the early days, she supported Our Walk to Fight Back with her sorority sisters and our popular Brunch Fundraisers – always bringing a table or two, signing her name to endless donation requests, and sitting with us as we planned and grew. 

Linda made introductions a focus, opening many doors. She was co-chair of the beginning of the We Are Worth Defending research project and an attendant at more events and graduations than I can remember. 

Personally, I relied on her for her perspective, her ways of thinking, her understanding, her laughter at my stories, and our genuine friendship. This community has lost a woman of indomitable spirit, fortitude, vision, and accomplishment. We will miss her terribly.

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