Thomasine Wilson of Albemarle County is an active VOP advocate and has worked hard as a community leader and as a member of the VOP State Governing Board. Thomasine found out about VOP through her local organizer, Harold Folley. In 2006, Harold was organizing around the issue of predatory lending. He asked Thomasine if she knew anyone who had been caught in the car title lending trap. Thomasine replied, “You are looking at someone now,”having been caught in a car title loan cycle herself. What started with a chance encounter with Harold ended with Thomasine testifying at the General Assembly on predatory lending and sharing her story with the media.
Thomasine continued to speak out on VOP issues including predatory lending, health care and the environment. As a full-time Personal Care Assistant and a member of the VOP Health Care Reform Committee, Thomasine has been particularly passionate about health care reform. She has headed lobby meetings with members of Congress in Washington, has spoken in front of huge crowds and has performed hours of thankless phone-banking.
Thomasine reflects on her three years of work with VOP: "I like working with VOP because it is hands-on and face-to-face. We work on the issues that matter at the moment, when people are hurting. When people want to be heard we give them a voice.” In addition to being an activist and VOP board member, Thomasine is the mother of James and Faliesha, and the grandmother of two beautiful granddaughters: Da-zhia and Janiazha. Thomasine has a strong faith base and believes that unity, love, respect and equality are the real family values. She is an active member of the Free Union Gospel Church in Gordonsville, Virginia, where she is missionary, usher and choir member. Her hobbies include photography, writing and fighting for social justice in Virginia. “I love the work I do through VOP and have found that it is better to raise our voices together as one. I am learning something every day. I just get up in the morning and tell myself, ‘We are doing this: feet first, jump in!’”