Hazel Mae Mack knows that “if you’re going to talk the talk, you’ve got to walk the walk.” If you were to ask her, she’d say that she’s tried to live a life of service. And for over 40 years she’s done just that, sowing seeds of compassion and loving-kindness that have blessed the lives of others both near and far.
The trajectory of her life and the steps she has taken to “honor the least of us” is rooted in the biblical instruction she gleaned as a 10-year-old usher at St. John Baptist Church in Winston-Salem.
“My Sunday school teacher, Mrs. Ethel Smith, taught me what remains one of my favorite biblical passages: He that humbles himself shall be exalted; he that exalts himself shall be brought low,” Mack says.
At age 17, Mack got involved in the Civil Rights movement by joining the Black Panther Party, which provided her with the courage and clarity she needed to dream another world.
“We fed the hungry in the Free Breakfast Program, clothed those in need through the Free Clothing and Free Shoes programs, cared for the sick with the Free Ambulance Program, and visited the imprisoned through the Free Transportation to Prison Program,” Mack says. She still considers Nelson Malloy, also a former Black Panther, one of her heroes.
Mack chose a life’s profession that would allow her to be in service to the poor. Since graduating from Temple University’s School of Law in 1980, she’s worked for Legal Aid of North Carolina (LAN) where she currently serves as regional managing attorney and project director of the Home Defense Project. Her work has positively affected the lives of many in the community, including Tracy Nicholson, a paralegal at LAN. “Hazel Mack has been my mentor, confidant, and friend. She is one of the most intelligent people I know and truly understands the human condition,” Nicholson says.
Her free time is spent volunteering and serving on the board at Carter G. Woodson School, a charter school she and other concerned parents founded in 1996. She’s also a proud member of Dellabrook Presbyterian Church.
All in all, Mack believes she’s had a blessed life and realizes that it is truly a privilege to serve.
For more info on Legal Aid of NC, go to www.legalaidnc.org