Winona Hollins Hauge grew up in the Central District and attended Garfield high school. In her freshman year, she met Carolyn Downs who was already a member of the Black Panther Party and a dynamic presence at school. Winona and several friends accompanied Carolyn to the Party headquarters. "We got intrigued," she recalls, laughing. "We were young girls" and very impressed by handsome party leaders. She joined the party while still in school and in her spare time helped raise funds, sold the Party newspaper, and aided the Free Breakfast Program.
She remained active for only about six months, pulling back after a scary incident in which a white homeowner pulled a gun and began firing. While Carolyn Downs continued to inspire her, Winona turned to student government, then college, then earned her Masters in Social Work, before embarking on a distinguished career in that field. She credits her experience in the Black Panther Party with giving her life meaning and direction. I learned how to live with "purpose and on mission," she explains in her interview.
Her social work career has taken her far, including serving under two governors as State of Washington Commissioner for African American Affairs. But much of that career was spent as Director of Social Work for the Odessa Brown Clinic in Seattle. Odessa Brown is closely connected to the community medical clinic founded by Carolyn Downs and Elmer Dixon in 1978 and named the Carolyn Downs Family Medical Center after Carolyn's tragic death at age 25. In the interview, Winona speaks eloquently about her friend and about the legacy of the Black Panther Party.
This interview is part of Keepers of the Dream: Seattle Women Black Panthers, a film by Patricia Boiko and Tajuan LaBee available at https://seattlewomenpanthers.com. Work on this interview was made possible by a grant from 4Culture/King County Lodging Tax.ork on this interview was made possible by a grant from 4Culture/King County Lodging Tax.