Member Spotlight: Margaret Breslau

A Local Leader with A Global Spirit

By Kara Dodson

Margaret, a Virginian, joined in solidarity with North Carolinians at the Moral March on Raleigh on March 8, 2014.

Margaret, a Virginian, joined in solidarity with North Carolinians at the Moral March on Raleigh on March 8, 2014.

Appalachian Voices shines this month’s spotlight on Margaret Breslau for her leadership and tenacity in sustainable economics and the fight for equal rights. Margaret stands as a major force and positive light within the social justice movement in Blacksburg, Va., and the New River Valley.

I first knew Margaret as the owner and artist behind Homebody – a bright, welcoming clothing and accessories shop in downtown Blacksburg. All of the store’s products were fair trade, playful, tasteful and often educational: shirts and skirts made in the U.S. without sweatshop-derived labor, paper surprisingly made from elephant poop, a social-justice-focused movie rental stand, vintage jewelry and locally made pieces. Her store closed in 2013, but for many years it gave Virginia Tech students, local residents and new visitors to the New River Valley a shopping alternative conscious of our connection to the Earth and each other.

Outside of the business realm, Margaret is an active leader in the Coalition 4 Justice – a local volunteer group that advocates for global peace and sustainability. For several years, the Coalition has hosted anti-war demonstrations as well as fundraisers to support other nonprofit groups. The Coalition, aided by Margaret’s organizing know-how, held a dance night at Virginia Tech to benefit Appalachian Voices in March. We had a grand night gettin’ down to the band’s country-rock tunes and celebrating our work to protect the land, water, air and communities of Appalachia from corporate oppression.

It takes a heart of gold and unwavering spirit to fight for justice at every turn, and Margaret has both. She is the mother of two sons and shares her love for community and earth-care with her husband Daniel Breslau. Thank you, Margaret, for dedicating every facet of your life to loving this earth and working for a healthier, happier tomorrow!