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September 8, 2022
Fig Authentic: Amresse Farrow
Amresse Farrow has been propelled since a very young age by an almost instinctive drive toward activism. From healthcare to children’s literacy to public policy and equity, Amresse has grown into adulthood committed to raising awareness and taking action. A unique combination of early childhood experiences, an insatiable curiosity, and a desire to live authentically are the internal motivations that placed her on a path of community activism that paves the way for others to do the same.
A natural marketer with a mission, Amresse holds positions in communications and marketing with the Bethlehem Public Library (@pabapl) and with the Breastfeeding Shop (@thebreastfeedingshop) in Emmaus. Her work involves daily engagement with the community whether it is forward movement on library programming, supporting the Breastfeeding Shop’s mission to support mothers, or joining forces to move DEI within the city’s leadership.
For Amresse, her jobs are much more than opportunities to flex her marketing prowess or her long list of technical skills. The library has been a part of Amresse’s life since her middle
school years when she officially traded school lunch for an hour with the school librarian.
“Lunch was just an hour for social isolation and discomfort,” she laughs. “Why would I want that when I could go to the library instead?” Eight years of library lunches ensued. Today, Amresse is creatively at work on children’s library programming.
Amresse’s work with the Breastfeeding Shop is equally born out of passion. “Newborns and new mothers hold a special place for me because of my mom,” she said. Amresse’s mom was a single mom and labor and delivery RN, and Amresse spent several nights a week overnight at the hospital with her mother at work. Those early impressions profoundly shaped Amresse. “I grew up fascinated by all of it: mothers, infants, healthcare, and insurance. At age 12 I even disguised myself as a young nurse in order to sneak into a presentation on breastmilk!” she said. By 13 Amresse was campaigning in her community in Carbon County for tax breaks and services until she found herself in Washington DC extending her hand to Michelle Obama at the Women’s Leadership Summit.
It’s been a steady stream of grassroots activism, volunteerism, and formal and self-education that drives Amresse forward. Despite her incredible array of accomplishments, she is quick
to redirect the conversation back to her mom as her inspiration. “It was my mom who made me who I am. I watched her make her way out of extreme challenges,” Amresse explained. Though ideas for what is next at the library and the Breastfeeding Shop are bubbling forth, Amresse is always looking at what’s next and what’s possible. Currently, it is immersing herself in DEI plans for the library and beyond.
But wherever Amresse finds herself, she stresses that her goal is “to be so authentically myself that it inspires others to shine their light and do the same.”