Jessica Laskey

Journalist

About This Author

Jessica Laskey is a freelance writer and professional actress who has lived and worked in Sacramento, San Francisco, Dallas, New York City and Paris. She is also the co-founder of Theater Galatea and Indomita Press.

Articles by this author

An Open Book

Terry a O’Neal is the consummate storyteller. During our nearly two-hour interview, she regales me with stories about young motherhood, awakening her writer’s voice, going through a traumatic divorce, advocating for youth and more.

She talks about her mother, a Southern Creole poet who inspired her daughter’s creative career. She tells of the complex characters that populate her poetry and prose. By the end of the call, it feels like we’ve only scratched the surface of the artist and human being that is Terry a O’Neal.

“I credit my mother for everything,” says O’Neal, raised in Stockton by her mother, Barbara Ann Tillman-Williams, a native of Louisiana who moved to California in the 1970s but reared O’Neal and her three siblings as if they were still in the south.

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No Slowing Down

When Rivkah Sass retired last month as director and CEO of the Sacramento Public Library, she left behind a list of accomplishments that could fill, well, a book.

But make no mistake. Just because she retired doesn’t mean the tireless Sass will be less busy.

“I have other adventures to be determined,” she says. “My No. 1 priority will be spending time with my two new grandchildren who live in Idaho—Facetime is nice but it’s not the same as cuddling two squirmy, stinky boys.

“No. 2 on my list is to get certified to teach English as a foreign language so I can do more work with the Zaatari refugee camp on the Syrian border. There’s also my guilty pleasure, the Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary. I plan to go there to volunteer. I also want to learn to read music. And, of course, I plan to consult with libraries, since they’re my passion.”

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Playing For Keeps

If you are interested in music and making new friends, James Broderick has a perfect opportunity.

Broderick is volunteer coordinator for the Sacramento chapter of Guitars for Vets, a national nonprofit that provides free guitar instruction to struggling veterans.

“The vets we serve have been referred to us by counselors and therapists at the VA and lessons are held at VA facilities,” Broderick says. “Few of the vets we teach have any musical experience. For the most part, we’re talking raw beginners.

“Our goal for 2022 is to expand our volunteer corps dramatically and unleash an army of guitar players upon the world.”

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