Sherie Labedis was born in Los Angeles, California, in 1946. She discovered a passion for civil rights when her 10th grade English teacher asked his students what they were willing to die for.
She was only eighteen in 1965 when she joined Martin Luther King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference registering black voters in Pineville, South Carolina. She and the SCLC group successfully registered 580 new voters. She now tries to spend some time in Pineville each year to visit friends she made there.
At the end of the summer of 1965, she enrolled for a semester at Allen University, a historically African American Methodist Episcopal college in Columbia, South Carolina, where she was the only white student on campus. She later returned to the University of California, Berkeley, where she earned a bachelor’s degree and teaching credential.
She taught English and Social Studies for thirty-five years, most of it with at-risk high school students, before retiring to write You Came Here to Die, Didn’t You, based on her 1965 journal, which she published herself.
Labedis was featured in Ann Curry’s “We’ll Meet Again” series in February of 2018.
She lives in Roseville, California with her husband Joe and dog Zoe.