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Norman Sylvester sings at an event to honor Portland's Diva of Soul Linda Hornbuckle
The Skanner News
Published: 31 October 2014

 Norman Sylvester sings at the Multnomah County event to honor Diva of Soul Linda Hornbuckle

Multnomah County honored Linda Hornbuckle Oct. 30 at an event dedicated to the memory of Portland’s  Diva of Soul.

“She was a humble spirit. When she walked in a room there was no fanfare,” said Hornbuckle’s former bandmate, Norman Sylvester. “She was just regular Linda. But when she got on stage and she sang, you understood why she was quiet. God blessed her with a healing voice.”

County commissioners proclaimed Oct. 30-Nov. 6 Linda Hornbuckle week, at an event featuring music, song, laughter and tears. Hornbuckle was known for her powerful performances, but her colleagues at Multnomah County health department also knew her as a healthcare “shero.”

“Ms. Linda and I sat down to meet and I was really excited as a fan,” said Mariotta Gary-Smith, who worked with her. “I had to remember that I was being professional. And actually I did not do that well because I was really  excited and I wanted her autograph and I was texting people like ‘Guess who I met?!’”

hornbuckle-webPHOTO: Linda Hornbuckle photgraphed by Owen Carey

At the health department  Hornbuckle worked with teens and families to improve communication about sex and smoking.  Her work helped teens make good choices about sexual behavior, pregnancy and smoking.  

 “The dedication and commitment she showed to her community members as she encouraged them to make choices that would improve their overall health is important regardless of the topic that she was dealing with,” Gary-Smith said at the event. “Be it STDs, or HIV prevention, sexuality education, parenting classes, no smoking -- all these issues mattered to her.”

Blues guitarist Norman Sylvester, Hornbuckle’s sister Pastor Sandra Hornbuckle, her nephew Tayvon Banquet and Health Department program specialist Pam Hillar spoke about her influence.

 “I’m really proud of her, especially over the past few years,” said Pastor Hornbuckle.  “I’ve seen a different side of her through Multnomah County. Not only does she have an amazing voice through song, she had another voice, a voice where she would share her beliefs, opinions, her love. It was through Multnomah County.”

Hornbuckle championed the National Black AIDS Awareness Day activities, the relationship education program 4REAL and the African-American Sexual Health Program.

She also helped create a faith-house community health worker project with the Albina Ministerial Alliance.

“We’re here to recognize a renowned musician in a city that has produced many musicians,” said Commissioner  Loretta Smith. “But what sets Linda apart from all the many wonderful musicians is this: she was one of our own.”

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