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Christine McLean
Christine was transferred to Birmingham in 2002 via an acquisition of her medical software firm by HealthSouth. She decided to stay in Birmingham where she opened a franchise of the dating service, It’s Just Lunch, winning best new Franchise in 2003. That same year, she met her husband whose office was in the same building. She sold the franchise to spend more time with her children. Seven years ago, she started a custom drapery workroom catering to the design industry, where she gets to do what she loves every day, fabricating beautiful soft furnishings.  

Christine has always been actively involved in her community, serving on the parent association boards at her children’s school, the board of Southside Baseball Association, and as a leader of her daughter’s Girl Scout patrol. In 2017 she started The Breakfast Club, a program for the students at Altamont, where her kids attend school, bringing speakers into her home from all parts of the community, to share their stories on late start Wednesday mornings.  Her last speaker was Anthony Ray Hinton, a Birmingham native who spent 30 years on death row. This past year she cofounded and online group called Bham Face Masks which lead to the foundation of a nonprofit, The Grass Roots Initiative Team. Through these combined efforts, over 50k was raised and over 180,000 face masks were made, collected, and distributed for free into the local community and throughout the state.  

A graduate of Michigan State University, she earned a degree in Biology from Lyman Briggs College in 1988. She spent 12 years in the pharmaceutical and medical software industry.

Christine lives in Forest Park with her husband Dr. David Linde, two children, Sam (16) and Stella (14) and their menagerie of rescues; dogs, Ollie and Beau and Mille the cat.

Why have you decided to serve as a Torchbearer for the JLB?
My first volunteer position after moving to Birmingham in 2002 was manning the Domestic Violence Hotline at the YWCA in the spring of 2002. My dad had passed away in the fall of 2000 and I was ready to begin dealing with the trauma of my childhood. Domestic violence was the norm in the home I grew up in. The physical and mental abuse my mom suffered at the hands of my dad resulted in a home where you never felt safe and were always waiting for the other shoe to drop. It was an ugly secret you were supposed to keep. I left home my senior year of High School when my father stormed into my bedroom in a rage. I would live at a friend’s house until the fall, working all summer to save up enough money to start college. However, the damage had been done.  The result of that trauma that my sisters and I endured has impacted our entire lives. I have been donating to this campaign since its inception when my friend Dafina Cooper Ward, a survivor of domestic violence, was one of the original torchbearers. I knew this was the last year and I called Lindsey to ask if I could participate. They had just finalized the 20 Torchbearers, but Lindsey decided, why not 21 in 21. This year will also be the 21st anniversary of my dad’s passing. It is possible to love the ones that hurt you the most and I was remarkably close to my dad at the end of his life. He stopped abusing my mom and he worked hard to mend our relationship. It is a huge honor to participate in the final year of this campaign and to bear witness so that I can use what happened in my life to help others. I know my dad would be proud of me.

What/who inspires you to be a Light in our community?
I was inspired by my Friend, Dafina Cooper Ward, one of the original torch bearers and a survivor of domestic violence, for not being afraid to shine the light and share her own, painful story.  I am inspired by Allison Dearing, who was kind enough to be one of my Breakfast Club speakers, whose lifelong work and passion is the reason we have all these resources under one roof. And of Course, Lindsey Tanner who on the back of a cocktail napkin, came up with this idea that will shape the course of history for domestic violence and sexual assault services in our community. Lastly, I am inspired by my sisters Kathleen and Colleen, who have worked hard to become the amazing, beautiful, compassionate women they were meant to be despite the violence and trauma we grew up in.  

In the words of Amanda Gorman… Another, inspiring woman.

There is always Light. As long as we are brave enough to see it. As long as we are brave enough to be it.

I am honored to be a 2021 Community of Lights Torchbearer and bring the light to Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. #21in21

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