As Black History Month draws to a close, I've been reflecting on how far our country has come. And I realize we still have a long way to go. 

I reached out to interview local resident Iris Rideau, 83, former owner of Rideau Vineyard in Solvang. I believe her story is valuable and represents what it means to truly live the American Dream. 

Despite being born into poverty and during a time of great racial divide in our nation, Iris achieved great things through hard work and determination. She was recognized as the first black woman winery owner in the United States, becoming a national success story and a local treasure.

Former mayor of Buellton, Judith Dale built her career in education and continues to serve the local community as Santa Barbara County 3rd District representative to the Library Advisory Board and board member of the Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital Foundation. She can be reached at judith@hwy246.net

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