Black History Today: Tia, Shadeed & Khalil, a reflection of of a mothers love in her suns.

This post is part of an ongoing Black History Month series written by Marcus Harden, a truly unsung hero of South Seattle, as he honors the living legacy of Black history in his community and beyond, and recognizes the people who are shaping the future.


IMG_3057.jpg

How beautiful if nothing more

Than to wait at Zion's door

I've never been in love like this before

Now let me pray to keep you from

The perils that will surely come

See life for you my prince has just begun

And I thank you for choosing me

To come through unto life to be

A beautiful reflection of his grace

For I know that a gift so great

Is only one god could create

And I'm reminded every time I see your face

Lauryn Hill, To Zion

By: Marcus Harden

As parents, you realize there is no handbook on raising YOUR children. Parenting is a collection of wisdom, acquired knowledge, intuition and when done right, unwavering and unconditional love. While the stereotype of single parenting in the African-American/Black community is a bit overhyped (shout out to the awesome families and fathers out there!), the reality is being a parent without the full benefit of a partner is hard.

The reflection of that hard work often times lays in the countless seconds, hours and days that go into the full-time job of parenting. Yet as that reflection becomes clearer, the greatness of that hard work begins to shine.

Tia Shabazz and her two reflections of greatness, Shadeed and Khalil resonate that light. Parenting isn’t about perfection, it’s about the pursuit of a perfected love that manifests in your children but first manifest within you.

A Seattle native, Tia’s love for herself manifest in her everyday pursuit of authentically being better for her family. As a young single mother early in her journey, fighting through those stereotypical stereotypes to lean on her family but most importantly herself and her faith, she walks the journey of parenting for and with her sons.

Her commitment to them no more evident than knowing at any and every event, ceremony and academic endeavor possible, she would be there. The manifestation of her motherly love was in being there for her sons, she became a mother for others sons (and daughters).

Her energy manifested in her oldest son Shadeed, light, and personality so immense that he truly radiates through any room he enters. Whether it be his unique voice, his infectious smile, his loyal heart or the perpetual motion (with or without music) he manifest that portion of her reflection.

Shadeed a proud member of many championship basketball teams at the world-renowned Rainier Beach International Baccalaureate High School (aka Crown Jewel of the Southend, the Hall of Fame on Henderson, etc).

Shadeed brings that energy with him in his constant pursuit of bettering himself, now in his third year of college still pursuing his dreams yet also beginning to reflect deeply on his passions and sharing that with others, not perfect yet in pursuit of purpose.

The other shard of light from a mother peaceful and introspective, reflection in Khalil, currently a sophomore attending the University of San Francisco. Utilizing his talent as a basketball player to pursue passion and purpose as well (also an alumnus of RBHS), Khalil’s greatest attribute is in his quiet resolve and his acceptance to the call of servant leadership.

In a world filled with young people who spend time yelling “look at me”, Khalil while rarely raising his voice is always yelling, “no, look at you!”. The consummate teammate and supporter, on and off any court he steps on.

Inspiring in an age of reality family drama is the two brothers genuine love and admiration for each other. Not a trace of jealousy or envy, even though their personalities and paths may differ, they stay connected through unashamed support, admiration, and love for the other. They find themselves in each other, the definition of the old parable;

“ I sought my soul, but my soul I could not see. I sought my God, but my God eluded me. I sought my brother and I found all three.”

The true beauty of this family is the embodiment of their love together. Tia doesn’t shy away from her sons being her world and in return, they orbit around her emanating light of two stars shining brightly. Maybe, the most inspiring of their family growth was as Tia preached and practiced the value of education to her sons, her pursuit of more education for herself, enrolling in and completing college and further education alongside them.

Tia, Shadeed & Khalil are representations of what parenting and family are, growing and learning together, always together. They are what is possible for any young family, a single-parent family who wonders can they do it, the Shabazz families answers, yes you can.

It won’t be easy, there will be tears, disappointment, doubt, and heartache. Yet greater than all of those will be love and joy. Living testaments to how it can be done. Tia, Shadeed, and Khalil are pieces of living testimony of what’s possible, one mother and two bright and shining suns, they are joy, they are peace, they are love and they are Black History, today!

To support and learn more about the Shabazz family: https://www.facebook.com/mamateescakesandpies and thelifeofiball on Instagram

Upendo!

-MLH


Black History Today: Kevin & Melissa Fredericks, models of authentic and sweet love

This post is part of an ongoing Black History Month series written by Marcus Harden, a truly unsung hero of South Seattle, as he honors the living legacy of Black history in his community and beyond, and recognizes the people who are shaping the future.

Fredericks.jpg


Sweet love hear me callin' out your name

I feel no shame; I'm in love

Sweet love, don't you ever go away

It'll always be this way

There's no stronger love in this world, Oh, baby, no

You're my man; I'm your girl

I'll never go. Wait and see, can't be wrong

Don't you know this is where you belong?

How sweet this dream, how lovely, baby

Stay right here, never fear

I will be all that you need

Never leave, 'cause baby, I believe

In this love

Sweet love hear me callin' out your name

I feel no shame; I'm in love

Sweet love, don't you ever go away

It'll always be this way - Anita Baker

It has been said  that love is patient, love is kind and love endures all things. Love as a notion of sentimentality, romance, raw emotion and fluttering social media filters is indeed a real thing. Yet a real love is the love that explores itself, that opens itself to examination, questioning and sometimes doubt. Yet those who are able to embody love, those who are able to take the sour of the love that isn’t expressed in greeting cards and make it so, so sweet, those people are what love is all about.

Kevin & Melissa Fredericks in an age in which love, often times young love and even more times young black love are under attack, they stand steadfast as a testament to what it is in the swipe left era and display their love with a vulnerability and authenticity into their sacred union that is admirable far beyond any fictional doctor or lawyer on Nick at Nite.

Their testimony and evolution of a young love since High School, that has endured all things such as two incredible sons, corporate careers, relocation and daring greatly to chase their dreams, being bold enough together, always together to catch them, is astounding.

Kevin ever the dreamer, reimagining what it means to be a ‘provider’, the provision sometimes being that of traditional finance, yet other times being the keeper of the dream knowing that a life lived unfilled is not a life lived at all. While Melissa, not Kevin’s completion, but his balance and partner, provided the encouragement, the ‘traditional’ providing and serving as the ember that kept the Fredericks family flame burning.

Their journey together as a couple, who have grown individually to build their collective love stands as a true model for those looking to know what love is. The true beauty of their union is they never purport to be the perfect couple, they share their journey to and through love and if others can find a connection, then job well done.

Their love radiates through their two sons, who thrive in their own ways, having the safety in love to continue to grow into young men who will know how to love on the Philo, eros and agape level because love was not only mentioned but modeled. They continue to grow as a family unit and everything they encounter becomes love as well because true love never constricts, it only expands and the Fredericks grow in love by the day.

While commercially many will celebrate this day with cards, dinners, and words of affection, the Fredericks show us all that every day is a day to show and grow in love. If they had a soundtrack (mainly Melissa’s, Kevin only listens to old hymnals), it’d sing the song of Anita Baker, “We love so strong and so unselfishly, And I tell you now that I made a vow, I'm giving you the best that I got, baby Yes I tell you now, that I made a vow,I'm giving you the best that I got”.

Auntie Oprah may have hosted life classes, Melissa & Kevin host love classes and we’re all better for being their classmates. They continue to model the healthy way of being caught up in the rapture of love, is, giving us the best that they’ve got, loving each other just because and for those reasons, Kevin & Melissa Fredericks are Black History, today!

To learn more about The Fredericks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-love-hour/id1445509054?mt=2

Upendo!

-MLH




Black History Today: Eniyah, a portrait of triumph and courage

This post is part of an ongoing Black History Month series written by Marcus Harden, a truly unsung hero of South Seattle, as he honors the living legacy of Black history in his community and beyond, and recognizes the people who are shaping the future.


IMG_2897.jpg


“I’m grateful I had the strength to fight. It takes courage to believe the best is yet to come, especially when you are flat on your back and don’t know if you’re going to see tomorrow. I’m no Pollyanna, but I believe optimism is a choice — a muscle that gets stronger with use. Right foot, left foot…just keep moving.” ― Robin Roberts

You only learn who you are inside when life gives you a test. When those tests happen, we are faced with the choices to run and or to fight. Yet many are faced with the test that is life, itself. The passing of the test much like the best things in life, don’t lay in the end result, yet in the day to day process of fighting, winning and overcoming. The victory comes through the courage and summoning the constant courage is the victory.

Eniyah has lived her young life has stood victorious and is the illustration of courage. For many of us, the innocent moments of childhood aren’t ones that as adults we champion as a victory. Childhood is typically spent filled with discovery, play, and innocence. Yet for Eniyah, her journey into Kindergarten began with the discovery of cancer. For many, the notion of cancer rocks us to our cores as adults, it threatens how we live and life itself, yet as a five-year-old still learning the world cancer robs one of that innocence and forces you to find an act of deeper courage than the classroom of life has yet to prepare you for.

Yet, fear trembles when faced with unwavering faith and courage. With the support of a rocksteady mother, loving father, incredible medical team and love and support from a community known and unknown, Eniyah waged war against cancer for three years from 2016-2019. Through chemotherapy, through missing a year of school and battling back to re-enroll, still as brilliant as ever.

Eniyah would not let cancer steal her life, most importantly, she didn’t let it steal her joy. Her innocence would not be eroded, her faith would not waiver and her victory was a matter of when not if. We often pray that many don’t experience such a battle, ever, in their lives and especially before the age of 10. Yet, Eniyahs strength has never lived in her sickness, it laid in her strength to show others what is possible to show that who we are coming from something deep inside of us, long before we even know what that thing is.

Stuart Scott famously stated, “Every day, I am reminded that our life’s journey is really about the people who touch us.” In January of 2019, Eniyah and her family celebrated the culmination of her three-year odyssey to officially become cancer free! As a child, she’s been asked to understand a lot, yet one thing she may never understand is how her courage gave others courage, her fight made others fight, her joy made others joyful and her victory is a victory for anyone who ever wanted to quit.

Eniyahs victory will now radiate into her young life and through her into the world, young people like her emit the light, life, and love that many of us spend years trying to attain. Cancer as it were, never had a chance against Eniyah, because she is the victory and that among many other reasons is why she, is Black History, today!

Upendo!

-MLH


Black History Today: Ryan Wilson and TK Petersen, creating space for brilliance

Black History Today: Ryan Wilson and TK Petersen, creating space for brilliance

This post is part of an ongoing Black History Month series written by Marcus Harden, a truly unsung hero of South Seattle, as he honors the living legacy of Black history in his community and beyond, and recognizes the people who are shaping the future.

Read More

Black History Today: Brayon Blake, a reflection of present greatness

Black History Today: Brayon Blake, a reflection of present greatness

This post is part of an ongoing Black History Month series written by Marcus Harden, a truly unsung hero of South Seattle, as he honors the living legacy of Black history in his community and beyond, and recognizes the people who are shaping the future.

Read More

Black History Today: Jamal Crawford, superstar mentor and hometown hero

Black History Today: Jamal Crawford, superstar mentor and hometown hero

This post is part of an ongoing Black History Month series written by Marcus Harden, a truly unsung hero of South Seattle, as he honors the living legacy of Black history in his community and beyond, and recognizes the people who are shaping the future.

Read More

Black History Today: Anita Koyier-Mwamba, brilliant mind and beautiful spirit

Black History Today: Anita Koyier-Mwamba, brilliant mind and beautiful spirit

This post is part of an ongoing Black History Month series written by Marcus Harden, a truly unsung hero of South Seattle, as he honors the living legacy of Black history in his community and beyond, and recognizes the people who are shaping the future.

Read More

Black History Today: Kendrick Glover, a gem of a mentor creating change in South King County

Black History Today: Kendrick Glover, a gem of a mentor creating change in South King County

This post is part of an ongoing Black History Month series written by Marcus Harden, a truly unsung hero of South Seattle, as he honors the living legacy of Black history in his community and beyond, and recognizes the people who are shaping the future.

Read More

Black History Today: D’Vonne Pickett Jr., fearless dreamer at home in Seattle's South End

Black History Today: D’Vonne Pickett Jr., fearless dreamer at home in Seattle's South End

This post is part of an ongoing Black History Month series written by Marcus Harden, a truly unsung hero of South Seattle, as he honors the living legacy of Black history in his community and beyond, and recognizes the people who are shaping the future.

Read More

Black History Today: Dawn Bennett, empowering educational activist

Black History Today: Dawn Bennett, empowering educational activist

This post is part of an ongoing Black History Month series written by Marcus Harden, a truly unsung hero of South Seattle, as he honors the living legacy of Black history in his community and beyond, and recognizes the people who are shaping the future.

Read More

Black History Today: Bookie Gates, a local hero with a bat

Black History Today: Bookie Gates, a local hero with a bat

This post is part of an ongoing Black History Month series written by Marcus Harden, a truly unsung hero of South Seattle, as he honors the living legacy of Black history in his community and beyond, and recognizes the people who are shaping the future.

Read More

Black History Today 2019: An Introduction

Black History Today 2019: An Introduction

The Black History Today series began as a way to honor the everyday heroes in our communities who live selflessly serving others without the fanfare they deserve. Please join me in celebrating these wonderful people by commenting, sharing your stories of them and sharing in the love of those who are indeed Black History, Today!

Read More

Rise Up for Students stands with the Unist’ot’en and the Wet’suwet’en

Rise Up For Students stands with Wet'suwet'en, the Unist'ot'en, and all those fighting and suffering from colonial injustice.

Remember: to know and to do nothing is to be complicit.

Visit the Unist’ot’en Camp Supporter Toolkit. Stand up as yourself and take action.

KUOW: Seattle Indian Health Board could shutter weekend clinic, cut treatment beds in half if shutdown continues

KUOW: Seattle Indian Health Board could shutter weekend clinic, cut treatment beds in half if shutdown continues

It's important to note that our most marginalized communities are first and most deeply affected by our government's acts of white supremacy.

It's not enough, though, just to take note of this. Noticing is only the beginning? What can we do? What will you do?

It is usually too late if we only wait to react. We must begin actively dismantling the structures and systems that create and enable this kind of violent inequity in order to prevent it happening over and over again in the future. This begins by examining your own role and participation.

Read More