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.


“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!