“Love is always new. Regardless of whether we love once, twice, or a dozen times in our life, we always face a brand-new situation. Love can consign us to hell or to paradise, but it always takes us somewhere. We simply have to accept it, because it is what nourishes our existence. If we reject it, we die of hunger, because we lack the courage to reach out a hand and pluck the fruit from the branches of the tree of life. We have to take love where we find it, even if it means hours, days, weeks of disappointment and sadness. The moment we begin to seek love, love begins to seek us. And to save us.”-Paulo Coehlo
I firmly believe that God is LOVE, so I want to first give honor to God for hopefully manifesting that agape love through me to others. Secondly, a big shout out to Matt Halverson at RiseupforStudents.org for his belief in all children, his belief in me and allowing me to join his platform to share about the dopeness that I’ve been blessed to encounter. Lastly to my Mom, Dad, my nephsons, young lives in the Batcave, friends, and family, just love, just love!
Now with all the mushy stuff out of the way, LOL, the dope thing about writing these has become that I learn so much more about people that I’ve been able to encounter in this journey we call life. We have so many local heroes/heroines that go in and out of our lives daily, we have to slow down sometimes and just say, I see you and all that you do.
The best part of Black History Today is the moment one of the articles are posted and you get to see all of the likes and comments from other people, sharing their appreciation for folks who don’t always get to hear how much they matter. Conversely tied for the worst part, is these being surprises to those being written about because I feel like I leave so much on the table about them and there only being 28 days in the month!
Writing these teaches me a few things, all things are lessons that God would have us learn. These are a few of the lessons learned:
Writing daily gives me great respect for anyone who writes for a living, as the process of writing is daunting in and of itself, coupled with making sure that to those who don’t know these people their essence is properly conveyed. You never truly know how much you use the word, embody until you’re writing every day, lol.
There are so many Black People, who are doing amazing things, some in synergy and some in silos. The collective impact is astounding, it makes you wonder what could be, even in a city like Seattle (where most of the folks are) if there was an opportunity for collective impact of all these incredible efforts and talents.
People who live lives of service, rarely ever take pictures by themselves. Amongst all of this year's Black History Today showcases, the hardest thing to do was to find a picture of them, alone. That common trend made me realize that being with, being near and loving on others just isn’t what these people do, it is indeed who they are. In a culture of selfie sticks and look at me, they are selfless and look at us.
To steal a quote from a great influence of mine, coach Walter Kramer down in San Antonio, “I am but a shallow reflection of the reflection of life that have shined into mine”. I would often have to take breaks from writing some of these and truly be grateful for the fantastic people that I have been blessed to encounter, whether in Seattle or LA, Atlanta or the Bay, in a world that doesn’t showcase ordinary people doing extraordinary things, it is not lost on me that I am indeed blessed to know them!
I truly am honored to be able to share about these people, please know the original list is much more than I can ever write about, which means there will be 27-30 more folks next year (and years to come) for us to learn about and honor. My hope is though that we don’t wait until February, or birthdays or the holidays to truly celebrate those in our lives that do amazing things.
My greatest lesson came in the same form through three of the features, Mrs. Jones, Justin Cheadle, and Jamal Crawford. Mrs. Jones is in the form of giving people the flowers while they can still smell them because she deserved that and I missed an opportunity to tell her the last time I encountered her, ironically, she teaches me one last lesson I won’t fall short on again.
Jamal, in the form of as the universe having it, me seeing him a couple of weeks after writing his and him saying, “We’ve known each other 20 years, I never knew you looked at me like that” which was striking to me, because I say what I wrote about him to everyone, but I’ve never said it to him, so sometimes we assume people know, even those who write articles to inspire us to share more gratitude, (message!).
Lastly with Justin, who I communicate with about fitness and life almost daily, who I never knew despite his success (Cal, NFL, Dope Father/Husband/Trainer) what the affirmation in the identity in being “Black” let alone “Black History” meant for and to him, his response moved me emotionally as at times in my life, I’ve felt that same way of not being “black” enough.
It speaks to affirming life into those who are our history, today. I truly thank you all for going on this year's journey with me, I hope you stick around for the bi-weekly blog, support RiseupforStudents.org other content and most importantly, love each other authentically and intentionally.
Each and every one of us is here for a purpose, somebody somewhere sees you! Keep showing up in spaces, keep making history in your office, classroom, kitchen, barbershop and just by being, you! Live today and every day with purpose and on purpose, as we’re all truly, Black History, today!