Sierra Leone, Congo, Nigeria, Botswana, Ethiopia,Tanzania, and many other African Countries are the origin of the birth of my people. We were forced to come to a Country that needed us, but ironically, didn’t want us. They needed us to build this Country, yet they didn’t want us to benefit from the Country that we helped to build. Despite our ancestor’s challenges, they endured. As my great grandfather spoke to my grandfather, as my grandfather spoke to my father, and as my father spoke to me, I understand the broken road that my people have traveled. I am so proud to know that I come from people that refused to give up despite everything around them either directly, or indirectly, convincing them that they should. I am quite proud. From the men and women who drove the city bus to the men and women who told my mother that they heard me cursing in the streets when I was young, I’m proud. You see, to me, Black History Month is more than Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, and Frederick Douglas. To me, Black History Month is my mother who worked in an envelope factory with no air conditioning for far too little money, yet would shake the change from the bottom of her purse so that I could buy candy. Black History is my brother Mitch that I believed was so strong that he could conquer anything. Black History is Dr. Patricia Grant who taught me what a Black Educator could be. Black History is Gus Smith, the father of Kemba Smith, who taught me the lengths that a Black Man, could, and should, go if his child is ever placed in harm’s way. Black History is the countless men and women who live in our community that have dedicated their entire lives to making it better. These were, and still are, my heroes. They made me believe that I was special. Today, I understand that I’m special. As I have written, I have lived. As I have lived, I have written. With that being said, I have experienced my fair share of internal battles. I believe that the time has come for us to trust us. Trust us? Yes, trust us. I believe that the time has come for us to trust that the dreams that were planted inside of us are worthy of the world knowing that they are ours. I believe that we deserve to know just how many diamonds and pearls live inside of us. I believe that it is time that we not only understand, but demand that we are treated like Americans without the nuisance of getting lost in the “weeds” of racism. I believe that our children deserve better schools, safer neighborhoods, and closer villages. I believe. I have so many dreams that I’m afraid to let go of that I don’t even know where to begin. However, I know that it’s time that I begin. You should begin too. You see, your dreams are much larger than you. Your dreams are inadvertent maps to help others find their way when they are lost. It’s not about celebrating your accomplishments, it’s about celebrating the defeat of the obstacles that were placed in your way. It’s about celebrating all of the times that you had more month than money, yet you refused to give up. It’s about falling asleep with tears in your eyes, yet waking up with hope in your heart. It’s about trusting and loving you enough to allow others to see your light without the fear of them diminishing it. It’s time. It’s not even about money. It’s about purpose. It’s about continuing the journey that our ancestors couldn’t. They are still routing for us, as we will route for our children and grandchildren. It’s not too late. I am Black History. You are Black History. Black History is everyday the sun sets. Black Hope is everyday the sun rises. You are greater than you think you are, stronger than you think you are, smarter than you think you are, more beautiful than you will ever know, and worthy of everything that feels good to your soul. Black History continues on every day, every week, and every month…..Patrick
As always, this week, please do something for someone other than yourself for no other reason than to make their lives better. Also, if you make it to where you’re going, please don’t forget to leave a map for the rest of us. Always Choose Love.