Wherever you are, I’m there with you (Ludwig van Beethoven).
Imagine a young boy beaten harshly by a drunken father and told to practice his music. Imagine that young boy’s desire for power to protect his mother and his brothers from the tyrannical abuse of his father. Yet, his only weapon was the thing that he had been beaten to pursue – music. Submit he did, as only a child could. But he not only excelled at music but became the famed successor of his teacher, Wolfgang Mozart. Who is he? Ludwig van Beethoven. You know him for his symphonies, his opera, and his love inspired “Fur Elise.” But, his love kept him composing music long after he had become deaf, composing the “Missa Solemnis” as a tribute to God.
Love is a movement that transforms the world. Out of the hellish passages of slavery and the oppression of systems that seemed determined to limit the accomplishments of many minorities, the stories of success continue to be told, wrapping the globe with a band of love.
One such story is of a scientist who grew up as a slave in the Deep South. With no resources besides his education, he dreamt of success and economic liberty for his people. His name was Dr. George Washington Carver. Dr. Carver saw the land, he saw the people, and he saw the rejected step child – the peanut. Committed to his scholarship and his passion to liberate his people in every way, Dr. Carver discovered more than 300 uses for the peanut that brought wealth into the homes of his people (https://sciencing.com/list-things-dr-george-carver-invented-peanuts-5896.html). Today, the peanut remains a cash crop for farmers, as well as serves as animal feed, and is used in the manufacturing colorants, soap, face creams, axle grease, insecticides, glue, medicines, charcoal, paper, soups, and the much-loved peanut butter.
Last year, for the first time in my life, I had the opportunity to attend the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) in Washington, DC. I had no idea what would unfold as I worked in the midst of the civic and faith leaders from the Caribbean and African communities. As I hurried through one of the most prestigious hotels in the city, the Renaissance Marriott, I saw a dark hand stick out from the row of seats on my left. When I turned to look, a gentle voice beckoned me over. As I stopped to speak with this ebony-hued mother, dressed in traditional African garments, I was struck by her calm voice. Her awareness of what I was doing at CBC surprised me, and even more her impassioned insistence that I take her number and call her after the events were over.
So, why is she important? She is Queen Mother Dr. Delois Blakely. Hers is the true story that inspired the movie Sister Act. In 1995, Queen Mother Dr. Delois Blakely was appointed “The Community Mayor of Harlem” and sworn in by former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. In 2009, she was appointed the Goodwill Ambassador to Africa for her extensive travels and relationships with the African Union to the United Nations. She has been given the task to deal with women, children and human rights issues of the African Diaspora and serves to share these findings with the United Nations. Queen Mother Dr. Delois Blakely serves the World as a Humanitarian Trailblazer for Human Rights, Women, Children and Eliminating Poverty worldwide (http://newfuturefoundation.org/about/history/). So, in a world of pain and suffering, love fuels Queen Mother to work for a better world for all people.
As we continue to celebrate February, Black History Month, and Valentine’s Day, let’s remember that love is active, love is powerful, and love refuses to accept “NO.” Janos Arany said, “In dreams and in love, there are no impossibilities.”
What is the proof of this? The proof is you. The proof is your dream that keeps waking up with you every day. The proof is in front of you as you read these lines. I continue to dream of a world for my little sisters and my little brothers where we understand each other a lot better and where we build more bridges instead of start more fires. The proof is in the final production of the much anticipated Dear Little Sister… for the girls who inspired it, the school community that nurtured us, and the host of family members, friends, and professional colleagues who want to be able to use Dear Little Sister … to touch the lives of all the girls that they know.
We are making it happen in just a few days. Our bonds of love have grown stronger as we dream a better future together. Roy Croft said, “I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you. I love you not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you are making of me. I love you for the part of me that you bring out.” So, we are working together to love you more. Look for it on Lulu Press.
As I close, remember, “You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. … We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. … And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others” (Marianne Williamson, 1996).
So, call a friend. Tell them how you are going to use fabric, words, oil, food, peanuts, music, dance, stone, metal, water, whatever, to love your world to be better.