A Tribute to My Grandma


They chose life when hope unborn had died. They chose to love us knowing that a better time would come. I wonder why so many people lack hope today? If our ancestors who struggled to simply have enough food, water, clothes, and shelter to live could find joy enough not only to survive, but fight for better under the harsh realities of American slavery, why can we not find the same hope today?

Grandma said that our ancestors’ legacy to us is the power of love in action. They believed in the power of love to change lives, circumstances, nations, and even our world. They loved us; seed, yet unborn. They chose to live, when it would have been easier to die, in order to give us this future that we are living today. They didn’t allow whips or chains to steal their freedom. They didn’t allow violence or torture to corrupt their souls. They endured hardship and slaughter, sharing love with God and neighbor, despite the harshest of circumstances—proving that love always triumphs over evil when love acts to.

That’s another thing Grandma insisted that I deal with. When I told her that I hated white people for what they had done to Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, and countless other Black bodies, you should have seen that disgusted look she got on her face. She asked me, “Who are the white people you hate, chile?” She reminded me that in every ethnicity there are people who make good and bad choices. She told me stories about the brave white folks who personified courage, putting their own families’ safety on the line to shelter runaway slaves on the Underground Railroad, speaking out for freedom in the abolitionist movement, giving their lives in the Civil War, and marching with Dr. King to bring about the end of legalized segregation.

She said, “Don’t you be as bad as them racist white folks who hate us.” She reminded me that we are called to love and not hate and that I have an obligation to be honest about the fact that there are a lot of good white folks out there who have helped our people along the way.

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This call to honesty was one of Grandma’s best traits. She was a straight shooter, and she didn’t put up with any mess. She said that “Denial was of the devil,” and that God’s truth always triumphs over Satan’s lies. She said that it was about time that white and black people stop lying about what happened in our country and simply confess the fact that it is wrong that human beings were held in bondage for over two hundred years and then subjected to an apartheid state for another one hundred years.

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