“It’s been a long, a long time coming but I know change is gonna’ come O yes it will”
In 1964 singer/songwriter Sam Cooke released the popular Civil Rights anthem “A Change Is Gonna’ Come.” I was six years old and remember those days in South Central Los Angeles just like it was yesterday. Who of us knew when that song was released, a change in social justice and equality would be so long in coming?
You see, I was born in a Negro steel mining camp in Birmingham, Alabama at the dawn of the American Civil Rights movement. My life is one true reflection of the harsh realities endured by my people. Mine is not a story of the American dream but more like a dramedy of the oppressed. Not a dream, just survival.
If a map were drawn to show my life’s journey, it would display deserts of hardships and abuse, unscaled mountains of soft racism and ebbing tides of physical pain. You would also see abundant shores of learning, expanses of the written word, oceans of conversations, caverns of artwork, rolling green hills of music, and even dancing in my valleys. My journey is one of growth, deliverance and great hope for the change that is to come.
In every season of difficulty and pain- whether my own or someone else’s- I find solace in artistic expression. Creativity sets me free, allowing me to understand and then express myself. Through the connection of my fingers with my mind to any form of media, I am delivered.
My life is about working in the trenches. My perspective is there purpose in caring for others. John 15:13 reads “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” I serve to the pleasure of King Jesus, from the Marine Corps in 1976 through my 35 years of work in the health care industry. Through it all, I have received so many blessings.
My greatest blessing on earth however, is being the mother of three successful young men. Each one wit
h an unknown capacity to express himself with amazing ease. I shudder to think about what they might face each day as young, minority males. If you have heard the news recently, you know what I speak of. I wonder daily “LORD when will that change come?”
When they were small, my sons and I enjoyed reading aloud. Together we read the works of the great Ted Geisel, better known as “Dr. Seuss”. He was one of the most effective and prolific communicators of our time. His creative voice encouraged others to succeed as he adeptly communicated in bright drawings and expressed his ideals through rhyme.
Dr. Seuss developed his first book to help people learn to read. He mostly wrote with humor while addressing social problems along the way. Long before we heard of Global Warming Dr. Seuss’s Lorax spoke out for the environment. In the story of “The Sneetches” Dr. Seuss teaches us about diversity. In his tale of the Sneetches and the sly Sylvester McMonkey McBean, the Fix-it-Up Chappie, Dr. Seuss speaks to the heart of discrimination.
He demonstrated through this one piece the kind of change that must come from within every heart. And I quote,
“The day they decided that Sneetches are Sneetches.
And no kind of Sneetch is the best on the beaches.
That day, all the Sneetches forgot about stars
And whether they had one, or not, — upon thars.”
When my life is done, I want a legacy of helping others find their way just like Dr. Suess. A legacy like Dr. Seuss’ is one that encourages the belief that every life matters when we value every life. The change that will come, will only happen when every man, woman and child learns to value every single life. This kind of change begins in the heart. Every person must find a change in their own hearts, the change that is necessary for us all to survive. Jesus taught that change by giving His life on the Cross. What about you? What do you believe in your heart about the value of others?