Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. Philippians 4:4 (KJV)
Before I do anything, prayer and scripture reading is the way I start my day. I have probably been doing this for several decades now. It was introduced to me back on 147th Street, South Ozone Park (NYC).
We were a family in that house. We were protected by each other. In all the houses on that street, men resided with the exception of the house where “The Sisters” lived.
In our home there were three men — my husband, my Uncle Junie and my Uncle Eddie. My husband was a hard worker, but alcohol and/or marijuana was part of his daily routine. My Uncle Eddie suffered with schizophrenia and believed the Queen of England put him up for adoption, which is why he was living in the USA. I used to wonder why some of the men in our family had such a hard time getting it together. I didn’t realize the magnitude of America’s intent to destroy them.
From the simple occurrences, such as a supervisor renaming them — because it was easier to pronounce) — to the more complex issues of paying someone’s salary “off the books” and then disputing their work hours/pay, leaving them without legal recourse, our family of men fought for daily dignity. Then of course, there were the numerous police stops, which thankfully did not result in bodily harm for them, but it sure cost a lot of money and time off from work to dispute tickets and bogus stops, and all the while paying higher insurance premiums during and after the fight.
Our country is something else. Thank God, He is still in control. His being in control does not equate to I am ignoring the mess mankind has created. On the contrary, I can count my present blessings IN SPITE of the mess, keeping me in a constant state of gratitude for what is going well.
I remember going to the Bronx Zoo and recognizing that at times, people would stare and then smile at our family of six. As a New Yorker, staring is an unspoken cultural “don’t.” During this visit with my husband and four children — three girls and a baby boy in the stroller — a woman said aloud to her companions, “Look at the family!” She was talking about us. We were a “Black” traditional family in 1992 with a mother, father, and children, on a trip to the zoo. It was as if we were…