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Life Is No Crystal Stair

I find myself coming to terms daily with life in a post 11/9 society where some are determined by whatever means necessary to “make America great again.” This nationalistic rhetoric, which echoes back to a time when my ancestors who survived chattel slavery, Jim Crow, and a culture of lynching were not even considered fully human, raises questions about what truth is, who possesses truth, and who benefits from truth. This language of possession serves as a platform to advance alternative facts – to normalize lying as acceptable behavior. This nationalistic noise raises concern about a tendency not to ask for clarity when G-O-D is invoked by some who self-identify as Christian to justify:

a) not feeding the hungry or caring for the sick,

b) not clothing, educating or housing children and their families,

c) denying access to medical care, and

d) the disregard for sentencing disparities that disproportionally affect the poor and peoples of color.



152 years after the legal abolishment of slavery in the U.S., Black boys and girls, men and women are trapped in a system of incarceration designed to keep them forever ensnared in a vicious cycle of enslavement and disenfranchisement. We continue to contend with substandard educational systems designed on ideologies that are often void of our children’s cultural realities. 152 years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, women who “believe in freedom” cannot rest as unarmed Black persons are killed because their very presence invokes a sense of fear in many who are paid to protect and serve.

152 years following the demise of a system that sought to destroy the very essence of our sense of self-worth, we are still climbing, we are still excelling, we are still blazing trails for others to follow, we are still determined to thrive against all odds.

Let us exercise the courage to recognize anything or anyone that seeks to thwart one’s purpose and being. We were given ears to hear what often cannot be uttered and hands to touch the untouchable. May we always be attentive to unarticulated hurt and pain that we are able to pierce masks of self-protection that have a way of pushing certain people to the margins of existence. We were given feet to go into places that have been constructed intentionally as bastions of oppression, blight and hopelessness. May we become beacons of light in neighborhoods whose residents are viewed as commodities by public and private landlords. We were given a mouth to speak truth to power and a heart to love unconditionally. Let us always question any proclamation that renders any human less than and purpose to meet others at their point of need.


When life is no crystal stair, wade in the water knowing in the depth of your soul that your spiritual inheritance has equipped you to live a life in the here and now that will have eternal implications.

May the work that you do always bear witness to a rich heritage characterized by a desire to always do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with God.


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