Mixed Media Sculpture by Pennsylvania artist, Elizabeth Asche Douglas.
“The Tower of Babel.”
Courtesy of Lynda McKinney Lambert, from her private permanent collection of art.
Be My Guest, Terri Winaught
Terri lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
WHAT WOULD I SAY?
by Terri Winaught,
During a brutally honest conversation a friend and I had about race, she shared a dialog in which a Black woman said to her, “You owe me for 400 years of slavery!”
“I don’t owe you anything because I didn’t do it,” my friend responded.
After giving that interaction much thought, I asked myself what I would have said if confronted with that observation about debt. Although it’s impossible to be sure how I would have responded, I’m certain about my thoughts which follow:
“You’re absolutely right about how much I owe you. I owe you gratitude for a culture rich in accomplishments too long denied. I owe you for lasting legacies not only of well-known pioneers like the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr., but also for the lesser known contributions of 1948 Nobel Peace Prize winner Ralph Bunche, and Doctor Carter G. Woodson, whose first “Negro History Week” in 1926 has become the celebratory Black History Month. All of that said, you also owe yourself.”
And, I continued:
As a person who’s White, I have no right to tell you how, when, or even if you should heal from the multigenerational pain of PTSD (Post Traumatic Slavery Disorder). I would encourage you, though, at least to consider the healing possibility of reconciliation because you deserve so much better than to have your strength sapped by anger that abates only after you’ve lashed out at someone you don’t even know. You deserve to be blest by the knowledge that not all people who are White disrespect you. You deserve to be assured that many of us respect-and are in awe of the resiliency that has molded generations of strong Black women. You deserve to be proud of the beautiful you that Divine hands created.
Yes, I do owe you lots and I can do a better job paying that debt if we cross the alley of acceptance together, and arrive at the intersection of dignity and respect.
There may _never come a day when _everyone is willing to reach out in hope and healing, but I sure am. What about you?
TRIBUTE TO TANEA
by Terri Winaught
I wish I could have known you, baby girl: born in a decade of challenge, change, pain and promise.
I wish I would have known you, when your voice became a harp that enchanted listeners, soared to the sky like a robin, and sang the sun to sleep.
If I would have known you, when cancer began stealing so much like the cowardly, cruel thief that it is, I would have shaved my head if that would have helped you feel less alone and different.
When I get to meet you, I’ll have so much to tell you.
I’ll tell you how happy I was to meet your father after 50 years of waiting and wanting.
I’ll tell you what a warm, welcoming and gentle woman your mother is.
I’ll tell you that your daughter is such a precious, priceless gift, that your soul must have sung lullabies of love
when you first saw her.
I know I’ll get to meet you when the fevered pitch of my Earthly life is done, and I’m called to my eternal home.
With eyes that will see for the first time, I’ll survey the features that make you special, embrace you, Tanea, as if I’ve always known you, and our dancing feet will create works of beauty.
When trumpets blare along gold-paved streets, we’ll know that our tears have turned into rejoicing, and life is now complete!
Essay and Poem by Terri Winaught. Copyright January, 2016. All rights reserved by the author. This poem was written In memory of the daughter of Garnet Mimms.Listen to Garnet sing Cry Cry Baby
Terri Winaught: Bio:
Terri is the editor of Consumer Vision Magazine and is an active member of a writer’s group known as Behind Our Eyes. Her work appears regularly in Magnets & Ladders Literary Magazine, Consumer Vision Magazine, and in Behind Our Eyes: A Second Look Anthology.
Anytime something is important to Terri Winaught, she shows it by being passionate. In fact, Terri likes to joke that she was so passionate about entering the world that she arrived three months early.
During her 62 years, Terri has been passionate about racial justice, equality for persons with disabilities and doing what she can to help others. Terri lives in Pittsburgh, PA, where she has been married for over 10 years, and is the proud mother of two grown children. Terri loves singing in her church choir; participating in a writers group; and listening to 1960s soul music.
In celebration of Black History Month, you may visit this link to watch a video of the African American Poety, Rita dove, speaking about her work. Rita Dove – Video