On December 17, 2020, a month after defending my dissertation on November 25, 2020, it dawned on me.
Its been one year after being shut down and locked in due to a global pandemic, a mass murderer! I reminisce about something I was sure I had lost and will surely miss. My graduation from Howard University. Its not just the regalia, or even the mountains I have had to climb, scale and struggle to get over, its the reality of being first generation. Knowing no one on either of my parents side of the family has attained this high of an education. Its the breaking the cycle of being an immigrant and first generation, setting and example for my children, and all children. Representation matters, and the ceiling now has billions of cracks from all the firsts, and audacity, and breakthroughs that have echoed across the globe.
Of course I am being selfish. I am not the only one this is happening to. My daughter who also graduate from Carnage Mellon University with her BS this season, is also being cheated, and so many other daughters and sons.
But I have to admit, for me, all of that culminated in THE LONG WALK. The time honored tradition over generations demonstrated on the campus of THE HOWARD UNIVERSITY. The drum beats, the camaraderie, the heartbeats and sounds and excitement of everyone walking their own path next to me, but on different journeys. Our feet, walking the footprints of all those who have come before us. Our cries an ancestral warrior armor of victory. Sigh!
So I wrote this short piece at 1:44am, in lament and joy for having been declared Doctor, and imagining the walk in my mind.
THE LONG WALK
I take the long walk from the valley to the yard
and I am finally a the top of Martin Luther King, Jr. Mountain Top
I look ahead of me and can finally grasp the dream
my ancestors as told by Lorraine Hansberry
My mind unshackled their lies can no longer hold me
The miseducation of a negro no more
See Carter G. Woodson? I soared!
Educated at Howard University
Set free from mental slavery
I've been tried and tested and stand resilient as I ascended
Standing for truth, service and excellence
I'm my ancestors wildest dreams
And you will respect me, even if you hate me
You cannot take from me, even if you politicize me
This is my walk