It’s late December, and mid-way through the end-of-year celebrations (which are going great, by the way). I have a few minutes to provide you with a holiday update, and I hope my words will inspire you to see your own present circumstances in a new, more favorable light.
This year, I’ve paid extra attention to the mental, physical, emotional, and financial wellbeing of others. That investment paid off. The highlights:
Someone was kind enough to gift me my very own Netflix subscription: a small but much appreciated gift. Now we can chat about our shared favorite new (or old) shows.
I am captivated by a show called Eureka (not on Netflix) – recommended by a five-year-old girl who is full of spirit. (She loved two women of color on the show: a medical doctor who is very smart and a sheriff deputy who is very brave.) When all else fails seeing the world through the eyes of a child – full of hope, curiosity, and great expectation – can remind us that we (you and I) are the light in a dark and often times cold and uncaring world. However, if we don’t activate and share our light those around us may never be kindled.
I ran, I ran, and – big surprise! – I ran! I am holding on to the things which fill me with hope.
Christmas Day was American-Brazilian-Italian themed.
I sort-of celebrated a socially distanced Chanukah with our Jewish family (they probably wouldn’t agree: of course, I made several missteps, however, I made every effort to not be so obviously out of the loop, and I sincerely appreciated being included by them in the Jewish celebrations, and they were touched that I cared enough about others to celebrate traditions not common to me).
Togetherness, love thy neighbor, humanity, sincerity, and philanthropy all shared center stage through all of our plans.
Not a single person among us boarded a plane, violated social distancing rules, or celebrated with anyone other than the immediate members of their household. We are having an AMAZING, well-organized holiday, because of the love and detailed planning which we incorporated by design, beginning in August 2020, to ensure that our loved ones have a memorable 2020 holiday season.
A unique female child made a special bond with a female doctor who has been patient enough to assure her (several times) by video call that she didn’t catch Rabies or COVID from a baby who drooled on her (she was also assured several times that her belly button was not a sign of chicken pox). The doctor prescribed several bedtime stories and a warm glass of milk (and answered many non-medical questions about fanciful conditions that only a child could imagine).
Rockefeller the owl was a favorite topic among the children, and the girls decided that Rockefeller is definitely a girl dad – because they love him so much.
Packages were sent (some by relatives, friends, and colleagues never met in person).
Packages were received.
Cards were sent.
Cards were received.
Traditions were made.
Traditions were kept.
There’s so much more to share. However, I don’t you to miss a moment of your holiday season.
My admonition to you all: Cherish one another. Love your neighbor. It’s the way to a happy ending.
Holidays are beautiful for some, and a painful reminder for others. This year, in particular, I can’t neglect my duty to craft a holiday message that is filled with joy but yet does not avoid the very real suffering that many have endured or are presently enduring.
Earlier this week, when I began crafting a holiday message for another Bella Caveat partner, I lamented that any words I would bring would fall short to deliver on the very real results which many in dire circumstances deserve. However, as I write to you now, I am quite confident that our words have power, and can both give and sustain hope – it simply depends on how we use those words.
A few years ago, a federal judge lambasted me in chambers. While spewing slights at me unapologetically, he screamed: “Who’s going to back you up?” referring to claims in my case which he opined were not welcome in his court. I was then forced to report that judge…and I promise to tell you all about it at another time. Today, however, I’m here to tell you that I stand firmly behind the words I bring to you, and my words have power, and are indeed backed up by even stronger actions. My words – and actions – are backed up by an army of the strongest, bravest, most resilient, and undefeated civil rights and human rights architects, engineers, and activists. Not to mention, the Lord, my God, hears my prayers. In the words of one of strongest Black women I have ever met, I have seen my savior’s face, and I know – my prayers are not wasted!
Unashamedly and with confidence I can and do declare that we – Black Women – are blessed! I can share my hope for you despite the injustice and suffering that we all see, because I have seen my savior’s face and my prayers are not wasted!
I have learned that a person who does not believe in God is a person who has never faced death (I haven’t heard of a single human who faced death without crying out to God), and following this same logic, my faith in God is unshakable! As a Black woman, and a descendant of U.S. government sanctioned slavery, if I relied on justice or equity from U.S. courts and institutions, I would not be alive today, because, as a Black woman, I have learned it is a fool’s errand to place hope and confidence in those who have and do demonstrate that my life is not valuable by their standards. Thus, my faith in God is strong, and I am alive today – in spite of those who actively desire to see me fall.
Take comfort in my words if it feels that you are opposed on every side, and for doing what is right and just. Indeed, I have often been perplexed as to why Christian churches in America do not support or stand by Black-American Christians (do we not serve the same God and read the same Bible? What do White Christians read in the Bible that comforts them as they silently watch Black humans murdered, raped, and denied justice in America? Why do they believe that Black girls being raped in Africa should be addressed from pulpits while the plight of Black girls in America is a non-event or easy fades from their memory?).
For too long too many of us have relied solely on justice and equity from a nation that willfully continues to deprive Black women and Black Americans of equal and equitable status with similarly situated peers (even while paying itself handsomely to do just that). Still – if you are reading this, you are alive despite in spite of all that you lack. You are a warrior! You deserve to take a day or two to celebrate.
The harsh reality of America is that when Hispanic, White, Asian, and immigrant Black women are accorded relief and status by the United States, Black female descendants of U.S. government sanctioned slavery are not treated equally or equitably to their female peer groups. (A Hispanic female who was on drugs, unlawfully in the United States, engaging in prostitution, and stripping as her ‘legal’ job was determined to be more deserving of relief than an educated Black woman whose character is beyond question. With a resume like that – prostitution, stripping, remaining unlawfully in a country, and drug use – that Hispanic young woman will probably be nominated for a Grammy or better yet – The Nobel Prize – because, of course, America selects and protects all the best people, so long as they aren’t Black American descendants of slaves. Of course, this sad and grotesque display mocking us all will be accompanied by gratuitous statements referencing perseverance, hard work, and The American Dream, omitting all truth and reality. Still, we are going to celebrate all that we’ve achieved this holiday season, because we are deserving.)
Black women – whose parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents did not immigrate to the United States – are treated as less deserving than Black women who more recently arrived, and of their free will – not as slaves or descendants of slaves. To pile on another injury, Black women who more recently arrived tend to highlight issues not expedient for American Black women or women who are not immigrants, and opt to not call for accountability, and to insist that they have achieved position and status because they are deserving, and not due to the efforts and sacrifice of Black women who have died and bled to procure freedom for American women. Thus, Black female descendants of slaves, remain – by treatment – the least valued and deserving of actual tangible assistance other than the obligatory lip service acknowledging the disparate and unjust treatment, which non-Black women still manage to turn into an economic benefit for women who are not Black descendants of slaves (often citing Black plight to secure lucrative donations and government contracts for organizations which do not meaningfully benefit Black descendants of slaves). Still, we are going to celebrate this holiday season in style – because we are deserving!
So, to the women who are discouraged by the racism and disparate treatment of Black women or women generally – this is simply the burden and privilege of leadership: take courage, relief and justice is on the way.
This year the common theme throughout my holiday greetings has been ‘love thy neighbor’ or rather a portrait of what it means to be a good neighbor and leader. To those women who feel forgotten I urge you to remember: those who are first will always be first. It isn’t a status that can be lost, replaced, or diminished, regardless of who or how anyone tries to re-write history. Be encouraged and be proud of all that you have achieved for all women – regardless of who tries to take credit for your victories. You will always be first! We will always be first.
At a time when Black humans are only acknowledged in America when they are ‘other’ – from other countries, having other accents, engaged in other-than decent and moral activities, I have the distinct and privileged honor of honoring ALL women, including the Black female descendants of slaves, who live up to the strength, courage, character, ability and excellence which is manifest by the best of us that accepted this challenge long ago. Therefore, this message – and my life’s work – is only for the best of us which I remind you is a choice that we all must accept. This cannot be inherited, claimed, or owned by entitlement, by race or nationality. Standard bearing is a hard and dedicated work which the best of us bear with grace and courage.
Putting our fight aside to celebrate and encourage one another, do not forget to give thanks. No matter what has been thrown our way we have overcome, and beautifully no less! We have not only a record of achievement to contend with, we have a status all our own which cannot be usurped. For the longevity of our important work, I urge you to set aside this fight only for moment to celebrate our innumerable blessings and to recharge, because the best is still yet to come!
With love, equity, and strength, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a victorious New Year!
A Queen is a Queen, with or without her Crown
End of year celebrations are here. We are so blessed to be able to commemorate this special season with you, and to bring you season’s greetings. To friends and loved ones near and far, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a truly Happy New Year.
Traditions run deep for me and our very diverse staff, and so, from our North American region, we’d like to share just a few of the responsible and socially distanced events and traditions which will take place.
The Birthday and New Year’s Eve Relay Run
The Holiday Bath
The Transatlantic Gift Exchange
The Mini Winter and Holiday Edition Triathlon
The Christmas Ballet
The Gentleman’s Serenade
The Ladies Ball
The Hot Chocolate Toast
The Chef’s Invitation
The Strength Competition
The Last Person Standing
The Carol of the Christmas Trees
The Family Advent Calendar
The Greatest Man of the Year Award
Christmas Eve Dinner
New Year’s Eve Dinner
The Feast of Fish
Yo Quiero Bailar
So, as you can see, we are not short on cheer around here, and we’d like to extend that festive holiday spirit to all of you – as our extended family
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
Your Extended Family
This body has not been cosmetically surgically altered.
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