FREEDOMTWEET 2010Oral history says that when Grandpa Phil thought to question his owner’s actions, he received a stern warning to “let things be”, being told he could choose another wife and make more babies.

Grandpa Phil did just that — “let things be” and in 1869 married my 4th Grandmother Annie FAVER CARTER and yes, they had many babies.

Fast-forward 20 years. In 1885 in Washington-Wilkes, my other 4th Grandfather, James WINGFIELD, an emancipated slave, returns from harvesting his land and heads to town to cash in his crops. Family history says that he purchased a pair of “brogans” and pick-up needed supplies for his pregnant Wife, Grandma Catie DICKEY WINGFIELD and their children, before heading to church to pray.

At some point between Downtown Washington-Wilkes, church and home something happened.

The details are unclear but it has been said my Grandpa James was accused of “talking back” to a white man. As a penalty, he was removed from his home on Whitehall Street, never to be seen again.

Grandma Catie was 7 months pregnant, with 4 small children at home at the time James disappeared. A year or so later, relatives found my Grandfather’s brogans and boots in the woods, at the bottom of a hanging tree.

Two Grandfathers and two instances that totally shifted my Family’s destiny. Both men defenseless; one a slave who dare not speak-up; one a free man, murdered because he dared to speak-up.

What Does FREEDOM Mean To Me?

Freedom means that not only do I have the RIGHT to advocate for fairness and justice ~ I have a RESPONSIBILITY to do so!

When I speak-up, my Grandfathers and all the other Ancestors who sacrificed that I might know FREEDOM, are assured their sacrifice was not in vein.

My community advocacy says, that I REFUSE to shame their memory and FREEDOM gift with complacency and idleness.

There are MANY days I am startled, saddened and angered by the reality of just how fragile our civil liberties are in this Democracy we live in.

When Congressman John Lewis can be spat upon and called nigger in 2010 Washington, DC — something is WRONG. When discrimination can be passed into law in 2010 Arizona — something is WRONG. When “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is still being debated on Capital Hill in 2010 – something is WRONG.

I’m honest in saying I’ve lost patience with prejudice and resent having to burden my children with the skill of navigating around its constant presence.

And for the record, I am completely comfortable with my ability to make folks [begrudgingly] shed their blinders — if even temporarily — to see that there is more to living up to the premise of equality than just speaking it.

No you will not find silence here. No, you will not be able to take comfort in my complacency. No, I will not allow you to make me invisible or my considerations unimportant.

I have the right — the FREEDOM — to demand as much from society as it demands of me.

To answer the blogger’s question ~ What does diversity matter?

EVERYTHING when you live in a culture that doesn’t offer it freely. EVERYTHING when to abide by it laws must be passed, sanctions invoked. EVERYTHING when as a consequence of silence and diminished action, one witnesses the very liberties her Ancestors have fought and died for, fade away.

Diversity, as does FREEDOM matters because there are those who believe it doesn’t matter. There are those that don’t face the challenge of its lack — DAILY, as I do.

So long as these people have a voice (or blog), God willing, so will I.

~ Luckie.