This entry is inspired in part by a sermon I heard a few weeks ago preached by Rev. Dr. Otis Moss Sr. at the Proctor Institute held annually at Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee.
When you take away the labels and the layers , intersections boils down to identity and how are you making use of your time on the dash. The dash is the space between birth and death. Life is fragile. So make it count. What about those days when it seems everything is stuck in neutral or it seems call backs serve no real purpose other than to say your overqualified or just not what we are looking for. The voices who speak to say there’s essentially nothing wrong with you so just teach. Well news flash today’s K 12 classrooms aren’t what they used to be. Now back to identity, layers and what that has to do with the dash.The time we have on the dash is precious. Learning that sometimes its better not to settle and shifting takes longer than I’d like.
As many of you know I’ve previously spoken about the challenge of society making a person choose a particular identity to subscribe to for example in some circles it is simplest to an African-American although the weight that label carries is indeed a heavy one despite the many people who say “I don’t see color” or it doesn’t matter in this day and time. Or the gift that some of us that some of us have so graciously embraced as people of color.
Ecclesiastes chapter 3 opens with the famous poem of activities and their appropriate seasons along with the reminder that their is a season for everything. It doesn’t explicitly talk about gender in context to a hierarchy between the two but rather no one task is better or worse than another the two are equal. So if there is nothing new under the sun and activities are egalitarian by nature then these intersections of race, disability and gender are undeniable.
Although with scripture is evident in backing up this claim we live in a modern society which strives to make us choose. In the realm of disability I’ve been one who’s been told well you don’t look disabled mind you last time I checked all disabilities aren’t the same nor do you know my story or walked in my shoes.
In terms of gender and being female in this world my time spent at a women’s college has added to my confidence in this regard. The struggle in terms of pay how is it that although many of us work twice as hard we continue to be paid less and judged on a different standard her hair is too kinky, she is too thin, she is to thick, why is she wearing that. On the dash gender reminds me of time and expectations. It brings to mind thoughts of things have I yet to accomplish. Goals in terms of relationship, education ( Pleasant surprise my GPA at graduation from my masters in special education was higher than I thought. #untententionalscholar) and career.
Brings to mind thoughts of the Church and nonprofit circles where advancement is possible but at what cost. A reminder of an elderly woman who I met some years ago who informed me I couldn’t both a Rev. and Dr. because women don’t do that…..last I checked women have been granted full clergy rights since 1956 in the United Methodist Church. As it currently stands 14 women currently serve as bishop. In addition Rev. Leontine T.C. Kelly was elected the first African-American Women bishop in 1984, troubling it took so long but none the less she persisted. And last year the stained glass ceiling was shattered a little more when 4 African-American women were elected as bishop. My own calling as it it stands presently is not to serve as bishop but rather through social justice and education within the local church and beyond helping future clergy and others. Still discerning what exactly that looks like.
In terms of disability it is part of who I am but not its entirety. Tenacity is the word that comes to mind when I think about my own life and experience as a person with cerebral palsy. Hasn’t been an easy journey but all the more reason to keep pressing forward. In terms of the dash its fuel to the fire to beat the odds.
In terms of blackness on the dash black girl magic is here to stay! Black brilliance! Black Excellence! Its time we as black people affirm our excellence, affirm our brilliance and our excellence. How you may wonder? Vote, teach, be active in your community and learn your history. Use your skills to help others, uplift children and hold them to high standards. Children learn so much not by what we say but by what we do. You may never know that you are the only Christ or role model some child or other adult may encounter so live accordingly.
Guess that’s it for now. Be well. Live well on your dash. Remember life is precious!