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March Founder's Corner Blog

Today begins “our” nation’s celebration of Women's History Month. For me, it is a time of reflection and,  most importantly, an opportunity to return to my “Roots.” As an African descendant of slavery, I stand tall on the shoulders of strong, courageous, resilient, and humble onyx Queens, embracing their individual parts and sum. My enslaved Queens crossed the Atlantic Ocean in the hulls of rocking ships. They lay in squalor - arms and feet shackled - positioned head-to-head, side-by-side, and toe-to-toe with those who spoke different languages. Chained to captives taken like themselves from countries throughout the African Continent.

 

As their ships sailed farther and farther away from the Motherland, my Queens were consumed by escalating terror, as soulless enslavers viciously raped, starved, and dehumanized them. No one can imagine the horrors withstood. Even still, epitomizing the strongest of the strong - mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually – they survived.

 

Stepping onto the soil of Auschwitz, Europe’s second oldest concentration camp in Poland, several years ago, I heard haunting cries of agony seeping from beneath me. The cries pierced my heart as I walked towards the oven where millions were cooked to death, simply because of their religious beliefs. Scarred, I could not enter. While in Ghana, West Africa, last October, my Ghanaian ancestry came to the fore for I experienced the pain borne by my Queens.

 

Journeying into areas where their lives were forever stolen, my heartache magnified and worsened when peering into the small jail cell where they awaited their fate.  And even more so, while walking the path taken by them to a small pond of dirty water where they took their last baths. Finally, I had to suppress screams when reaching the edge of the Atlantic where they were thrown onto ships like cargo. My Queens left legacies worn like armor through four hundred generations of my family. Their rivers of blood strengthened us, so that we, too, survived. I honor them by running over obstacles, clutching the hands of those running behind.

 

In Sisterhood,

 

Velveta

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