FOR MANY YEARS I have been asked to write a book. I never took the suggestion seriously or gave it much consideration—I was raised in a manner where the work I did for my community, for my people, was simply second nature. I saw this dedication in my parents, in my brothers; I see it now in my daughters and my granddaughters. I am one among many dedicated to fighting for justice and for our people. I am one among many who have been exposed to committed Black scholars, artists, activists, civil rights heroes, and survivors in the struggle for justice. I am not different from the others.
But, repeatedly, young Black people have asked me why I continue to work on issues of justice and how it is that I continue to have hope. I feel a responsibility to my biological and cultural family to answer these questions. In addition, many of my friends are no longer here, and our story must be told. With the understanding that each generation will find its own methods, these things challenge me now to find the words, to provide a context, to articulate a rationale for my years in the struggle.
My parents blessed me with childhood love and a sense of security. They raised me in a community where I felt protected. They talked with me and helped me learn who we were as a people. By teaching me to respect all people and to understand that in our struggle all contribute, they modeled for me how to love without hate. I inherited my values and my sense of duty and love for our people from my parents. These values have been a thorough and consistent guide in my life.
I believe that we carry the seeds of love and justice from our ancestors. I write this book for my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren with the hope that current and future generations will remember the strength of our ancestors, learn from my story, continue the struggle, and succeed in gaining justice for our people.