In her own words...
"Thankfully before being shelter-in from Covid 19, I took the trip of a life-time. For the first time in my life, I visited the continent of Africa, traveling to Ghana. Before visiting I took an Ancestry DNA test where I discovered I am 93% African and 26% of that DNA is Ghanaian. So the trip was more than a vacation or my 40th birthday celebration, it was a coming home journey. During my trip, I wondered who is related to me because I was surrounded by many Africans of different backgrounds, highly educated, wealthy, and most importantly with a moral code of community.
Sometimes your life path takes you on an unplanned journey, and I am a true testimony of this. My journey started on the west side of Chicago in the North Lawndale area. Growing up here in the 80s was where I solidified my identity. North Lawndale is an area in Chicago that doesn't get much positive press. I must admit the neighborhood was crime driven and underserved. However, I was blessed to grow up on a block that had people like Ms. Mattie, Ven, and Ms. Mary who cared about the people on it – my first exposure to the community.
Over the years, I continue to have a community of people that speak blessings into my life and encourage me to keep reaching for my impossible dreams – even when I was living the opposite. This encouragement propelled me to pursue a career in television broadcasting. It still amazes me that I put myself through Western Illinois University and earned a degree in Communication with an emphasis in television broadcasting. But I had those blessings of encouragement that said keep reaching. That degree took me to Des Moines, Iowa, West Palm Beach, Florida and eventually the big return home to Chicago having conquered working in the television broadcasting industry for 17 years. Because of those blessings of encouragement this young lady from North Lawndale (against the odds) has worked for 5 television stations, 1 minor league sports team, a nonprofit media company, and a sports television station. A big thank you to my community for the encouragement!
A familiar moral code of community was the connection I felt when I arrived in Ghana. My ancestors were taken from their native land, but their moral code of community was not destroyed. They still share a feeling of fellowship with others, common attitudes, interests, and goals. Being a little girl from North Lawndale I would've never thought I would have the opportunity to return my ancestors, whose shoulders I stood on and now was in their home. While I was in Ghana I was welcomed by the community - Emerald Jane, Mama Ama, Aaron, Jalil, and the most important person Ava who gave me life. No matter where I go from here, whether I am in the motherland or North Lawndale I’m thankful for being blessed with a heritage of a moral code of my community."
Participants in this project will be supporting the efforts of Dress for Success Worldwide – Central. We are all stronger together and it is my sincere hope that we will be inspired by each other’s stories. Now is the time to celebrate as well as encourage one another. Tell your story!***