Friday, April 7, 2017

A Daily Dose of Black Love & Black Resiliency

A Daily Dose of Black Love & Black Resiliency 

On Wednesday, one of my father’s dearest friends, a man I have known my entire life, made his transition and became an ancestor. I have been reflecting on what 'Mr. Papsy' as we all called him meant to me, my family and my community. He was a part of every special childhood moment. He was one of our family Sunday stops.

Daddy and Mr. Papsy were members of the Banda de Bomberos de Colon. This space was not only a space of pride for my father and Mr. Papsy but also for my entire family. When they marched through the streets of Colon, they were a visual of grace and pride for the entire city. We stood with pride, our hearts full while we marched along to that special drum beat. You heard that beat and you dropped everything you were doing to take this moment in. Oh, how I miss those days. 

Mr. Papsy's transition also took me down another reflective path of the good that came from growing up in a segregated Black community, Rainbow City and a majority Black community, the Province of Colon. I saw a daily dose of men and women like Mr. Papsy.  It started with my immediate family. Every time I walked out of my home, I saw an extension of that love, that resiliency and that pride. We did not feel we were missing anything and we moved in that way. With all that was coming at us, we thought and moved like we were the Sh…..:)

Recently when I was home I sat with Mr. Reece, another man I have known my entire life. He is also a visual of strength and pride. He is a retired Fire Fighter. When Mr. Reece and the Fire Department came to do Sparky presentations at school, you could not tell me anything. I knew all these men personally either through my parents or my friends. Sitting with Mr. Reece, hearing his stories about segregation, about the things these elders went through and the things that I will continue shedding light on, was a reminder of the depth of that daily dose of Black Love and Black Resiliency.

When elders in my community, who have been friends of my family, and pillars in our community pass away, it affects all of us. This is not extended family as I have had to explain in the US. This is family. Mr. Patsy is familia. 

Visuals of my father's face when he sees folks from his segregated community of Gatun are present today. Visuals of seeing elders who I have known my entire life like Mrs. Yearwood are present today. How that visual makes you heart full is what I am sitting with as I share this reflection. Visuals of my people in Colon, walking in the streets with pep in their step after years of being knocked down yet they keep getting up, fills me with joy.

I have always said that I knew I could be anything, do anything I set my mind to because I saw it done by these men and women who I now have come to learn went through way more than I thought. It is for that reason that I have begun building a Reparations case on behalf of this very community.

Segregation in Panama prepared me to rise up Black and proud every day. I give thanks to Mr. Papsy for being there for me, for my family and for my community. May the ancestors receive him with an extra special drum beat.  I give thanks to all who were a part of that daily dose of Black Love and Black Resiliency. I sit writing with a smile honoring the many visuals, sounds and feelings that come to mind. I hope you can see and feel some of it through my words. If you do, you will know why I will forever call this place Home. Home is where the heart is and today it is in the nurturing waters, the joyous sounds, the vibrant colors, the delicious smells and the beautiful faces of Colon. 

May Mr. Papsy rest in light and peace. I send an extra tight hug to Daddy for I know this one will land hard on him. That was his buddy, his Hermano. I send a tight hug to his family and to all the Bomberos de Colon. 

May we continue rising on the side of that daily dose of Black Love and Black Resiliency. May we never forget it.  May we lean on it every day as a reminder that, Si se Puede/Yes We Can. 
I rise up today thankful for that daily dose of black love and black resiliency. Feeling blessed that I sat before these elders, I move with this unconditional love that I was born into.  I rise up today wanting to hug those who are on the receiving end of this unbreakable love that hugs me. This love is the definition of, I got your back. This is how we roll, this is how I roll.

Ready for another day, I rise up as a proud Rainbow City girl, a Colonense full of Love. Forever C3!

In love and light,

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