March is Women’s history month, a time we celebrate the contributions and advancements of women. And on today March 8, we come together to recognize women from around the world in support of International Women’s Day.
My own life’s story is only made possible because of many strong women who helped to shape who I am. One of those women is my paternal grandmother, Sadie Mae Brooks. Mother, as we called her, was born in 1908, of Black, White and Native American ancestry. As a Black woman who lived in the Jim Crow South, she was unable to access much of the American Dream for herself. She lacked formal education, came of age before the 19th Amendment, was denied a right to vote after its passage, and had few options for legal redress for wrongs she experienced.
Mother had thirteen children of her own, while raising countless children of others, including me. No job was too menial or task beneath her in the journey of creating a better life for her family. She was led by her faith and believed in the betterment of all people. She often told me what kept her going through hard times was a belief that today would be better than yesterday, and tomorrow would be better than today. I have often relied on this principle in times of uncertainty. Mother also imparted in me a sense of self-worth and a belief that were no limits to my potential. Like only a grandmother could, she made me believe anything was possible for me and gained her joy through my success. I can remember vividly the smile on her face and tears of joy when she watched me graduate from Fisk University. Mother departed this earthly home many years ago, but her spirit continues to move me forward.
Women like my grandmother always gave more of themselves than they ever expected to receive in return. The fight for equity and inclusion by women has been a long-fought battle. Leading by nature and caring through nurture, women contribute to every facet of the human experience. During this Women’s History Month, we honor all the women who have created a path for others and whose contributions enrich our lives. You inspire us to believe that we #belong.