Since pretty much everyone else on the She’s the First staff is hard at work doing a run through for Girls Who Rock, I figured that I would do my part and do a bit of blogging. So far, I’ve spent my Saturday going through a steady pile of laundry and packing for Girls Who Rock while watching Invictus (great film, I highly recommend it).
As I was watching Invictus, I couldn’t help but reflect a bit on some of the people who have inspired me most in my life and how their inspiration has helped me to achieve my “firsts.”
My greatest support in my life has always come from my amazing family. Without the encouragement of my incredibly strong grandmother, who was an ER nurse back in the 1940′s, I would not be attending graduate school right now. Without all of the sacrifices that my mother made for me throughout her life, I would not have had all of the opportunities that I have had to become who I am today. These people, these amazing women, have allowed me to accomplish my firsts. Now, through She’s the First, we, as a generation of young women that are accomplishing unforeseen firsts, have the ability to pass that gift of accomplishment on to an entirely new generation of girls across the world. We have the ability to change the course of history.
When I was in elementary school, we had to do historical profile papers for American History class. I thought long and hard about who I was going to choose for my profile. I wanted to choose someone who brought about change in our country, who respected humanity and wanted to better the world. I chose Martin Luther King, Jr. After doing a bit of research I found out that not only was Dr. King a revolutionary civil rights leader but his entire family was involved in his movement for equality, including his daughter Yolanda. Conveniently for me, she happened to be a friend of my mothers. Yolanda King, followed in the footsteps of her trailblazing parents, Dr. Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King. She was an author, a motivational speaker, and more than any of these, a crusader for the rights of all people. One of her greatest triumphs as a writer is a book she wrote with Elodia Tate called Open My Eyes, Open My Soul, a collection of poems and stories about the human family and strengthening our connections with contributions by Maya Angelou, Robert Kennedy, Stevie Wonder, and many others. Her family knew that writing and theater were going to be a big part of her life when she wrote her first play at the age of 8. She went on to get her undergraduate degree at Smith College and a Masters in Fine Arts from NYU…and then later…to meet and inspire a 12-year-old me.
There are certain experiences in your life that you will always treasure. Meeting and getting the opportunity to interview Yolanda King was one of mine. The day I got my acceptance to graduate school was another. I’m looking forward to many more of those treasured moments and I have a feeling that She’s the First will be involved in many of them. So thanks to all you girls (and boys) that are hard at work preparing for Girls Who Rock while I can’t be there. You’re helping to create an amazing event for Kisa Scholar Elizabeth David, and hopefully many others. See you Wednesday night, New York City….and then GIRLS WHO ROCK on Thursday night!!!!