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Part I: Listening to the brilliant, bold, awe-amazing thoughts and documented facts shared by Shaun King, writer/activist, was a pivotal moment for me. Traveling to Duke University on what ended up being a rainy Wednesday night was so worth the trip. Even a raggedy pair of faulty wiper blades, obstructing the road’s view, didn’t minimize the sense of empowerment that I felt while standing in applause for Mr. King’s well-delivered speech. Actually, I wouldn’t categorize it as speech, as he taught history lessons and expounded on current events, as if we were all a classroom full of knowledge-hungry students. He used the gift that he was given as a platform to inform; to impact change. 

Part II: As I browsed my social media accounts like I normally do in wind-down mode, I read the passionate words of a fellow writer, friend and college alumnus (I’ll refer to him as OD) about the impacts of the government shutdown. Reading and appreciating his eloquent flow of words, I exhaled in pride, but felt a little bit of guilt. He said it! He used his platform to educate us about what we may not have known. He used his platform to bring about the emotion of what we may not have quite connected to. He made me sad and proud, simultaneously. He, in the authenticity of his God-given makeup and talent, shared his soul. He used the gift that he was given as a platform to inform; to impact change.  Part III: Well, now I’m reflecting. I’m remembering an interview on CSPAN, aired on MLK Day, Monday, January 21, 2019. I don’t remember the name of the host, but the panel consisted of Angela Davis, a courageous woman, known most for her affiliation with the Black Panther Party during the Civil Rights Movement. Angela, who is still an activist today, shared the stage with Common, a rapper, actor and activist, who is and has been socially outspoken in words, though his music and otherwise, It was an amazing, informative and inspiring interview, culminated in honest, heart-wrenching, well-spoken dialogue. The conversation was sometimes light-hearted in nature, as it was obvious that there was tremendous respect and ‘like” for each other.  However, it was passionate and life-changing.

One of the things that stood out for me, was Angela Davis’ remarks about using your platform, whatever ‘it’ is,  to impact change. She shared that everyone isn’t cut out to be a ‘meeting’ person, whether in a leadership position or not.  She continued in expressing that we should follow our passion, do something that we enjoy, and use it as our platform for advocacy–to invoke change. At that moment, I thought, Wow! Both of them use the gift that they were given as a platform to inform; to impact change. The second thought was, Am I doing that?

Part IV: I know the purpose of this blog! God has revealed that to me. Authoring The Cherry Vine is very therapeutic.  It warms my spirit, in that I’m able to inspire others through my writings. Is it a gift? I think so, but how much am I using it to inform and impact social change? Although I’ve touched on a few issues, it doesn’t seem satisfactory after being blessed to hear/read the thoughts of the aforementioned vessels. I’m feeling like I want to and should participate. I’m feeling like I should share my sentiments. I’m feeling that I’m going to use the platform that I was given to inform on a different level today; to hopefully invoke thought and impact thought and change.

Conclusion: This shutdown is nothing short of insane in my book! How can something like constructing a wall be the catalyst for jeopardizing the livelihoods of folk who chose to work for the U.S. government? Why can’t people representing our country, sounding our voices in absentia, not clearly understand that there needs to be an alternative to dangling the carrot of, ‘no-pay’ to folk who NEED their week-to-week, month-to-month income to survive? I sure do! What can’t they understand that this grandstanding is forcing folk to choose between providing lights and warmth and needed healthcare prescriptions and even cancer treatments? Sounding senseless yet? What about expecting folk to wake up, in normal routine mode, selflessly reporting to work with no expectation of pay? With so many other means to barter, negotiate, and mediate this fiasco, affecting the day-to-day lives of innocent people this way isn’t fair! These people aren’t pawns on a chess board! They are folk, imperfect, WORKING for a government that has done them an extreme injustice. Doesn’t The Declaration of Independence state that, “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness….”? Mr. Google has informed me that unalienable means, “cannot be taken away or denied.” And, as a former superintendent once questioned, “Does ALL really mean ALL?” ALL should be inclusive of those who are put in a position of decreased socio-economic status and sub-standard living, at the hands of those who are not subject to financial insecurity or have means to rise above economic lack! I am NOT in agreement with these war games! I am FOR some form of border security. I am AGAINST how we, as a country, are currently trying to attain a sane, humane resolution! Let people live the lives that they’ve worked for! Let’s continue to SPEAK—to use the gift of our platform to inform, to impact change for folk who are also God’s children!

I’m certainly no politician, political strategist, radio personality, TV commentator, etc., however, I do have an opinion.  I stand firmly in the opinion that the man who is responsible for being the leader of this country, the United States of America, should do what’s right for ALL people. Maybe He needs to be reminded that God is still in control! As my mom says, “He sees all; He knows all!”

Please join me in praying for the individuals and families affected by this senseless shutdown.  I also ask that you join me in praying for the hearts and minds of those who are allowing this to continue.  Please pray for peace and love, as it still reigns supreme, no matter what. I thank God for allowing me the opportunity to ‘SPEAK’ through The Cherry Vine platform. I thank Him for this voice—I’m humbled, I’m grateful, and I will use it! At this moment, my heart is speaking in sadness for what our brothers and sisters are enduring.

Peace & Blessings,

Lisa B

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