After watching Hidden Figures this weekend, I had a renewed resolve as to why my grandmother constantly educated me (in her own way) about the civil rights movement. In the movie, each African-American woman had her own discrimination struggle to deal with at NASA. Yet these courage ladies – Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson served as the brains behind one of the greatest space operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit.
My grandmother, like many African-American women who lived through the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s, was one of many “first” to work in Corporate America. She endured many days of hardships of discrimination, being talked down to, and not being given the proper tools in many instances to do her absolute best on the job. Yet, she kept a cool head, persevered and brought lessons learned home to her family. My grandmother would say things like, “You can be anything you want to be, if you put your mind to it”; “No matter what other people are doing around you, make it a point to be excellent – because greatness is in your blood.”; “If you are going to be successful in the workplace, you have to learn how to play the game.”; “The small things you do, add up to big things in the end. So, be careful to always do your best, maintain your integrity, and do the right thing.”
However, one of the most memorable things that she constantly told me was, “God made you sooooo funky, that no one can hold a candle to you. You are such a designer’s original, that no one can do what you do, the way you do it.” Because of her, I really don’t have any inferiority complexes about the color of my skin, my intelligence level, or anything else that would keep me from being who I was born to be.
As we move forward in the coming days, I want you to know that whether you are African-American, Caucasian, Mongolian, Native American, etc, etc… – God made us all unique, and we all have something special to contribute to this world. No one is better than the other. At the end of the day, we all bleed red blood, we all have feelings, we all want the best for our families, and we are all human beings.
We have the power to change the world through prayer, our own thought life and how we treat one another. Don’t let the negative talk of the coming days stop you from doing what God has put in your heart to do. If God is for you, who can be against you?
Above all else, continue to learn who you are, let your actions bring Glory to God, and teach your children how to love one another.
With Love Always,
I am, T.R. Hopson
Optimal Living Magazine
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