January 9, 2016

Loving My History, Culture, People and Myself

I didn't know why, but I had to find Dupp and Swat in Charlotte, NC.

  Didn't know, but the moment I walked in I figured it out.  

I saw this shirt the moment I walked in. 

That was the reason I needed to go there. To get this shirt. When I got home I put on the shirt and felt like a million$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ dollars. I felt all the wisdom and the glory from People With Color (I want to make that stick instead of People of Color) over the ages of time all the way back to the Ancient Egyptians. 

Loose. Free. Love Me. Love Us.    

December 30, 2015

Rest In Peace Justice Pharr Ward

Again...it happened again...
A young person that I knew. Gone. Died. Unexpectedly.

Death does not happen to just the aged.
Death comes to everyone.
Expect death to come.

Prepare for death to come.
Leave a legacy.
Pick a favorite color.
Pick a favorite song.
Prepare your family.

Death. Coming for us all.

Death came for Justy.
She left a legacy.
She had a favorite color.
She was a song. She was music. Beauty.

Rest in Peace Justice. I am thankful for knowing you and experiencing your beauty.

November 13, 2015

In Memory of Justin Wray Hilliard

I don't understand.

My son's friend Justin Hillard is dead at 30 years old. Killed by a bullet that as my son put it: "wasn't meant for him".

So much life left to live.
So much hope.
Now so much pain, anger and disbelief.

As a parent of a black child, teenager and young man you live in fear of this day. Well, this day is here for Justin's mom.
I just don't understand.  Do. Not. Understand.

This was a young man with so much promise.
This was a young man who read the newspaper EVERYDAY when he was in high school.  Smart. Kind. Happy. Always smiling. 

This was a young man whose life was cut short and it doesn't make sense. 

How and when do I tell my son and his friends that they need Black Folders too???  Good Grief.  

Rest in Peace Justin. 
Rest in Peace. Justin Wray Hilliard

September 12, 2015

What Legacy Will You Leave?

The above is a tree that is on the grounds of Historic Brattonsville plantation.  Saw it while visiting during a "By the Sweat of our Brows" program.  

Being from the Williamsburg Virginia area I have visited many plantations. I am always drawn to the old trees on the these plantations because they are living which mean they were THERE during slavery.  

It is always interesting to watch the folks dressed in garp of that day retelling stories from training sessions that taught them what happened on that plantation or during those times. THEN I look at the gnarled trees with their large canopies that just STAND there KNOWING what happened. 

This tree says --- LOOK AT ME ---- LISTEN TO ME ---- I KNOW!

Then I think ---- what will last when I'm gone?  What will say I was here? What legacy will I leave? What about you??? What will stand and tell your story when you're gone? I mean really...think about that.

July 4, 2015

Charleston's Emanuel AME Church

This 4th of July Holiday I decided to go the Charleston SC. 

Since the shooting I have been meditating on those who were killed, the killing itself, the church bells ringing, the unity, the funerals, President Obama singing and the lives that were lost.  

I worked on a prayer rock over the past two weeks, and kept it on my kitchen table and just stared at it as I lit a candle and had my daily meals.  On the back of the rock I put all the names of those killed.  They each had fascinating stories and lives and who would EVER imagine you could go to Wednesday night bible study and die there. 

Driving into Charleston was not a long ride but seemed to take forever.  I was getting caught up in my head and wondering exactly what I was doing THEN I saw a billboard with Cynthia Hurd's name and nine candles then knew exactly why I was driving to Charleston.  I remembered their stories, my meditation and I started to cry because reality was settling in.  This happened.  This was real.  These were real people.  I didn't have to meet them to know them.  My meditation on their lives told me that I knew them.  They were me and I was them. 

At the Church 

After I found the church and parked I walked ceremoniously down the streets of Charleston with the rock in my hand.  I got to the church and held the rock while I prayed and waited for the when and where I was suppose to place it. 

A lady came up to me and asked if she could take a picture of the rock.  She was nice.   She became emotional and I understood.  It was hard to be in a space like that and not feel something.   It was if all humanity was right there at the foot of that church. 

I stood there about 30 minutes waiting for a sign for placing the rock and then it came.  Two men came up and each gently placed one single flower on the memorial. That was the place, with their flowers.  It felt right.  

It was Rock Bottom but Love was there. 

All I kept thinking was this happened in 2015.  This actually happened.  Below are some pictures to help remind me that this actually happened.
Back of the Rock
Loved This Poster!

Rock Bottom - At the bottom of the stairs

The Rock in front of the flower and Jesus Candle

The Memorial and Folks Paying Respect
Amazing Story of the Church

Rev. Pinckney's name is still on the kiosk

June 21, 2015

The Time Has Come

I initially hate it when this happens to me.  

Having to do things I don't want to do.  
Go places I don't want to go.  
Stay places that I don't want to stay.  
Knowing that my life is guided. 
Knowing that I have to follow whether I want to or not. Whether I'm ready or not.  

The time is here.  
I have to do this.  
I don't have a choice. 

I have to be bold and just do it. I have to care not what others think.  
I have to be okay with rejection.  I have to believe that the Spirit will do It's work and use me to carry it out.  

I sit here with a box of black folders, other materials, a workshop design. All weekend trying to decide when to go to Charleston SC and the Spirit said I need to you do your part right now and that is not driving to Charleston that is putting together black folders for all of your family and friends.  

That is stepping out on faith and calling some places of worship and offering the workshop.  That is helping people not be afraid of death or life. 
That is helping people to live out their lives doing the will of God as they understand God to be.

So, now, The Black Folder Project's time has come.   

May 12, 2013

Be Kind Today

Time and Timing is Everything

Everything Happens In It's Own Time

You Can't Rush Progress and You Can't Stop Momentum

Everything is Unfolding As It Should, Weather You Agree Or Not

Living. Alive. Today. Tomorrow. New Day. Dawn.
Death. Gone. Remembered. Loved. Still. 

Another Day. Another Year. Another Mother's Day.

Today:  Be Kind. Be Kind To Yourself First.  
Be Kind to Everyone and Everything Today.

Say:  "If I were going to be Kind what would I think?  
What would I do?"  
Then...think it and do it.

Living is a challenge for EVERYONE, so
Just Be Kind
~Ridea Richardson