On April 18, 2018, my wife, my youngest daughter, Jerri, and myself traveled to Charleston, West Virginia to attend the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. 87th Great Lakes Regional Conference. The title of the conference was more than approximate: “Mountains Moved: The Power of Progressive Leadership.”
Why were we in attendance? First of all, our three daughters, Toni, Kim and Jerri are active members of the sorority. Second, Toni, after for years of being elected to the position of Great Lakes Regional Director, was retiring and she wanted her parents to be present. It was not my first conference, it was my second, so I was definitely not surprised when we went into the convention hall.
If you have a true sense as to how far we as a people had to travel, the obstacles that we had to overcome, such as too many of our brothers and sisters being indoctrinated with the mindset that we would never succeed, you would almost cry, as the convention hall filled up.
It is ironic how much things change, but on the other hand, much remains the same. That particular phrase came to mind as the introduction of the guest and speakers. All of them had BA, Master, and/or PhD. I could hear my father, with a third-grade education, telling all that would listen to him, “Go to school, go to school. No one can take an education away.”
Almost everywhere I went, I would be asked, “Are you Toni’s father?” or, “You should be so proud of Toni,” “Toni is this, Toni is that.” My answer was generally “Thank you,” but if they were persistent I simply responded by saying, “We have three daughters and all three are special.”
As I close this week’s column, my wife and I did not just fill the role as proud parents of Toni, but as the role of parents at least in spirit who were not present. Too frequently, the media portray the overwhelming majority of their coverage as negative actions by Blacks.
However, this week, we witnessed a positive conference of over 1,300 Black persons, college graduates and college students who symbolize the best of today and tomorrow.
(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a contributor to the New Pittsburgh Courier.)
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