Each morning for 21 years, I have awakened to find out if my community was alright by checking emails and voice mails after my prayers. Many of those messages have led to more prayers and all were messages of motivation fa keep gwine on.
21 years ago when I would log on I wasn’t inundated with hundreds of emails in one day, but it rapidly built up to that. Many of these messages were like the ones I get via social media now from people who believe that their people are Gullah/Geechee and they want to connect or reconnect. The difference back then was that there were a lot of people that truly knew where they were from and had moved away from home. They had heard my voice over the airwaves and it drew them to call the 800 number and leave a voice mail. A lot fewer had email then, but the ones that did found my email address by locating the first website that was ever placed on the internet with “Gullah/Geechee” in the name. That was the website for the “Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition“(www.GullahGeechee.net) which is the first organization in the world to have “Gullah/Geechee” in the name.
Uniting the terms “Gullah” and “Geechee” with a “/” was a conscious decision to show that we sought to bring back together and keep together our people. Since that time, there was a vote amongst one government funded group to put a space between the words so that they would not be considered a part of the work that we had done to unify the people. Believe it or not, the unifying and the consistent uplifting of the positive things and the powerful historical legacy of the “Gullah/Geechee” led to threats of various kinds including death. The same individuals that were the source of the threats have also caused division by trying to monetize and exploit a people whose culture rose from one of the most tremendous exploitive actions of human beings that ever took place on the planet-monetizing human beings and their intellectual property via chattel enslavement.
The Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition has fought against the re-enslavement of Gullah/Geechees as well as the misrepresentation of our culture and displacement of our people from our homeland from Jacksonville, NC to Jacksonville, FL. Yet, not everyone wants to be free unfortunately. So, as Ella’s Song says,
“We who believe in freedom cannot rest!”
Our work continues with those that believe in self-determination and who support self-sufficiency. It continues with global supporters that stand with us to fight for the human rights and land rights of Gullah/Geechee people. It continues with those that seek to insure that we have a high quality of life on the Sea Islands by working with us on environmental and environmental justice issues including climate change effects and sustainability. It continues with those that stand for and with the Gullah/Geechee Nation and the unity therein. Tenki Tenki ta GAWD fa all hunnuh chillun wha wan we fa be who webe!
21 years after simply beginning to do what I thought could potentially help my people to remain on our land, I look back over my life and give thanks to GOD for the mission and ministry of being able to work daily for my Gullah/Geechee family. I still begin my day every day the same way and then get out into the field to see what positive and uplifting thing can be done to insure that Gullah/Geechee culture will continue and be presented accurately and respectfully for generations to come. All this I do voluntarily because I answered the call that GOD placed on my life. Being a Queen does not come with a salary, but it does come with many blessings.
I thank all those that have been a blessing along this 21 year journey as well as those that have shown me that they could easily put space between us. We have seen many come in to mislead and miseducate in the name of Gullah/Geechee and we have seen them also go. Een a lil while, hunnuh gwine see sum mo! We binya and ain da gwine nowhey cuz GAWD sey so!
Tenki Tenki ta de 20K folk wha da paat we Facebook famlee!