Am I in the process of discovering that all Black elder mothers remind me of Mildred? I’ve already established that Sonia Sanchez is Mildred. This morning, I listened to an interview with Nikki Giovanni and the way she spoke brought Mildred into my room, too. Unlike Mother Sonia, Nikki doesn’t look like my aunt. But something in her voice and the way she spoke were definite echoes. (At one point, she talked about eating okra and chicken feet, so of course that connected to Mildred.)
I have loved Mother Nikki for years and years. Her poetry is a light, and her bright-fire energy inspires me and gives me hope. She has a knack for poking at an issue, an event, a feeling in unexpected ways — thinking, for instance, about the thoughts and feelings of the white man who stood and watched Rosa Parks refuse to change seats.
I’m taking this Undoing Racism workshop because of the way it grounds me in the facts that inform my writing on race, but also because of how it can help me look in unexpected ways at the issues that explode up from my experiences and awareness of race prejudice. I love that the cosmos aligned itself so that I’d hear Nikki’s humor and wisdom and poetry this morning as I prepared to head into the final day of the workshop.
It’s the Slice of Life Story Challenge! Head over to Two Writing Teachers to see what the rest of the slicers are up to … and to post the link to your own slice!