Despite the pain and complications of sickle cell anemia, and until the disease took her life in 2005, my mother worked every day as an educator, doing her part to achieve human rights for all oppressed people and specifically for Black people in the United States. Whether at a protest, on the floor of Liberation Bookstore in Harlem, in the darkened home of Japanese activist Yuri Kochiyama, or at a polling site on election day, my mother always took time to tell me and my sister stories about her days stuffing envelopes for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, then as the citywide coordinator for the Free Breakfast for Children Program, operating in churches throughout New York City at the time. According to my mom, finding her voice in the Black liberation movement was powerful.
Yet, because of her voice, up until the moment of her death, my mother’s Black body was also under constant surveillance by the FBI and other government agencies.
Everyone should take the time to read this story.