As you prepare to move all of your being--your heart, your mind, your feet, your passions--from one place to many others, I hope you keep in mind a few things. Firstly, college is a trip and, you know this, personally. I have grown with you over these past four years and seen you reach new levels of building and breaking. I have witnessed the power of your strength, love and wisdom bring people together and heal communities.
Monday, May 23, 2016 at 9:30 am is your day but it also belongs to those who have come before you, stood beside you and will come after you. The guidance of your given family, the immeasurable support of your chosen family, the sanity keeping of your friends, the love of your mentors and advisors, the dreams created for you by community elders, the inspiration younger students gave you--these are your treasures of graduation.
In this space, I want to give you two more things to ground you as you march forth from this day. The first is a list of twenty "to-knows" you wrote for yourself twelve hours before graduating. The second is a prayer, a public affirmation of self that you wrote for yourself nearly twelve hours after graduating. Share these sentiments with all you come across because the saving and healing that comes from these words do not and should never only belong to you.
Continue to be any and everything; be the dream, the reality, the catalyst and the change. Be the work, the power, the creative and the sharp-witted. Always, always, always... be you.
Twenty "To-Knows" Before Graduating
Spirits, Magic and Commencement | A Prayer of Wonder
Spirits are rejoicing. Prayers are resounding. Visions are evolving to reality. Praise loud, today is a day of magic.
Who knew but God what time can do?! He saw me through changes in course of study, embracing my natural hair, battling the physical impacts of stress, death threats on my communities, loving partners and telling them I love me better, crying in advisors' offices, preparing to drop out every week and go dance for the dollars, not eating or sleeping for days on end, feeling alone, asking for help and rising as a person who can help and affect change.
I believe someone prayed over my spirit before I arrived saying "to whom much is given, much is required." I've been needed--almost exhaustingly so--and it has been the highlight of my time here. I'm a mentor, a sister, a mom to my babies as well as a turn up twin, a shenanigans buddy and a will-cut-up-on-your-behalf best friend.
Grounding rod. Truth teller. Creative. Leader. Scholar. Writer. Researcher. Protector. These are the words bestowed on me by my chosen families now but always apparent to my ancestors; to my Village. The magic of today is not that I got my degree (it's more). It's the journey.
Today, I feel connected to your energies and realize I always have been. Your "nah girl don't do that," your "go 'head baby, you can do it," and your healing powers that protect my spirit have built me.
This body is powerful and so is this mind. This mouth is loud and calls out foolishness. It also weaves words together like warm quilts protecting loved ones from the cold. These hands--get thrown lol--but they comfort. These thighs signify abundance in their thickness. These feet have run to danger and uncertainty to get my babies, my family. These shoulders bounce at parties to music that I quote in theses.
All this to say, I am the magic of generations continuing to release in the world. I am my truth and I am love. I am the future, I am the hope, I am a part of the answer. I am smooth with it and I am #BlackandDegreed. Spirits are rejoicing. Asé!!
With all the love,