WOW! June 2018 was one of the most amazing months in my life and my favorite month of 2018! I constantly pinch myself and say “This is happening to you! ENJOY!” My life has been blessed and my faith has never been swayed for I believe.
The first day of June I headed up to NJ to start a week of family quality and fun time mixed in with supporting dear friends/sisters in their work and as usual being a career woman and attending meetings of importance for the movement.
All my life I have been social and easily made friends. I was the child who pushed my crying mother out of my nursery classroom and said “Mommy I’m fine!” ran off and had four friends by the time she came back to pick me up at the end of the day. In high school I used to hang out with my friends and every football, basketball game, party, local concert event held at Martin Stadium or School Stadium that we entered was like going to a family reunion for me. But no matter how many friends I have and I am blessed to have many there is one who is my (BFF). We have known each other since we were about 8yrs old lived around the corner from each other, played jump rope and road bikes together until we started hoping on public transportation to hang out in other cities near and far (Brooklyn, Manhattan etc.).
If you saw her you saw me. We attended separate schools (Elementary, High School, College, Graduate) but remain steadfast Besties. We have attended each others graduations, celebrated new jobs, career changes, successes and failures and we have held each other in times of tragedy and despair. I was there when she met the man she would marry (I knew who he was and helped to make sure he was in the right place at the right times – for another post). It was a blessing and one of the best things I have done when I stood next to her as her Maid of Honor for her marriage. The importance of that position is never discussed these days but for me a person of deep faith it was saying to God and all present that I would be there for she and her husband as a support system, friend and loved one as they created their family and life of love. I take that responsibility to heart and seriously.
In June of 2002 she gave birth to a beautiful little girl, her second child. It was a few days later that she asked me to be this child’s Godmother. This was again a position of honor for her family and of seriousness for me. I took my classes at the Church and signed the certificate that said I would be there for this child not only for her spiritual life but for her physical and mental life as well. It was another time in my life where I pinched myself and said someone loves me this much to give me this huge responsibility. Well that little girl turned sweet 16 on June 3, 2018 and I made sure that I was in NJ to celebrate with the family. She is a smart, loving and amazing teenage girl whom I am blessed to know and be an auntie and godmother. She will forever be one of my Sheros. My BFF says to me all the time “I gave birth to her but she is your child” for my goddaughter is a soldier of justice in the making and nothing could make me happier! Look out world she is on the way!
That is how I started my June with a celebration of the 16thyear of life of my godchild! Of course the month was going to be amazing.
Then I went back into work mode for I had some things to accomplish and celebrate. There have been multiple conversations and outreach on a particular subject area within the disability rights and justice community (if you don’t know these are two very different movements) that finally were about to come together in NYC. I had the honor to be a part of the planning and attend this gathering. Thank you to all who sponsored, planned, implemented, attended and will participate on future work. (More on this soon).I will say this it has been refreshing to see some of the changes happening in the social justice/equity work around the country. These times have pushed us into genuine and active solidarity. (Stay tuned for so many things I am working on in this area and please join us)
That evening I ran from the Lower East Side to uptown Harlem for a celebration. I believe that all things happen for a reason. On May 29thI had the honor to meet and talk in depth with Donna Hyltona women’s rights activist, criminal justice reform advocate and now author. She came to DC for some meetings and we were introduced. Now I have been in many rooms with her at events but never had the opportunity to sit with her and have some quality conversations. We ended up having dinner and I waited with her for her train back to NY. In that time we bonded and became sisters for a number of reasons but also because we both have the same core. The release of Donna’s book was going to be a few days later in NYC and she invited me to her launch party. Fate – I was in NYC for the meetings so I headed to Harlem to support my sister and have a little fun!
The party was jamming and was full of love! Donna’s family of friends did her right! The venue was amazing, food and drinks were great and there was a genuine spirit of support and love surrounding her and the launch of this fabulous book. Donna’s book is her memoir – from her website: A Little Piece of Light,’tells the story of the childhood abuse she endured, the spiral of events that lead to her incarceration and how she learned to live, love and trust all over again.
I picked up my copy of the book, got my autograph and a few great pictures with Donna. It was a beautiful way to end my evening. Now Donna and I have something else in common a deep and loving relationship with the phenomenal feminist activist Eve Ensler. Eve wrote the introduction for Donna’s book and their relationship goes back to Donna’s time while she was incarcerated. Back in Union Station on the 29thwhile waiting for her train it was like a coming home celebration when I curiously inquired if Donna knew Eve – I knew the answer but did not know how to approach it with her. We both just smiled and the love was overwhelming and it instantly bonded us.
When I hoped on my bus to Penn Station NYC I met a lovely young lady who has been inspired by Donna’s story and had only known her through social media. She decided to come out and meet Donna. Isn’t that amazing to have that effective on someone’s life. WOW! As soon as I got on my NJ Transit train back to my BFF’s house, I immediately cracked that book open and started reading. The week was busy with events and other things but I finished that book on my train ride back to DC. This book is a must read. Donna my sister your story is insightful, astonishing, sad, happy, empowering and your prose is genuinely written. The book now sits on my bookshelf that holds my favorite memoirs.
Donna’s party was not only a celebration and an opportunity to support my sister. It was also an opportunity to enjoy in another’s success, something I love to do. But it also proves to me that what they have done is possible. Donna thank you for sharing your story for which I am sure was a difficult process for you. We are grateful for your life and for your strength to not only to empower yourself but thousands of others whose lives you touch each day. Keep Doin’ It Up! #Changemaker
To learn more about Donna Hylton and to get her book: https://www.donnahylton.com/
You can also purchase at Amazon – and post a comment!
From Eve Ensler:
“I have known Donna for 20yrs and in that time I have watched Donna become a model of transformation. A true leader; an example of someone who has not only turned their life around but who has but has made it her mission to make her own transformation a collective transformation.” – Eve Ensler – Playwright/Activist – Founder of V-Day
Pictures from the launch party for A Little Piece of Light by Donna Hylton:
Also follow my social media I post regularly!
End of Part I – see Part II – the rest of my week was just as amazing! See what happened next in June 2018!
Thanks for reading, please leave comments and subscribe today! To subscribe enter your email address in the box in the right tool bar! THANK YOU!
Tell All about the WIYATT!
Follow me on Twitter @NJDC07 and Insta Gram NJDC07