In celebration of Black History Month, the following is a modified excerpt from "Love’s Pursuit: Journey to Wellness" by Wellview Mental Health Specialist, Dammeon Marshall.
Proclaim: I pay homage to all Black Men of influence in my life.
Dear Black Man,
I pay homage to you! What are your fondest memories of the good times, Mr. Black Man? I ask about the good times because I do not recall any of the bad. Daddy, dad, father, pops, do you remember the good times? As a man and a father, some White Americans' attitude towards you is one of irreverence. They are deficient in veneration towards our shared heritage. Though you are not present to exercise your voice, I use mine to speak up—and speak your truth.
I regularly take a moment to doff my hat to you in the salutation of your strength and resilience in my prime. You have not only created my noble story but have salvaged it from being fictional and comprising imaginary tales and fables. The more populous race across the world attempts to generalize your story even though they stay aloof from your true history. In their amateur attempt at narrating your story, they make a caricature of your heroism; for it is indeed impossible for those who consider your melanin skin strange to understand the struggles and atrocities you endured. Instead of praising your strength, they are intimidated by it. Therefore, they exploited your fathers and grandfathers by employing them without pay to till their lands, in prison and slavery, for their selfish economic gain. The same greenfield your ancestors harvested was where they were slaughtered. And even now, they continue to imprison us, not by shackles and chains but with metals of handcuffs, bullets, and jail cells. Today, they maintain their old agenda by fierce brutality, coercion, and unparalleled injustice, just as they did to you when they escorted you down the green mile. But I live today in their presence, not only as their nemesis but also as a worthy fruit of your sacrifices.
My Black Man, you remain the one of three who has inspired greatness in me, though we have never celebrated Father’s Day together, never thrown a football to each other, or never hugged. I hope to become the heir of your dreams, to step into your shoes, and birth your unacknowledged potentials. Although the question nags me whether I will become a finer version of you—whether I will be better or bitter—I face the future with optimism.
Like a knight in a special military force, you answered swiftly each time I needed you. Knowing that a son needs a father to become a man, you exemplified a balanced mixture of confidence like dark roasted, blended coffee from Urban Grind and Good Karma. You just cannot have one cup. Better yet, make it one cup with a double shot of espresso. You taught me to question my doubts and doubt my fears. Thus you built in me an adventurous spirit, vigor, and calculated risk. The weight of nine children neither broke you nor did your skin color shame you. When it seemed that your future inspired no hope, you started drawing hope from my future. Thus, just before the burden became too heavy, we were able to exchange roles successfully, and I became your Black Man and did what I could to relieve the pain and frustration. This is how our love weathered every storm ‘til death called.
I am yet to experience fatherhood for myself, but I have vowed to represent the freedom, love, laughter, and growth you bestowed unto me when it happens. A remarkable impression of security you engraved on the heart of mine and my siblings. ‘Still now, though you are long gone, I still hear your voice behind me, and your laughter rings in my head. You are my alter ego; my ears remain sensitive to your spiritual vibrations, counsel, and guidance.
You have come too far, faced many obstacles, and experienced far too many disappointments on your journey to give up. No matter how things play out each day, reflect on the Black Man or Black Men in your life and draw strength from them. Continue to hang in there, for your work is not done. Payday is on its way. Now is the time to examine your heart and explore love, grief, and inspiration to understand the impact and influence your Black Man had or still has in your life. Find pictures or written words of him as a reminder of his contributions. It can be a family member, friend, neighbor, or celebrity. Pull from their strengths, learn from their weaknesses, and take full advantage of opportunities that can transform your life.
Our world right now is divided like never before. Our diversity and differences should unite us, not separate us. Be the reason why we come together, accept, and recognize our differences and turn them into our strengths. But due to the clever ploy of a few, these differences amongst us are exploited. Do not stand on the sidelines and just let anything happen; instead, make equality, equity, and unity happen. Learn and unlearn. Once you start experiencing and learning things for yourself, you will discover all the lies and stereotypes you were fed up with until this moment. Actively participate in the campaign against social and economic injustices. This will feel like a reincarnation. You will feel enlightened. It will pave a path for a better future, and your children’s future will spread like ripples to those around you.
Now it's your turn: Journey to Wellness Practical Tool
Instructions: Pay homage to your Black Man by reflecting and journaling.
Click HERE to learn more about the Wellview services available to you. We can’t wait to work with you!
Dammeon Marshall, BSW, MSW, LMSW
Health Advisor | Email Dammeon