I remain passionate about informing, entertaining and educating the readers of this column by sharing memories, news of events, histories and people, and when I hear news about our young Black neighbors, I am always anxious to share. We indeed have many talented Black youth in this community so I’m proud to inform you about a senior at Miami Northwestern Senior High School, Rachel Mazyck, who will receive the Girl Scouting Gold Award and is also a nominee for the National Young Women of Distinction. I can remember my Girl Scout experiences and activities, which included attending Camp Owaissa Bauer in Homestead many, many years ago, with many of you. The Girl Scouts, for more than 100 years, has been the nation’s preeminent mentoring organization. The Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida (GSTF) build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place.
I believe that Girl Scouts offer one of the best leadership development experience for girls in the world. The shining example of Girl Scouting is the Gold Award. The recipients are inspiring leaders whose Gold Award projects are impacting the worlds of STEM, education, agriculture, medicine, and more on a local, national, and global level. Rachel is passionate about the environment and partnered with Florida International University to restore a mangrove habitat on Biscayne Bay. Rachel raised more than 100 mangrove seedlings and amassed the volunteers and manpower needed to help restore this important delicate ecosystem. That is an outstanding accomplishment! The CEO of Girl Scouts Tropical Florida, is Chelsea Wilkerson. Congratulations and Blessings to Rachel.
I am often reminded of a passage in the Bible where Nathaniel asked, “Is there any good thing to come out of Nazareth?” and Phillip replied; “Come and see.” As a paraphrase, there are many good things that come out of our community, read and see.
Congratulations are also extended as I received news from Bahamian family and friends that last weekend the Bahamian Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority welcomed new members amidst festivities at Marlborough Square. The chapter introduced DeSTiny Fulfi11ed, the Chapter’s newest members who include: Johnelle Poitier, Krystal Treco, Kayashia Williams, Decoda Williams, Ashley Mortimer, Danielle Ferguson, Loukeisha Cartwright, Paige Hanna, Bianca Sawyer, Theorelle Nottage and Jessica Simmons. Some very familiar surnames. Congratulations ladies.
On life’s journey we travel and there are always beginnings and endings. It is life, and we continue on these roads that lead us all on one path. As family and friends gathered on Thursday evening at a litany in Thanksgiving for the life and legacy of Anthony P. “ Tony” Armbrister, led by The Reverend Roberta “ Bobbie” Knowles, Rector, there was both joy and sadness at the Church of the Incarnation. Such a fitting tribute from the large crowd that came out to support his wife Juanita and their children and grandchildren. Many memories, reflections and tributes were given and shared by classmates, club mates, neighbors, family, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity brothers including: Shawn Wooden, James Winston, Ed Bullard, Dinizulu Gene Tinnie, Lucille Williams, his brother Clay Armbrister and grandchildren William and Zora Edwards who read the very thought- provoking and moving poem “The Dash,” by Linda Ellis. I share the poem with you here: The Dash
“I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend. I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend. He referred to the dates on the tombstone from the beginning…to the end.
He noted that first came the date of birth and spoke of the following date with tears, but he He referred to the dates on the tombstone from the beginning…to the end. What mattered most of all was the dash between those years.
For that dash represents all the time that they spent alive on earth. And now only those who loved them know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not, how much we own, the cars…the house…the cash. What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.
So, think about this long and hard. Are there things you’d like to change? For you never know how much time is left that can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough to consider what’s true and real and always try to understand the way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger and show appreciation more and love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile, remembering that this special dash might only last a little while.
So, when your eulogy is being read, with your life’s actions to rehash…would you be proud of the things they say about how you spent your dash?
As the litany of prayer ended, daughter Carladenise and wife Juanita thanked everyone who took the time to come. Juanita said as she sat down to write what she would say earlier in the day, she thought about the difference between friends and family, and she movingly spoke, “If you are my friend, you are my family.”
Following the service there was time for personal greetings and fellowship in the J. Kenneth Major Parish Hall as friends and family enjoyed a repast, breaking bread together. Final services were held for “Tony” on Friday at 10 a.m. at Church of the Incarnation with interment which immediately followed at South Florida National Cemetery in Lake Worth.
We should also and always be cognizant of the fact that students at our inner-city schools like Miami Northwestern Senior High School are our children who face some tough reality every day, and we should all be proud of how they organized a walkout on Tuesday morning, April 9 to call for change after Kimson Green, 17, a 10th-grader at the school, and Rickey Dixon, a former student were killed in a shooting over that weekend. Among them were 10th-grader Samya McMillan and 16 year old activist Ricky Pope. These students are to be commended. We daily lament about the violence as we read and watch the news. But we should remain vigilant to the fact that these students have to face their Blackness in ways that are much different from our days as students attending segregated schools. The segregation and disenfranchisement laws known as Jim Crow represented a formal, codified system of racial apartheid that dominated the American South for three quarters of a century beginning in the 1890s. Today, Jim Crow is not dead but is very much alive in a different more insidious role. Our students don’t always get national news coverage for their tenacity, courage and leadership. They need the support of us all, and we must be vigilant as we continue in the struggle. James Baldwin, the noted Black novelist, activist, essayist and playwright was attributed for writing this saying: “Know from whence you came. If you know from whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go.”
That is why a knowledge of our history is so vital. It is a call for each of us to spend our lives filling in the dash between our date of birth and our death. As we Live, Love, Pray, Laugh, Sing and Dance in the Whirl, let’s spend our Dash wisely. Blessings.