gail song bantum

blog on identity, leadership, discipleship

advent, black lives, and 25 days of changing the narrative – day #3

there’s power in visual narratives – especially, in my pursuit to sear fresh and beautiful images and stories of black lives into your minds and hearts. however, and sadly, i was 11/12 years old when this next person entered my life. i didn’t own a camera, and it was well before smart phone cameras existed. quite honestly, i don’t even know if she is still living… but, she is too important in my formation to not share her life with you.

day 3 – december 2

ms. deborah


ms. deedee is what i affectionately called her. i was 11 (almost 12) when I moved to another state to live with my mother. we lived in a small apartment complex for graduate students while my mother attended seminary. ms. deedee lived diagonally left, down from us on the first floor. she lived with her grown niece who was a student as well.

ms. deedee is significant in my life story. though i only had a chance to know her for about 2 years, i’ll always remember when she gave me a space on her couch many nights when my mother was working night shifts to get herself through school. we were scraping by. forreal. when she also found out that i wasn’t eating lunch at school, she used to give me $10 (10 one dollar bills) every week to buy myself pizza pockets from the school cafeteria. i loved those pizza pockets!!

she didn’t go to church much because of her back (from what i remember) but she always encouraged my decision to attend a black church in the area – my first ever! this was HUGE. i really needed encouragement because it wasn’t the church my mother attended. i’m sure you can imagine my situation… when i think back, ms. deedee was like an angel in that season of my life. she kept me on the straight and narrow, if you know what i mean! mad respect and love!


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