I Have a Suggestion
Mentors are essential for me. This link contains the names of my mentors who assisted me on my journey down the yellow brick road. Take a moment to look at my litany of people who, in various ways, have guided me. What is the common thread that connects most of them? For most of them, I can name the one thing they have in common. The two or three mentors that I am not aware that they have with all the rest of my mentors merely lack my personal knowledge about them. My guess is that most of my readers aren’t aware of that central issue in their lives that links them to each other. However, that is the backstory.
Last week, Gov. Whitmer of Michigan appointed Kyra Harris Bolden to the state’s Supreme Court. Whitmer said during the announcement that in the past “185 years we’ve never had an African American woman on the state’s highest court? It’s about damn time.”
So, what was present in Bolden’s world that enabled her to be appointed to the Supreme Court of Michigan? This is a short portion of her acceptance speech. Listen to her tell you what motivated her in life.
Bolden listened to her great-grandmother tell her about her great-grandfather being lynched in Tennessee in the late 1930s. Put yourself into Bolden’s shoes and hear about your great-grandfather being killed by a racist mob. What thoughts would swirl around in your mind thinking about that loss?
As Bolden grew up, this is how she processed it. She said that “in just a few generations our family has gone from lynching to law school. From injustice to a capital ‘J’ justice. This is the greatness of possibility in our country.”
The central thread that tied all my mentors together was pain and suffering. Bolden’s great-grandfather, who she had never met, became her mentor. She addressed that pain and is now in a position to address the pains of others.
We have the expression in America, no pain, no gain. Without facing our major issues, problems, or tragedies, there is no success in life; it is a given. It is true in the art world, the regular world, and my world.
Kyra Harris Bolden would be a great choice if you are looking for a mentor.