Written by Terry Ann Williams-Richard Copyright December 15, 2017
This poem was written as a special dedication to you, my gifted, committed, and hard-working colleagues. Thank you!
You make a difference daily in the lives of children and their families, Your students are reading, writing, computing, and believing in possibilities. Yes, they can meet and surpass the standards with each statement they recite, Choosing, using, sharpening, and sharing the best learning tools with all their might. You instill in them strong character and values leading to success in learning and life, Even during the times when your efforts seem thankless, taxing, and met with strife. Field trips, honors, parent conferences, smiles, laughter, and fun, You accomplish great things and motivate others; your work is never done. Keep doing what you do, recalling your dream of teaching since childhood, Reaching and teaching, the highs and lows, it all works together for good. Piles of papers to grade, engaging lesson plans you adjust in mid-sentence of instruction, You play a vital role in the present and the future, even while you’re still under construction. Yes, the DIFFERENCE is you…You are… Dedicated Inspiring Fabulous Fun Enterprising Resourceful Energized Necessary Creative Empowered! With each step you take and every move you make there is joy, Pray and reflect on the difference you make in the life of each girl and every boy.
SPECIAL NOTE:I’m dedicating this poem to my fellow educators during Teacher Appreciation Week 2021. Our kids are our heart and at the core of what we do and why we do it. Keep reaching and teaching!
Choosing to reach and teach our future I call them my kids The young minds that cry out for understanding Tender hearts longing to be loved Dimmed and dampened spirits Struggling to shine Curiosity too often being squelched by those too tired to respond to the questions Energy misdagnosed, labelled, and medicated instead of being properly channelled
My kids Who crave boundaries and someone who shows them how to follow rules They respond to the expectations Even those that challenge them to rise Above the excuses and complacency that come masked as a certain kind of education Flooding in the majority kind as well
My kids Whose wide eyes welcome the vision and possibilities When they are pushed to tap into their creativity and personal style Going from doubting to daring From quitting to continuing the quest Learning, knowing, and growing While building character And stacking up academic and life skills
My kids Misunderstood and underestimated Surviving and thriving still
Everything is always working out for me, is one of my favorite affirmations. The creation of my book Just Call Me Scholar is an excellent manifestation of Everything is always working out for me. Everything is always working out for me.
As a Contributing Writer for The African-American Shopper’s Guide, I wrote an article for Black History Month back in 2018 which appeared on page 20 of the Feb/March issue. In this article is where and when my poem, Just Call Me Scholar, was born. I also attended The 2018 OurStory Book Fair & Expo, which is where I met Ashley Ferguson, the author of Girl, You Are Magic and Boy You Are Brilliant. At the time she was showcasing her first book (The second one had not hit the scene yet). I was mesmerized by Ashley’s book, poem, illustrations, publishing process and the overall appearance of her masterpiece. Right there as we spoke, it hit me, I could turn my poem, Just Call Me Scholar into a children’s picture book! And so my big search for an illustrator started. I even considered submitting my book to a traditional publisher. However, I read that the publishers choose the illustrator. There was a particular look I wanted and so I wanted to choose my own illustrator. Finally, it was in the fall of 2019 when I had my first conversation with the artist Lee Johnson, who is the illustrator for Ashley’s books. Eventually by May 2020 I was able to hire Lee to be my illustrator. We were off to an amazing start.
I was overwhelmed in a good way when I received the first drawing from Lee. The way he brought my author’s notes and vision to life are a blessing beyond measure. In addition to the typed notes (description of the drawing s and text I wanted on each page spread, I also gave him a photo of my daughter Tamara and my nephew Steven, who is my sister Judy’s son. They were about 4 years old in the photo. I wanted the characters to be based on that photo. Tamara and Steven will turn 29 in June this year. They are both parents now, Peyton Ann, my grand daughter is 5 years old. She turns 6 in August of this year. Amora Rudi, my great niece just turned 4 in January of this year. Amora’s middle name is in honor of my Dad, Rudy Williams, Sr., who passed away February 13, 2015 at the age of 82. My Daddy had one of the biggest hearts in the world and he loved history. It was really something he died the day before Valentine’s Day and during Black History Month. My Daddy didn’t get a chance to meet Peyton Ann and Amora Rudi. I feel as if he knew about them though, Peyton Ann was due on my Daddy’s birthday August 28, 2015, the year he died. Tamara went into labor on the projected due date and Peyton was born the next morning. Amora Rudi was expected two years later around the same day Daddy died. She arrived in January a few weeks ahead of schedule. Definitely God’s miracles and as my Daddy would say– “Ya got that right!”
And so in May 2020, right in the middle of a pandemic, the powerful partnership with Lee was established. We were fired up and ready to go and I was sure we’d be ready for publication my August or September 2020. In the meantime, we hit a huge obstacles. Then I was thinking maybe my book would be launched in time for Christmas 2020 gift giving. Instead…Lo and behold Just Call Me Scholar is now an illustrated poem. Yaaay! Thanks to Lee Johnson my amazingly gifted illustrator. Just Call Me Scholar my 1st children’s picture book was newly released this month February 2021… Black History Month! Everything came full circle.
Even though this is my 4th published book, there is still something extra special about it. Maybe it’s because Just Call Me Scholar is my 1st children’s book. It also makes my heart smile as I recall the many Black History programs I’ve coordinated or attended throughout the years. I’ve visited countless museum exhibits, cultural events, book fairs, story times, meet the authors, destinations, towns, and more. I also have so many fond memories of talking about history and current events with my Daddy and attending museum exhibits and more. He was a masterful storyteller about his life, family, and growing up in the segregated south. I always got a kick out of listening to him tell me about the items on display. He was my personal living history tour guide. I didn’t even need to read the placards with the information, Daddy was giving me a play by play…priceless. He would even talk about how he was living during the events, etc. or how he had just read about some of the artifacts we saw on display. Another precious gem is that my daughter got a chance to experience this rich experience and to know my Daddy, her Grand Daddy. Even though my Daddy is no longer here, these memories warm my heart and make my soul glad.
In 2018 and 2019, I did school and community center visits leading students in confidence building activities with Just Call Me Scholar presentations. A student performed my poem at a charter school Black History Program in 2018. The Mother & Daughter Book Club; Boys to Men Book Club; The Family Book Club; and The Young Scholars & Leaders Personal Library Club, are names of some of the programs I started throughout the years promoting books by African-American authors, reading literacy, and reading for fun. Wow! As I recall these reflections, I’m getting even more excited about what God has in store for Just Call Me Scholar. My book is available on Amazon now and through other book sellers and retailers globally. Get your copy today! Spread the word…Thanks for your support!
Everything is always working out for me. Everything is always working out for me.
Here’s the article…
Conversations of Consultation, Challenge, and Courage
By Terry Ann Williams-Richard
A few years ago I saw a post on Facebook with a picture of a park bench and the question: “If you could chat with someone on this bench from the past or present, who would it be?” For some reason Harriet Tubman came to my mind. Yes, that is my choice for this curious conversation. Perhaps this name summoned me because Black History Month is 365 or maybe it’s because the struggle, fight, and dream of FREEDOM is real even today. From the constant questioning of Black lives mattering to the debate of taking a knee or allegiance to the flag, the fight is on. The “Me Too” Movement has many rising up. Scandal after scandal at the real-life 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue has the dream under fire. It all “makes you wanna holler and throw up both your hands”. The dis-unity and self-destruction has you feeling if we are not careful, “y’all gonna make me lose my mind up in here”. Like Marvin sang, we are screaming “What’s going on?” The song “Stand Up” from the movie Harriet serves as a clarion call to continue the fight for freedom. The need is imperative to reach back for conversations with our elders for consultation, ways to face challenge, and the courage to act.
I shared the park bench post on my Facebook page and a few friends responded saying they wanted to talk to their parents who were now deceased. One friend even made another post reflecting on the person he wanted to have the chat with…his paternal grandmother. He wanted to get her biscuit recipe. He also talks about how she cooked on a stove without a dial and she never overcooked or under cooked a melt in your mouth, fresher than fresh dish or a meal. I had a phone conversation with a friend who recalled how she use to watch the news reports of the Civil Rights Movement on television in the late 1960s as an eight or nine year old disappointed that she had “missed it”.
What would I ask Miss Harriet Tubman? Miss Harriet, how did you know where to go when there were no roads paved and no streets? How did you know to follow the stars? Where do we go now when today people still spew hatred toward our children? In the classroom, a white teacher tells a young black boy his classmates will form an angry mob and lynch him. In another school a white teacher refers to black children as monkeys. What do we tell and teach the children Miss Harriet? What do we tell them to tell others who don’t seem to know what to call them or us?
This poem came to me in response:
Just Call Me Scholar
I am articulate, brilliant, courageous, determined, empowered, and free,
People often wonder what they should call me.
Just call me scholar.
I have a unique texture to my hair and a sparkling shine to my skin,
I have royal blood and God’s greatness flowing within.
My ancestors and present day elders cloak me with their love it’s true,
This casts out the hatred and false information our enemies spew.
My future is so bright is what my Momma and Daddy always say,
I am using, building, and sharing skills, talents, abilities, and gifts every day.
I make a difference in the world even right now,
My dreams keep getting bigger all I can say is Wow!
I am articulate, brilliant, courageous, determined, empowered, and free,
People often wonder what they should call me.
Just call me scholar,
Everything is always working out for me. Everything is always working out for me. Everything is always working out for me!
Copyright 2018, 2020, 2021by Terry Ann Williams-Richard
A few years ago, I was an English/Language Arts teacher at an urban charter school in Columbus, Ohio. This school was created for students who needed to catch up on credits to graduate, and/or who did not do well socially in the traditional school setting. They ranged in age from 15 to 21, and the majority were students of color. These were students who really didn’t care much about school, particularly writing and reading. Some acted as if I asked for their wallet, a kidney, AND their cell phones when I asked them to write a short essay or read a paragraph. I had to be creative to get them to read; so I did.
Even though I taught English, I incorporated Black and Latinix history wherever I could. I highlighted Black authors such as Alexandre Dumas, and taught Latinix students to explore their native heritage by watching movies like “Apocolypto”. But during Black History Month, I did not teach about the “Big Four”; Martin Luther King, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, and Rosa Parks. They already knew about these icons. Instead, I introduced them to innovators like Lewis Latimer, explorers like Matthew Henson, artists like Selma Burke, engineers like Benjamin Banneker, and so on. They were intrigued, as they had not heard of these people, and were eager to learn more. In so doing, they had to (GASP!) read!
As we start a new year after the social turmoil that was 2020, we should continue to build off of the momentum of Black Lives Matter and educate our children on our MANY contributions to world and American history. If our children understand that they are descended from greatness, they will discover their own talents and bring forth more Black greatness. Each one, teach one. I have, and I will!
“They were intrigued, as they had not heard of these people, and were eager to learn more. In so doing, they had to (GASP!) read! “
Dr. Kimberly Porter is the director of the CLIMB program at her alma mater, Wilberforce University. She is a published author, singer, songwriter, and poet who resides in central Ohio.
The new year has arrived. Go ahead grab a piece of paper and a pen or pencil. Set a timer and then write for five minutes. Write down the details of how you want your life to be; what you want to do for fun and to earn a living; where and how you want to live; and what you want your emotional state, physical appearance, and personal style to be.
“Write your vision and make it plain, so when others see they can run with it.” This is a paraphrase from the Holy Bible. The Bible also states, “without a vision the people perish”. What do you see? Check the vision you have for yourself and for your life. Do you sense something missing? As you scrutinize your V-I-S-I-O-N, it will be empowering to 1) Visit your deepest heart desires; 2) Investigate your past and present paths; 3) remain Steadfast in your discovery; 4) Inspire others; 5) Own your vision; and 6) Never give up.
Visit some of your deepest desires. Follow passions which awaken your curiosity, ignite a spark, bring you peace, or joy no matter your surroundings or circumstances. Peruse personal and family photo albums and read your old journals and diaries. Take trips to your favorite places or new destinations. Each activity and location could trigger clues to your deep-seated wishes. Jot down your insights.
Investigate your past and present paths and your trials and triumphs. Through your introspection hidden longings may be revealed. This burial could have been caused by fear, disappointment, disbelief, someone discouraging you, or self-sabotaging thoughts and actions. Even so, recall the many obstacles you have overcome and the countless positive outcomes you have experienced. Notice the people you attract, the lives you’ve touched, and how your life has been impacted. Be sure to find pleasure in the process.
Remain Steadfast in your discovery. No matter how life appears now, believe what you envision can and will happen. Notice the footprints leading from fear to faith; procrastination to progress; cowardice to courage; victim to victory; and tears to testimony.
Inspire others on your adventure. As you walk out your destiny you will glow with possibilities. Share lessons learned and successful strategic plans. Your enthusiasm will be contagious and others will joyfully catch it.
Own your vision. Be clear, no one can steal it. Look at it, accept it, expect it, and know it is ordained for your good. Give yourself credit for your persistence. Thank God for your gifts, talents, skills, abilities, His anointing, wisdom, and favor.
Never give up! Get back up when you fall, you are breaking through once more. Your treasured vision will be your marvelously manifested reality sooner than you imagined.
For more information on hosting or attending a Vision Board Party, contact Terry at email@example.com or visit her website http://www.yeswithpes.com to explore her books, services, and events.
Join me for a conversation with Ashley Aya Ferguson, Author, who has experienced transformation through her love for writing, telling stories, and living her dream of becoming a published author. Hear more about Ashley’s journey as she spreads the message of never giving up.
Join me for a conversation with Lauren Nance, owner of Nance Communications, LLC., who has experienced transformation while doing and being in business for nearly 30 years. Hear more about Lauren’s journey as she spreads the message that yes, you can start or build a business even in a pandemic.
Join me for a conversation with Deborah Samuels as she tells the story of living the dream she had since she was 15-years old. Hear how Deborah experienced transformation from a young girl, to a mother of 5, from an award-winning grant-writer helping others fund their projects and visions to taking her turn now.
God Is Waiting on You by Terry Ann Williams-Richard
I’m waiting on God is something I hear much too often And decided to drop it from my vocabulary after a more sobering analysis I realize God is waiting on us God is waiting on me God is waiting on you Through His Holy Word He has Made His presence clear He has made His promises known He has made His plan accessible God is waiting on me God is waiting on us God is waiting on you To walk in His fullness To live abundantly To accept the reality that we are free God is waiting on you to truly live
Copyright 2009 It’s Still All About Love and Some Other Stuff