Congrats to the honorees of the 2018 Manny Awards. Learning and hearing about your accomplishments was inspiring. Much success to your future. To the board of directors; Mr. “Coach Hicks, thank you for trusting me to entertain your guest and special thanks to Mr. & Mrs. Womack for being such huge supporters of my art. I look forward to all the excellent work My Brother’s Keeper of Greater Richmond will do in the upcoming year. Many Blessings!
-Paula M. Gillison
Standing at the edge of a valley looking up
recognize the obstacle ahead of you.
You are at a crossroads
where the past in a busy highway of crashes and roadblocks
You are a traveler; forced to journey forward
Aware that nothing behind you offers solutions.
This will be your greatest adventure!
You, having to gather up the pieces of a broken person,
pained by the words spoken over you,
crippled by the ill wishes of enemies and even those you thought were allies,
who said that this mantle you are tasked to carry
must have been meant for someone else.
They said you aren’t worthy.
That people like you don’t accomplish task like this
That you can’t save lives and you won’t change the world
They say you fall short and frail when forced to overcome your own demons
They said this
Unaware that you were born a demon slayer!
That your faults and flaws are testimony
That you are a walking breathing chapter of Revelations.
But I understand why they quiver
For years their mind has been inhabited with doubt and fear
as they watched the community drown
and their families suffocate
crying to the heavens wondering who would be
their moses, their malcom, their martin
So when they saw you
Willing to commune with God on the mountaintop
They couldn’t see savior
No, all they saw was man
all flesh and bone and just as human as themselves
Afraid he wouldn’t be able to part a red sea or march on Montgomery
Couldn’t see that you are covered in anointing and clothed in grace and mercy.
How could they not question your potential?
You great overcomer of tribulations
How were they supposed to comprehend your calling?
When you’ve defied every stereotype they placed upon you
You’ve been an anomaly since the day your were born
Even when they saw your struggling
Even when your crown looked more like a cast
They saw dry bones
Didn’t know you were Ezekiel;
had no idea that life could be found in graveyards.
So teach them!
Show them your blood stained hands and the mud in your eyes
Remind them of the prophecy
that you were destined to do even greater works
And them forgive them
For not knowing
that the valley you stand at the bottom of
the mountain that roars in front of you
the road you’ve already traversed
the mantel you’ve taken up
and the baton you’re one day going to past
is for them and their children and this community.
You are a fire starter in a world full of smoke and ashes
And this mountain isn’t too big for you
You speak to it and it will crumble.
But not you, you don’t crumble
You are Emmanuel
And God is with you!
Link to “I Snap” ; also performed during the show