My birthday is June 18. This weekend I will celebrate another year of life as I have done for so many years, associated with an AME Meeting. All of my life I have shared my birthday with Father’s Day. It has been a pleasure since I was born on Father’s Day, and my father was in the pulpit during my birth. No one, I am sure, saw that divine connection. God gave him his last child on Father’s Day and every year there was combined acknowledgement. No one knew that the day I was born, I would continue the Henning legacy to preach the gospel.
Celebrating my birthday on or around Father’s Day has never been a problem. My husband shares love and gifts with me, and I do the same. It is a family celebration where we purchase two cards.
Beginning in 2015, I also remember the massacre of the Emmanuel Nine. This is a more sobering thought than giving thanks for fathers. This is not a celebration but a commemoration. Confirmed in my spirit is the uncertainty of death. Further confirmed is the diabolical, inhumane, community of evil that bases its hatred on color, race, gender, sexuality, gender identification, race, religion or anything evil creates. No matter how righteous we try to live our lives, we are only a breath away from death not just from accidents but premeditated murder. Yet, also confirmed in my spirit is the abundance of love, strength, and power in the collective resolve of a people who refuse to bow down to fear, oppression, and to evil in any form.
Every time I see the collective pictures of Emanuel Nine, I grieve their senseless deaths, and the pain their families must continue to endure. But I thank God for The Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Cynthia Hurd, The Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Tywanza Sanders, Ethel Lance, Susie Jackson, Depayne Middleton Doctor, The Rev. Daniel Simmons, and Myra Thompson. We will work so their individual and collective legacies will continue, healing will prevail in their families’ lives, and our fight for justice will be one day victorious.
This weekend I celebrate another birthday not only to enjoy my life, but to fight for life for others. Happy Birthday to me.