When this picture was taken, I was 16. A teacher/mentor had taken me and another student on a trip to New Orleans to work with other students on a peace project. She had a friend who owned a boat – a black man. He took us to pick out bait, taught us how to bait the fishing line and took us out on the bayou to fish. I remember all the “dawnings” I had that day. It dawned on me that I now knew a black man that owned a boat. It dawned on me that being out of the projects and out in nature was restoring me, making me a different person than all the persons I knew, that I was getting something lots of people I knew would never get. It dawned on me that trying new things – catching the beautiful trout on my first time fishing – was improving my self esteem. That my smile was the widest it had ever been, fueled by the hope and joy of self discovery and a broadened sense of what was possible for me. Its been 26 years since that picture was taken. I’m a privileged girl. I have lived a lot of my dreams. But it’s been immeasurably harder than I thought it would be all those years ago, in so many ways. I pull this picture out when I need to remember the confidence and clarity of purpose I’d found that day.




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