She grew up on the southside of Chicago, living below the poverty line in the projects with her sister, brother, and parents.
She lived on a street filled with gunshots and violence, having to always be home before the street lights turned on.
Her father walked most of his way to work because bus routes didn’t go all the way to the suburbs and they couldn’t afford a car.
She was the youngest of three and was an outcast with her siblings.
She strayed from certain things. She knew she wouldn’t be here forever, but where could she go?
She craved something different, but wasn’t sure what “different” was.
Little black girls don’t make it out the hood.
You will never succeed.
Lets fast forward.
Scholarships, grants, and students loans.
She was on the move.
Undergraduate school in Wisconsin.
Only black girl in sight.
She told stories of how they looked at her, shocked to see that black people were real and not just from pictures and television.
She told stories of how they ignored her, bumped into her, called her vicious and hurtful names.
Little black girl, you won’t make it far.
You’ll never succeed.
She decides to major in engineering.
An African American? And female? No way were they having it.
She was once again ignored, not only discarded for her skin but now for her gender.
But that didn’t phase her.
She still sat in the front row of the classroom.
Ready to be the best.
Ready to prove them wrong.
Lets fast forward once again.
Graduating top of her class with a masters in engineering and an abundance of certifications, she was hand-picked for her career.
Black and female in a white man’s game, she had to plan strategically.
They paid her much less for the same work.
They bounced her around from department to department so they wouldn’t have to deal with her.
They even tried to lie and fire her.
But she was too good, too smart, there was no way of getting rid of her.
Almost 30 years later and she’s still climbing to the top, beating the odds and changing up the game.
The system was rigged against her from the start and never got easier. Why should she have to fight and work three times as hard as her white male counterpart?
They tried to break her, fire her, tear her down so she wouldn’t make it, but she did.
And she is my mother.
One of the strongest women I know, that only gives praise.
My mother endured trials and tribulations so I could live the comfortable suburban life that she and her family never had.
My mother worked her ass off to get to where she is today, to get me where I am today. She pushes me to be great, and if I could be just a quarter of what she is, I would be proud.