by Jacqueline Brannon Giles
Sometimes you have to take time out to mingle with others and to learn more about the challenges and struggles of other women. During my youthful days, I never attended a Women’s Conference, but today I was compelled by the Holy Spirit to rise up early in the morning to prepare to attend a conference at The Church Without Walls. The conference is led by First Lady Sheretta West and many other gifted and talented women in the United States.
In the session I attended, questions were asked: What do you have on your bucket list? What do you want to accomplish?
I answered clearly and audibly, “I want to impart and I want to develop protégés.”
I listened carefully and noticed that many voiced their desire to travel and to accomplish other creative and impressive feats. As I reflect on my life at 73 years old, I have been blessed to travel the heart of the African continent with a President of the United States of America in August 2000. As a member of President William Jefferson Clinton’s entourage I have traveled from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland to Abuja, Nigeria, followed by a visit to Arusha, Tanzania, and then to Cairo, Egypt. I have attended the Handover Service from a Military Government to a Democracy in Abuja, Nigeria in May, 1999. I presented a research paper, entitled “Mathematics and Democracy.” The elite audience for the research paper was a Nigerian Think Tank in Abuja, Nigeria in July 2001.
As I reflect on the wisdom and gifts of my father, Reverend Edsel Warren Brannon, Sr. I can truly say that his pronouncement over my life has been actualized. He said a scripture: “Your gift will make room for you and bring you before great men.” Daddy was right!
A few days ago, I took time out to visit a great man, the Honorable Al Edwards, who presided over Texas District 146 for many years and who authored legislation to make Juneteenth a holiday. During our recent visit, Elder Edwards said, in summary, “When President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, he could have designated the day as a holiday, but he did not.” Edwards continued in a careful and thoughtful manner, and he emphasized how his mission was to establish the holiday, and now there is a statue in Galveston, Texas standing tall in his image to commemorate the phenomenal accomplishments of his career. The message that slaves were freed arrived late in Texas, and, thus, the date of the arrival of the good news is labeled “Juneteenth.”
Today, June 24, 2017 when I saw the talented Yolanda Adams, a native Houstonian who is a Grammy Award recipient, I mentioned to her that I visited the Honorable Al Edwards in a location on South Braeswood. She encountered the Honorable Al Edwards at a 2017 Juneteenth program. She asked about his health, and I affirmed that he is improving and he desires to continue his work related to Juneteenth so that this generation of youths gets a more thorough understanding of the social and cultural challenges of African Americans in the United States. I believe my response was encouraging to her, and she paused and took a photograph with me. I immediately indicated to her that I would write articles and share them with the students at S.H.A. P. E. Community Center. My mission at this time in my career is to impart knowledge and inspiration so that creative and impactful achievements can permeate the millennials and the next generation in the 21st century. She smiled.
Today was a great day for me as I listened and learned more about the social, emotional, and spiritual journey of women who are beautiful, highly achieved and still learning how to negotiate their family and career in America, while praying to keep balance in their lives.
Finally, I greeted Deborah Duncan who I have admired for many years, and I shared with her my interest in teaching and inspiring S.H.A.P.E. Summer Session students. Our focus this summer is mathematics, pattern recognition and the philosophy of mathematics. She smiled and agreed to take a photograph with me so that the students can see that I am always mindful of their need to be mentored and inspired to achieve excellence.
I enjoyed the conference that addressed issues of amazing women who have phenomenal lives in Houston, Harris County and in the United States of America.