|Arabelle's Song by Patanisha Alia|
Song of Songs 8:1-2
My family is very eclectic. I have relatives who are Baptist, Muslim, Catholic, Jehovah Witness and Buddhist. What we all have in common is Faith and Love in Action. My Great Grandmother, Arabelle "Patanisha" Kingsby, and her daughters, fuel my Faith and Love. I made the image above to show the Sacrifices, Prayers and Praise that intentionally tool place for this specific family. I appreciate them.
Now the Elder Matriarch has passed on. I always think about her stories. She told me that our family name was actually George. It was George because their wasn't a last name to pass on, this is common for decendants of slaves. Most took their owners family name, my ancestor chose to use the one name he was freed with. Now, my great grand mother Arabelle would repeat her history to me over and over. I never knew why until I became a woman, until the day she died. She had a legacy of love. Love of life, love of family and love of God. I cannot tell you which love came first or if they were simply all the same thing to her. She was the epitome of wisdom.
Once again, My great grandmother was a woman of faith and a woman who in her golden years opened her way of thinking to be connected to her descendants. What was constant about her thinking was that you need to have faith to make it this world, you need to educate yourself to open up your world and to never forget your connection to family and humanity as a whole. With all of that comes responsibility of action, not just to know these things but to live our lives daily based on these principles. Pretty advanced for a sharecropper huh? I told you she was a wise woman. She’d tell me the story of how she worked so very hard as a little girl to educate herself and her sisters as well. The reason I write is to show the love, wisdom and protection of my Elders past.
I can't help but to think of another Elder that's past on, she was my grandmother's friend. I didn't grow up knowing that. I grew up knowing that she was simply my Aunt, EllaRae. She never treated me different from her own blood. Family was most important to her and I thank her for the food, love and laughs she gave me. She left a legacy of loved ones so tight you couldn't split us with a machete. Each generation grew the village with love. I am blessed to know my mission this lifetime. I honor those here now and before me.
(The Above Image hangs at Actual Cafe in Oakland, Ca. Show Opening is Saturday 7/12 from 3-5. All are welcome to join us for part of Love Your Neighbor Day... Arabelle would love it!)