I met Joy Graves when I was 5 years old. She was a wise 8 years old at the time. I looked up to her from the very beginning. Although I was shy and a little younger than she was, she still let me roll with her. Over the years we’ve collaborated on more than one project. Whenever I’d have an idea, she was my cheerleader, no matter how outrageous or lame. Hol up, I don’t even know why I just said that. I ain’t never had no lame ideas. Anyway, If I was keeping track I’d have to say she’s probably done that for me more often than I have had the opportunity to do for her.
This past weekend that all changed though. I was the cheerleader as my girl Joy hosted her first Harriet Tubman House Party here in Fresno California. Her official story is that she saw I posted the photo below on Facebook and something about it inspired her. I didn’t wanna burst her bubble though and tell her she’s always had that fire inside her and that it was only a matter of time before it jumped up, did the boogie and became somethin like a Harriet House Party. Mmm Hmmm.
The post that started it all | Source Girltrek.org
She didn’t announce any grand intentions, she quietly invited a small group of folks who she felt would receive the message of walking for Harriet and gettin fit/healthy in the way that it was intended. Next she went about gathering supplies to host a weekend of learning, sharing, fellowship and fitness. The really beautiful part for me as a cheerleader was watching her gather new ideas and perspectives based on all the groups she encountered working on the project. Her inspiration meter went off the charts once she started to follow posts and blogs dedicated to the Harriet Movement. It was fun to watch her dig deep and then share what other women across the country were working on. Once she had all her ideas in order she came up with a game plan and this is how it went down.
Friday March 7 2014: Meet & Greet Dinner @ Joy’s House
I arrived early for the meet and greet.
We celebrated with greens, baked chicken, salad and rosemary potatoes.
Early arrival means the hosts get to pose for the HBG. (L to R) Alexandria, Eva & Joy.
Saturday March 8 2014: Walk for Freedom
Day 2 of Harriet Tubman weekend!
Gotta get a silly pic in for the kids!
Some quick instructions from our host and we’re on our way.
The youngest members of the crew helped make the journey all that much more necessary and enjoyable!
The kids came up with a chant to go along with our march!
Joy created a selection of gift bags to assist us on a 30 day challenge to better health.
Post walk for freedom refreshment station.
Each participant was given a gift bag and folder with information. We all pledged to meet again in 30 days to discuss health, life and whatever else we wanna add to the mix. I still marvel that she did all this in the span of two weeks while working a 50+hour work week. Seriously!
Took this photo because I need this tray in my life!
At the end of our time together on Saturday Joy instructed us all that our final task for the weekend was to pray on Sunday morning at 6:30am. We all agreed that praying was something we’d do anyway.
We began our friendship, with me looking up to Joy for being kind, wise and getting things done, but mostly for allowing me the freedom to watch her from the sidelines and learn. We end our Harriet weekend with me feeling a rush of nostalgia and on the drive home I finally connect the dots.
Thank you Joy Graves for allowing me the freedom to learn from you once again & Thank you Harriet Tubman for being the bravest, baddest freedom fighter there ever was. Amen!
For more information on Harriet Tubman weekend please visit: www.girltrek.org
Devoya Mayo is Co-Creator of The Happy Black Girl
Get To Know An HBG is her favorite column to write.
You can contact her directly at email@example.com
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