By now, you’ve probably heard that my great-uncles, Meeks and Thomas Griffin, received posthumous pardons the day before yesterday. My family and I experienced the sweet smell of victory when an injustice served almost 100 years ago was reversed. Nothing could bring my uncles back, but we did as much as we could. And sometimes that’s all you can do.
The publicity of this case has triggered lots of phone calls and text messages from people who also have family members who are currently in a tight spot. To them, I can only say that this is a battle that takes a lot of time and a lot of money to fight. The ideal thing would be to get support from an organization that specializes in advocacy, like the Rainbow PUSH Coalition or Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network.
When I think about all the years and all the things that have transpired since this horrific incident ended the lives of my uncles, I wonder how my life would have been different if it hadn’t happened. After all, the execution led to my grandmother leaving South Carolina, growing up in the migrant town of Plant City, Florida, marrying my grandfather, attending FAMU, where she would go on to obtain a Masters degree and become a school teacher, a hairdresser and a florist.
Yeah, that’s right, working hard is part of my DNA … and so are HBCUs.
In some strange way, the worse thing that could have happened to those two brothers played a role in who I’ve become. And get this: If I weren’t who I am, Skip Gates wouldn’t have invited me to be part of his genealogy research, and I never would even have known about the plight of Thomas and Meeks Griffin or been able to get the kind of fact-finding done that it took to get that pardon. But the bigger point is actually not what happened, but how what happened was handled.
We all have tragedies in our lives. And I’m here to tell you that how we handle them can impact our family members now and for generations to come. You might not be able to solve every problem today, but if you work hard and keep your eye on the prize, somebody in your family will have what it takes to do things you couldn’t dream of doing yourself. It all matters and puts a heavy responsibility on us all. For every action, there is a reaction. Even if it’s nearly a century later.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
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5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
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6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
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7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
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8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
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9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
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10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
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11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
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12. Late nights mornings
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13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
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14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
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15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
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16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
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17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
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18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
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19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
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20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
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21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
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22. Claudia Jordan: ....
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23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
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24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
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25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
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