Our family enjoys the tradition of watching the Roots mini series during the month of February. My intent in executing such a feat is all about us taking a moment to remember that our freedom is indebted to the countless souls of Africans, Quakers and abolitionists who came before us. We then spend the rest of the year learning about the achievements of all of the people who’ve helped to create the America and world we currently enjoy.
Tears are a frequent companion as we cuddle together on the sofas, floors and chairs equipped with snacks and blankets. Sadness doesn’t evade us just because we’ve watched those injustices play themselves out on the screen over and over again. My daughter in law, Ashley, watches with us as her heart aches for what her daughter’s ancestors endured by her own ancestors.
Jonathan and Ashley are legally bonded through matrimony because of the tenacity and bravery of the lives being played before us on the screen. They are grateful to freely love based upon the content of character and not be forced to choose based upon skin color. Others came before them to give them that freedom. They were married in the very state that inhibited their love prior to the Lovings taking their case to the United States Supreme Court! How ironic!
Freedom always costs someone something.
My children are descendants of slaves on both sides. Their Dominican dad is the outcome of the very first nation that participated in the Atlantic Slave Trade. Africans were transported to the Dominican Republic in the early 1500’s. The very first African slave revolts happened in hills of the Dominican Republic and many of those slaves escaped to the mountains where they started their own communities.
The blood of slaves runs through the veins of my children. We are all aware of the injustices to the many Blacks who spent their lives building the great United States of America for free. Despite the reality of the history that flows within them, they are free today. Their ancestors sacrificed their very lives for their freedom.
My girls are free. They freely study. They freely dance and are free to be happy. They freely choose their friends. They freely shop for the clothes they like. They freely express their ideas and they are so very free to create. My husband and I have designed an atmosphere for our children where the freedom to choose lies at the core of who we are as a Dominguez.
We naturally construct a foundation of faith and truth for our children to explore. We don’t go beyond our beliefs in creating spaces for them to probe. We understand that the day will come for them to truly choose life, so we offer life to them every chance we get. We do this because we are free to do so.
We are proud of who we are. As a family, we encourage self expression, simply because we are free to do so! We believe in the importance of stopping to remember what was done for us and we believe that the world can only become better if we each use our freedom to create an atmosphere of freedom for someone else.
Yet, today so many are still not free.
Today, over 1.2 million children are still enslaved. TODAY! Their freedom depends upon us. We can’t think that God has made us free just to enjoy our freedom all alone. Our freedom came with a price and so must theirs.
Are you willing to be like the abolitionist who helped to free the slaves in the Dominican Republic and the United States of America? Our family is. It really only takes one person to do one thing, then teach another to do the same. It’s that simple.
You see, we own land in the mountains in the Dominican Republic. God chose to send us to the mountain to create a community of freed people, like those escaped Africans. You can do the same. Right where you are, find a lost soul for slavery comes in all shades. I remember when I was a slave to sin and someone led me to freedom.
Decide to start a tradition in your home today. Be sure that it’s a tradition that will inspire hope. Use your freedom to set someone else free. You’ll be glad you did.