I am not looking for approval. I do not desire a history lesson. I will not approve posts written by haters or trolls. I have not the time nor patience for hate. If this is not a cause you are interested in then you may not want to waste your time reading this post. However, I hope you will find it in your heart to at least hear me out.
If you have read my previous posts then you will already know who Bertha is. If you took the time to listen to the radio show, you will know who Jamie is. If you do not know who Jamie is, please check out his story at
http://www.mynameisjamie.net. If you yearn for a world filled with love, acceptance, equality and peace, then perhaps Jamie’s story will move you like it has me.
Due to side effects from the medication that eases my pain just enough for me to be able to get out of bed, most of the $3 words I once knew are lost to me. Same with my dictionary and thesaurus so please don’t have high expectations of my writing skills!
Sadly, I never had the honor of meeting Bertha. Yet she has been an amazing influence in my life. My mother was raised in an extremely prejudice and abusive home. Her only refuge was in the arms of Bertha, their African American maid. Bertha loved mama as if she were her own. Because of her, mama grew up not living with fear and hatred in her heart. Because of Bertha’s love, my mama chose to teach her children love and acceptance. We grew up with the knowledge that all people are the same. We all put our pants on one leg at a time. We may have different pigmentation or believe in a different God. Some people may not believe in a God. It is not for me to decide that I am right and you are wrong. Each and every one of us have a right to our own belief system, thoughts and opinions.
That being said, I loved and accepted everyone. I was always out to help the underdog regardless of race, color, creed or religion. We all bleed red.
Unfortunately, I grew up thinking that “just not being racist” was enough. What a small and shallow world I created for myself. Then I met Sonni. Boy, has she opened my eyes! Thank you, WordPress. In a very short time she has taught me so much. Thank you, Sonni. Sonni introduced me to Jamie. His story is tragic and one that happens far too often. I knew nothing of the prison system until I started reading her blog about Jamie. I had no idea of the cruelty and neglect that runs rampant in the prison system. I used to think that all or most prisoners deserved to be there and never even thought about the conditions. There are hundreds of thousands of men and women who have more than paid their dues. Many who could not afford an attorney were frightened into taking a plea deal, often giving them far more time than a jury may have. Jamie was told that he should take the seventeen years being offered because a jury would likely give him 99 years. Of course he opted for the deal. Black men in Texas don’t get paroled. They serve every day of their sentence. I bet many states are the same. My mom worked for the local District Attorney’s office and can tell you stories about how black men and women almost always serve three times the amount of time than that of a white person who has been charged with the exact same thing. Tragic. Unjust. Fundamentally wrong.
The rapist who lives in my neighborhood served eight years for brutalizing a woman. Jamie is serving seventeen years for being in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong person. He is not a violent man. On the contrary, he is a gentle spirit. He is the father of one of Sonni’s grandchildren. She knows his story inside and out.
If someone had told me six months ago that I would be writing to an inmate, I would have told them they were crazy. If they had told me I would come to care deeply for and love a prisoner, I would have told them they were insane. I love Jamie very deeply. Not romantically. I am married and almost twice his age. Jamie has become my brother and I am now his sister. I am not going to give you details here as I so desperately want you to read his story for yourself, with an open mind and loving heart. I’m sorry for being redundant. Ah, I found a $2 word.
“Bertha’s Legacy, Jamie’s Future” is an organization I am creating in order to bring black and white people together in order to fight for justice and equality. Contrary to popular belief in this country, those two things do not exist. This is not and will not be “my” organization. Each and every one of us will have ownership. We will stand together and walk side by side. We will be one voice. I am looking for loving people who honestly want change to walk this journey with us.
DO YOU HAVE THE COURAGE TO WALK WITH US?
Let me remind you, no racist, hateful or hurtful comments will be approved.
Thank you for taking the time to read about Jamie and the dream he has unknowingly inspired me to reach for.
I have started a group on Facebook called, “Bertha’s Legacy, Jamie’s Future”
It is bare bones right now. I will be adding posts on a regular basis. It is a closed group so it will be off limits to haters and trolls. I will not allow hate or disrespect at all. Zero tolerance. We may not always agree. We may feel differently than someone else. There is ALWAYS a way to explain your belief system to someone else with love and respect. I hope that you will by, even if you just want to say hello, give encouragement or just lurk for awhile.