Storytelling Contest Statement 


Lighting The Way....Stories of Our Heroes/Sheroes -

Past and Present, In our Homes, Our Community and in Our Nation


Statement for the Need to Crown our Heroes/Sheroes

by Co-Founder Linda Goss 

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works - Matthew 5:16
Always look for the light - Dr. Gladys-Marie Fry
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine - African-American Spiritual

In the spirit of the Ancestor,  my Granddaddy Murphy, who always began his story with a question, my question for us dear family and friends is this:

What do Harriet Tubman, Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., Shirley Chisholm, and Muhammad Ali have in common?

Answer:  All around the world they are known as Heroes and Sheroes.  Why, because they fought for freedom, justice, social change, and equal opportunities for all peoples.   Martin Luther King, Jr is also a martyr, because he gave the ultimate price, his life, for the  dignity and human rights of others.   It is because of these Heroes and Sheores, and many many many thousands of others that a path was lit so President Barack Obama, First Lady Mrs. Michelle Obama and their children can be in the White House.  Our Heroes and Sheores keep the eternal flame burning so we may follow in the path that best suits us.

What is a Hero or Shero?  Look in the dictionary.  You might not find Shero in there because Shero is an African-American term that represents the female equivalent of a (male) hero.

If you could make a Hero/Shero stew what ingredients would you use?  

Heroes and Sheroes are not afraid to speak out against racism"

"Racism is so universal in this country, so widespread and deep-seated, that it is invisible because it is so normal" - Shirley Chisholm

 "Hating People because of their color is wrong.  And it doesn't matter which color does the hating." -  Muhammad Ali

 "I hate racial discrimination most intensely and in all its manifestations.  I have fought it all my life.  I fight it now, and I will do so until the end of my life."  -  Nelson Mandela

"Racism is a contempt for life, an arrogant assertion that one race is the center of value and object of devotion which other races must kneel in submission."  -  Martin Luther King, Jr.

"In the end, anti-black, anti-female, and all forms of discrimination are equivalent to the same thing as anti-humanism." - Shirley Chisholm

Heroes and Sheroes acknowledge their beliefs, their faith, and their ancestors:

"Faith is taking the first step even before you see the whole staircase." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

"God gave me this physical impairment to remind me that I'm not the greatest.  He is." - Muhammad Ali

Heroes and Sheroes have hope, determination and endurance:

"On my underground railroad, I never ran my train off the tack and I never lost a passenger."  - Harriet Tubman

"Yes, I'm personally the victim of deferred dreams, of blasted hopes, but inspire of that...I still have a dream."  - Martin Luther King, Jr.

"I don't measure America by its achievement but by its potential."  - Shirley Chisholm

Heroes and Sheroes believe in service - helping and encouraging others:

"I freed thousands of slaves.  I could have freed thousands more...." - Harriet Tubman

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."  - Nelson Mandela

"Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth."  - Muhammad Ali

"Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve...You only need a heart full of grace.  A soul generated by love."  - Martin Luther King, Jr.

So many positive ingredients can make a powerful Hero/Shero stew.  However, we must be aware of adding stereotypes.  We must dispel falsehoods about Heroes and Sheroes.  For example we have heard that the reason why Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat was because she was too tired.  But do we know what she actually said about the event?  

"....I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day.  I was tired of giving in.....I just felt so tired of giving in to a system so unjust."  - Rosa Parks

Who are our unsung, unknown and uncrowned Heroes/Sheroes who have had and are having a profound impact on our lives?  Recently during  the most valuable player award ceremony sponsored by the MBA, Kevin Durant, basketball player for the Oklahoma Thunder accepted the award and gave what is being called "the greatest acceptance speech of all time by an MVP."  He told the story about his mom and gave her all the credit.  "Mom, you're the real MVP."  Kevin Durant used a national platform and took advantage of a great opportunity to crown his mother and make her achievements known to the world.  

The world needs to know about that special person who is encouraging you, someone famous or someone from your home life or neighborhood, such as Mama, Daddy, Grandma, Grandpa, Big Brother, Big Sister, Auntie, Uncle, Teacher, Preacher and/or Community Leader.  Someone who lit the fire in your heart and is lighting the way for you to walk the path of HOPE.  You have the opportunity right now, to empower your words, your voice, your story and crown your Hero or Shero from the past or present.....Someone from the community or someone from our nation or someone who is International.  

Make your Hero or Shero known to the world.  Tell the Story.

Love and Courage
Mama Linda Goss
National Association of Black Storytellers, Inc.