Victoria’s Corner

Hello Coremag readers,


I apologize. I’m a month late for Victoria’s Corner. The only thing my mother hates more than being late, is an excuse for being late. So okay, I will not give you an excuse. I will give you an explanation. From April 10 until April 15, I was in Washington DC for the National Action Network annual convention. Since I’m the Northeast Regional Director, I was required to be there. It was 6:00am wakeup time and 11:30pm bedtime every day. There was almost no time to do anything else but convention business. On April 14th, the last day of the convention, I met the editors and founders of, Eden and Ellisa Oyewo. They are beautiful, smart, and so nice. They are, “the real deal”. My mom and I spent some time with Ms Eden and Ms Ellisa, and it hit me that they were excitingly living their dreams. They shared some of their future plans with my mom. You could see the excitement on their faces, as they talked about their goals. They have a road map for the future direction of, which they share, and a road map for their individual careers. All week I had been around people that wanted more for themselves and more for their people.


On April 15, we arrived home to see the same people standing around outside on the corner, or gathered in the park across the street. What a difference from when you are around people of empowerment to when you are around people of acceptance. Empowerment is mapping out a course for your life and going for it. Acceptance is whatever life is giving or taking from you at that moment, you just accept it. My mother has a great analogy for this. You get fired or laid off. You accept it, and go sign up for unemployment, food stamps, and anything else that is being given to the unemployed. You didn’t want the job in the first place. You didn’t want to be the only one of your friends to miss the House Wives, Bad Girls and Basketball Wives marathons on television. Okay, now let’s look at empowerment. You get fired or laid off. You go to your holiness spot. “God, Lord, Jesus, Budda, Allah, or Jehovah. This has sprung up on me. I know with my faith and your guidance, I’m going to make it. This is my chance to do what always wanted to do. I’m going tomorrow to sign up for my much deserved unemployment benefits. I’m going to apply for the food assistance program which I know is going to be temporary. Then I’m going back to school, find a job I really like or start my own business. You got this because I believe in You and I believe in me. Amen, I pray”. My mother can always come up with good analogies.

When I came back to my community it was like I was seeing the acceptance minded people for the first time. Without visions or plans, you really are just wondering around in existence. I see grown ups that have never left New York City. They get up and do the same things day in and day out. They have either lost their purpose, focus or their faith. We have adults that have never held a job. They have never known the excitement of having money they have earned. They have never had a credit card or bank account. They have never lived in their own place. Some don’t have identification beside the government benefits card. That is so sad. Why have we stopped dreaming? Why have we stopped living?

I can’t wait to grow up to live out my dreams. Recently a friend of mine moved into a beautiful one bedroom apartment with a terrace. I had so much fun furniture shopping with her. All I could think about was decorating my future dorm room or my first apartment. I thought about the colors I wanted and where the television with surround sound would be. My friends would come over for movie nights or to play cards. It wasn’t as much fun thinking about the dorm room, because I know that comes with a roommate. I’m still excited about college, roommate and all. I want to attend Harvard or Barnard College. My grades have to go up a little bit to get into either, but I’m determined. My mother is quick to tell me to stay out of trouble so I can fulfill my dreams. Sometimes when I’m playing with my American Girl Doll, Joy, I pretend she is my little girl. I want two children when I’m around 35. I want to have one child and adopt another. Of course my little girl will have a father to carry her on his shoulder and call her princess or baby girl. My little boy will have a dad to play baseball and teach him to be good to females. I love thinking and dreaming about my future. Every once and awhile I get scared that something will get in the way of my dreams. Then I tell myself, “forget that”. I’m going for mine.

Fear is holding so many of us back. We have to step out on faith. These days I find myself fascinated by Harriett Tubman because she didn’t let fear stop her. I’m sure she knew the danger she was placing herself in. The dream of, “freedom”, was stronger than the nightmare of slavery. Faith replaced her fear. My mother has a friend that has 3 children. The friend had lost a prestigious job, was unhappy and facing a life of permanent government assistance. She didn’t want that for her children. She went on line, found an apartment in another state, left everything behind and took the Amtrak south to her new life. She had absolutely no furniture for the new place, only a little bit of money and just enough clothes to fill up 3 suitcases. Three years later my mother’s friend has a new career with perks like expense accounts, health insurance and business travel. She has a car and is building a new home. Her children are doing wonderful and are very involved in their new school. She tells everyone that it was all faith.

Mom is quick to point out faith without works is dead. I know I have to get good grades and stay our of trouble. That part belongs to me. Hold on to your dreams. Don’t lose your faith, and don’t lose your focus. We get so caught up in nonsense that we forget our purpose. I want to stop sex trafficking of women and children. I want to bring awareness to the mass killing in the Congo. I want my own foundation. I want to save our post offices from being shut down. I really want to decorate my first apartment. I can’t let foolishness like light skin, dark skin, short hair, long hair, peer pressure, he said or she said, who likes me or who does not like me, get in the way. I have causes that need awareness and future color schemes to pick out. Talk to you in June.

-Victoria Pannell

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