“Working to Form a More Perfect Union: Honoring Women in Public Service and Government”
I am so thankful to God for the strength of the ‘Black Tea Bag,’ a term of endearment I have labeled the strong Black women, as based on Eleanor Roosevelt’s description of a woman.
When God created Adam, He quickly realized something was missing and then God took His time and created Eve and called her man’s help mate. If it were not for the ‘Black Tea Bags’ in the Black community I really don’t know how we could have survived all the attacks we have experienced throughout our time in America.
Before I address the ‘Black Tea Bags’ that are personally inspiring me daily, I must pause and give honor to First Lady Michelle Obama, a ‘Black Tea Bag’ that has demonstrated power, strength, loyalty, intelligence and beauty, while serving the United States of America with the grace of a Queen. Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt would be impressed with the strength of First lady Michelle Obama, who has had to deal with the daily attacks on her husband, President Barack Obama, without ever letting the watching world see her sweat. First Lady Obama is a perfect example of an unbreakable Tea Bag.
Another ‘Black Tea Bag’ serving at the national level but always finding time to serve her local Houston community is Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. I respect and admire her for always stepping up for the underdog even when it’s against popular opinion. I am amazed at how visible Congresswoman Jackson Lee is throughout Houston, while being one of the most powerful ‘Black Tea Bags’ to ever serve in Washington D.C. When I heard Congresswoman Jackson Lee’s testimony about overcoming cancer, I realized she is truly an example of how strong a ‘Black Tea Bag’ is under the pressure of the fires of life.
First Lady Michelle Obama and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee are truly showing the next generation of women how to be strong and successful while staying humble enough to serve others.
I’m going to be personal for a minute as I salute the next ‘Black Tea Bag,’ my wife, Co-Pastor Sandra Deckard. Matter of fact, as I’m writing this article, we are dealing with the emotions associated with the death of our daughter, Genesis Nevaeh Deckard, who passed away eleven years ago during the Easter season after living only twenty-one days. Co-Pastor Sandra Deckard, after the death of our daughter Genesis, went through a time of great depression but she rose up through the ashes and turned her pain into victory for hurting women and girls throughout the city of Houston. Co-Pastor Deckard proved to be a ‘Black Tea Bag’ as she became stronger than she could have ever imagined when the waters of life became hotter. Hurting women throughout the community flock to sip from the strength of this Tea Bag.
This Sunday, I’m taking a different approach to my Easter sermon, as I will be addressing Mary the mother of Jesus from an angle I’ve never seen before. Mary, like many of the ‘Black Tea Bags’ I’ve encountered through the “No More Bloodshed Movement” had the difficult assignment of remaining strong during the murder of her child.
I’ve stated before, I believe the most difficult unnatural act a woman can experience is to have to bury her child, especially if that child was a victim of a senseless crime. Mary’s son Jesus was not a thug, drug dealer, or pretending to be a gangster but Jesus (like many sons across America) still ended up being killed. There is a strong village of mothers who have had to become ‘Tea Bags’ under pressure because their child was killed without cause.
On a national level, over the last few years, we have witnessed the making of some very strong ‘Black Tea Bags ‘such as Sybrina Fulton (mother of Trayvon Martin), Lesley McSpadden (mother of Michael Brown), Erica Garner (daughter of Eric Garner) and Geneva Reed-Veal (mother of Sandra Bland). These women have stood under the national spotlight during the most difficult times of their life and exemplified the true spirit of Eleanor Roosevelt’s Tea Bag.
The national ‘Black Tea Bags’ are not the only mothers dealing with the loss of a murdered child. I’m honored to serve daily with some of the strongest people (not just women, but people) in the world. The mothers of the “No More Bloodshed Movement” here in Houston, Texas, have displayed before me the strength of an unbreakable ‘Black Tea Bag’.
Unfortunately, the murder rate in Houston is increasing at such an alarming rate I can’t list all the ‘Black Tea Bags’ (Mothers of murder victims) but the following Mothers have shown me so much courage during their battle that their strength has made me a better leader.
Kathy Ballard Blueford Daniels (mother of Patrick Charles Murphy) is a strong ‘Black Tea Bag’ and her commitment to serve others out of her pain is a perfect example of God’s amazing grace. I honor her for her dedication to the “No More Bloodshed Movement”.
Calandrian Simpson Kemp’s (mother of George Kemp, Jr.) journey is inspiring women all across America. She could have stayed down in the dumps instead she rose up like a ‘Black Tea Bag’ and built a village to encourage other women with the strength to get back up.
Kathy and Calandrian, I believe Maya Angelou had you two ‘Black Tea Bags’ in mind when she said “yet still I rise”.
Harolyn Jessica Minix (mother of Rashad Minix)-I’m so glad to witness her coming out of the tea box and taking her place in the “No More Bloodshed Movement.” God has plans to continue to use her to speak life into other mothers who have experienced her pain and remember because she is a ‘Black Tea Bag’ she can’t fail but get stronger under pressure.
Tangela Wiley (mother of Branden Braggs) and Margaret Williams-Lair (Grandmother of Branden Braggs)-the two of them are showing the city of Houston the power and strength of love and their involvement in the “No More Bloodshed Movement” is making a mark on their family that can’t be erased. The two of them are truly ‘Black Tea Bags’.
LaTonya Monique Hall (mother of Davionnne Hall)-I honor her as she continues to stand in her son’s honor. Latonya may be quiet but her strength speaks very loud and I’m honored to walk along with her at every “Peace Walk” in honor of your son’s memory.
Felicia Martin (mother of Joshua Elliot Skillern)-her life has taken a devastating turn with the murder of her son, but in the midst of it all she is growing stronger and stronger each day. I know 1st Lady Roosevelt didn’t know her when she compared the strength of a woman to a tea bag, but today I’m honored to call her a ‘Black Tea Bag’ and I’m excited to be part of her growing cycle as she uses her new platform to strengthen other women during their most difficult times of their life.
There are so many other strong ‘Black Tea Bags’ I could name but I’ll conclude here by simply honoring every strong woman that did not let life rob them of their faith and today I’m declaring their faith will never fail them.
I salute you all for your unbreakable strength.
Pastor E. A. Deckard is the Senior Pastor/Founder of the Green House International Church now located, in both Houston, Texas, and the Woodlands, Texas. To contact Pastor Deckard for speaking engagements contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow him on Facebook, Instagram and Periscope @ Pastor E A Deckard or the church website www.ghic.net