The Power of Testimony

I had the honor of participating in and in some cases, producing some pretty incredible events over the past two weeks. Unfortunately, the exhaustion that consumed this human body of mine after taking part in these amazing events tried to keep me from being great…nevertheless, Golden Life Musings has returned!

Let’s start with the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia. Being transparent, I’ve never really liked politics and I’ve shied away as much as possible from political conversations. And while I’m a registered Democrat who has voted in every election in which I’ve been qualified to vote since the age of 18, my views on many of the issues being debated by the major parties tend to fall more neatly into that of the independent camp. Being even more honest, going into the convention I was very underwhelmed by Hillary Clinton but just the thoughts of the alternative make me shiver, so I figured I would at least investigate to see what all the hype is about.

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Apologies for the ham session here…I’m rarely able to resist photo booths!

20160811_140112The convention was awesome for a few reasons. One, it was inspiring to see such a genuinely diverse group of people there on one accord. [Side Note: As an African American female, I also took pride in the fact that several African American women had leading roles in making the DNC a success, including the DNC Committee CEO Rev. Leah Daughtry, who did a phenomenal job at leading the planning and execution of the convention.] This seems like something obvious that would take place at a convention for a major political party, but from what I understand more often than not, the opposite is true. Just take a look at the highlights from the Republican National Convention (RNC) this year. Even though there were some die-hard Bernie fans in the building sporting their yellow shirts that stuck out like sore thumbs among the sea of red, white and blue, they even conceded it was best for them to take one for the team, have a seat and get on board.

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Me and Uncle Joe!

I was most mesmerized by the speakers of the convention. And I’m not just referring to the big name speakers such as FLOTUS and POTUS and the VP aka Uncle Joe (who I got a chance to meet by the way, and was super cool!); rather, it was the unsuspecting average everyday people, non-politicians, that spoke to the heart of the issues that are plaguing this country and why their support is behind someone they believe can make a difference. I will say, by the time Hillary took the stage on the last night of the convention, my ambivalence had transitioned to a sense of pride in the candidate to whom I was giving my vote, simply from the personal testimonials that were shared. It was pretty amazing!

I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the entertainment. You can’t have a convention without some partying, right? Each night, an after party following the main events (which ended around 11 pm) chock full of delectable treats and adult beverages lasted into the wee hours of the morning. And the eye candy of the who’s who of Hollywood was enough to keep you up all night waiting for a chance to catch a glimpse, or even better, snap a picture. Or was that just me who was waiting for Lenny Kravitz, who among other celebs and myself, was staying at the convention’s host hotel? There are not too many celebrities I would stalk, but he certainly makes the short list lol. Alas, I had to settle for seeing him from the stands. Deep sigh…

From there, I traveled down to Atlanta to participate in the second annual SheSpeaks Global conference, a women’s empowerment movement founded by my friend and business partner, Chinaza Duson. Chinaza has had an incredible journey in her 40 years of life and she’s using her voice as an instrument to inspire and impact the lives of women around the world who believe they’ve lost their own voice. I’ve had the pleasure of serving as the publicist for this amazing movement since its inception last year and I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to literally have a hand in lives being transformed for the better right before your eyes. Many of the women who attended last year came back with some powerful testimonials about how last year’s conference helped them to find their voice to do something extraordinary. One moment that stuck out to me the most was the testimony of Christina Serrano, who last year came as an attendee, full of tears at the conclusion, and came back as a powerful speaker on the main stage!

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L. Christina first sharing her story with Chinaza R. Christina sharing her story from the stage a year later

These two events got me thinking about the power of a testimony. There’s a saying that rings true, “You can’t have a testimony without first being tested.” I think it is one of the things that makes us all human, to be tested at some point in our lives. If you haven’t been tested, you just simply haven’t lived long enough right? I know this blog post has taken a shift but I promise I’m going somewhere with this. There is something about someone sharing a story of triumph over tragedy, faith over fear, progress over pain that inspires us to move. We all have a story to tell and the unfortunate thing is too many people are being quiet. Some of you reading this have a story to tell that will inspire someone to take a positive action in some way. You never know how your words might fall on someone else. It could mean the difference in something seemingly as insignificant as someone choosing a better health regimen or make the difference in who becomes the next President of the United States. Regardless of what you have to share, there’s power in your testimony and there’s someone waiting on you to speak up.

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