Catherine Onyemelukwe

Author, Blogger, Speaker

Live as Brothers or Perish as Fools

Girls as Bombers

Reading about girls being used as suicide bombers by Boko Haram is so sad. I can’t imagine they are undertaking the task willingly. Are they tricked into wearing the bombs? Or forced? Do they realize what it means?

The article I read in Hindustan Times says the most recent girl bomber in Cameroon was 12 years old – how did they know that? Did she tell someone before she died?

Twenty people died in the blast. The only hopeful bit is at the end of the article –  “A new, five-nation force — from Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Benin — is due to deploy by July 30 to take on the  militants, whose six-year insurgency has left at least 15,000 dead.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sharing and Caring in Community

“We must all learn to live together as brothers or we will all perish together as fools,” Dr. King said. That’s from a longer paragraph in “Remaining Awake through a Great Revolution.” I’ll read it as an intro to the sermon I will give on August 9 at The Unitarian Church in Westport.

I’ll post the whole sermon after my friend Anita, the worship associate on that day, has read the latest draft and given me her comments. Here’s the beginning:

“King’s words make me think of my husband’s village in eastern Nigeria. It’s called Enugu-Nanka, and it’s one of seven villages that make up the town of Nanka. I’m not thinking of the scientific and technical genius, but the ethical commitment of being in brotherhood.

The Unitarian Church in Westport, back view!

The Unitarian Church in Westport, back view!

“For in this village the commitment, the sense of belonging, is so strong that it is inescapable. People from the town – as in most towns in sub-Sahara Africa – are tied together in a network of mutuality where they know that what affects one, affects all.”

In my sermon I’m talking about how this sense of community was developed in my husband as a child and young man, and whether we can recreate it in our own congregation, town, and state to help us overcome the divisions of race.

To make the connection, I point to one of the sources of our Unitarian-Universalist living tradition. This source says, “Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love.”

I am perhaps stretching the meaning when I say that African customs serve for me as deeds of prophetic women and men. They challenge me to confront structures of evil.

At the end of the sermon I provide several suggestions of how white people can use our privilege to confront racism. If you’ve been following my posts, you’ve already seen several.

What do you think? Does it all hang together?

My Memoir Writing Process

On Saturday I had the pleasure of meeting with a group of women from the Unitarian Church who work together on memoir writing. Gail Howard leads the group. I spoke for half an hour about my writing process from start to finish! They asked lots of questions. I asked them what they are working on. Each story was different.

Together they are a fascinating group, all thoughtful and committed to capturing their own stories, some for publication, and some for family.

I wish I’d taken a photo. I would have liked to show you the group. But I forgot!

Million Dollar Mindset radio show logo

Million Dollar Mindset radio show logo

My Story Told to a Larger Audience

This afternoon I was the guest on the internet radio show Million Dollar Mindset hosted by Marla Tabaka. I’d had a preview – she interviewed me on Friday for a 10-minute segment on a business show. Today’s was an hour. (The link isn’t working as I preview, but did earlier!)

Her promo material talks about millions of listeners – probably not all live, and maybe not all for that show, but still . .

She’s a great interviewer, enthusiastic and lively, and it was lots of fun.

Of course it helps that I love to talk about Nigeria, about my life there, and about my memoir, Nigeria Revisited My Life and Loves Abroad.

Marla Tabaka internet radio host

Marla Tabaka internet radio host

She gave me the opportunity several times to spell out the name of my website and blog.

She also writes a weekly column in Inc.com.

Made me wonder if I should have a catchier name for the blog, but I don’t know what it would be. Suggestions welcome!

 

Author: Catherine Onyemelukwe

Author, blogger, speaker. Born in New York, grew up in mid west United States, lived in Nigeria for 24 years, back in U.S. since 1986. Advocate for racial justice.

4 Comments

  1. I’ll be there with bells on!!

  2. I like how you’re starting off the sermon you’ll be giving on Aug. 9th. Wish I could come, but I wish you the very best of luck.