Catherine Onyemelukwe

Author, Blogger, Speaker

Who Do You Think of on Memorial Day?

Just after noon today Clem and I were leaving our home in Westport to drive to our daughter’s home in Pennsylvania for a shortened Memorial Day weekend. (We couldn’t leave earlier because I was singing with the Chamber Choir for the 10 am church service.) We drove past the Saugatuck Congregational Church on the Post Road and saw dozens of tiny Nigerian flags clustered near the road in front of a prominent sign, #BringBackOurGirls.


BringBackOurGirls at Saugatuck Church Westport CT

We drove around the block so I could stop and take a picture and talk to the people setting up the display. Mary Ann West took our names. Her photo is better than mine – it’s in DanWoog’s blog.

I believe nearly everyone in America is aware of the plight of these students. The interest the girls’ kidnapping has awakened is fascinating. There was a post on Facebook that suggested that this is one of the few times black women or girls are in the news as missing. The writer of the article, Actual Facts that Prove White Privilege Exists, says that such attention is usually a privilege reserved for white girls or women. He said there is even a name for this – White Woman Syndrome!

I was reminded of Peggy McIntosh’s excellent article, Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, an eye-opening piece about white privilege. If you don’t already know it, you can read it here The Invisible Knapsack.

In the Memorial Day service at church this morning, Rev. Roberta, our Interim Senior Minister, mentioned the girls. They were in the second part of her three segments – first our family and friends who serve or have served in the armed forces. Second were people like these girls who are suffering injustice anywhere on our planet. The third group of people she asked us to remember are our enemies – the hardest!

I described how to say my last name, Onyemelukwe, in my last post. But now you can see my husband saying it! Say Onyemelukwe.

Next time I’ll give you the first section of the story about the rainmaker I consulted in the village.

I wish you a happy Memorial Day. I always think about my brother Peter on this day – he served in Vietnam during the 60’s. He lives in Chicago now with his wife. Two of his three sons live  near him, and the third is in California.

Is there someone special you think of on this day?

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.