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My story

I grew up on 166 Cemetery Street in a rural town called Chester, SC. I had a close relationship with my grandfather, LeRoy, as a baby. When I was around 1.5 years old he suffered from an aneurysm. According to my mother and uncle, as they were getting ready to go to the hospital I suddenly arose from my nap, and said, "Uh oh, E-R." Moments later, they received a call that he had died. I remember all of my dreams until the age of 8 because I always had the same three. In one of them, I would sit peacefully on my rocking horse in a blindingly white room. Every time I woke up, I knew that the room I was sitting in was my grandfather. My grandmother worked 12-hour shifts at a local factory so that she could send me to a private school. I was the only Black child at school, and I suffered for it. My grandmother knew grief, and she saw mine. It was the form of grief that forced her to choose which aspects of her granddaughter's identity to let die at the hands of White supremacy--and how--so that I could get an education that might give me a future, enough time to stitch myself whole. By the time I was 17, I had touched enough death to not know fear. Through the eyes of a dying woman who grieved the disembodiment of her rage. To the closed casket of a man who suffered mentally, and died alone. My story began with life, grew with love, and deepened through grief.

My Background

01

Earned a B.A. in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity from Stanford University

03

Completed a 2-year accredited Buddhist Chaplaincy training program at Upaya Zen Center

05

Received Jukai, lay-ordination in the Zen Buddhist tradition

02

Earned an M.A. in Religious Studies and Philosophy from the University of Chicago

04

Completed CPE via Rush University Medical System and Emory University

06

Became eligible for board certification as a chaplain

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