When I was younger I never really liked my name. Some people may think well what’s in a name. However, I believe there is power in a name and it says a lot about who you are. Since I was not willing to go through the process of changing my name, I decided to do a little research after people kept asking me what my name meant and I didn’t know. I found out that my name Lystra meant free. The meaning resounded within me and ever since I have been growing into my name.
Freedom is not free or easy. With freedom comes great responsibility. Being free doesn’t mean that I can do anything I want without consequences. Freedom comes with a price; someone paid a price so that I could be “free” today.
Two weeks ago I did a summer course entitled- Faith and Justice in Freedom Narratives: Lessons in Ethics from the Slave Quarters. Our class was facilitated by Dr. Katie G. Cannon and as co-learners we learned about the horrendous ordeal and tragedy of chattel slavery through the eyes of those who were enslaved. These enslaved persons knew within their very being that we were all created to be equal and free. Even though they were being treated worse than animals and denied the very essence of what it meant to be a human being.
Some people naively believe that those days are long over and why live in the past. However, in many instances there are many people who are not free because they are being enslaved in new ways. How can any of us be truly free when our sisters and brothers are still being enslaved today? The chains of hatred, prejudice, racism, sexism, ageism, classism, lookism and others isms are still very much present today. Until the hierarchical/oppressive line of demarcation is forever erased, how can I say that I am truly free?
Am I really free?
What difference can I make to enable others to be free?
Lystra Long, OP
New Grant, Trinidad