Faith, poverty drives a ‘real’ queen

THE MAKING OF A REAL QUEEN is simple, yet many see it as a position of privilege.

A real queen is someone very much like my mom, sisters, and me—women driven by faith, poverty, discrimination, color, gen- der and health issues.

My faith to pray and trust God to give me di- rection as I pursued my dreams and visions em- powered me. My mother believed if you could pray about, it would be all right, and change would come in God’s time if you let go and worked to make it happen. Faith she would always say, can’t work through lazy folk, they quit trusting too easy and want success fast!

Poverty, as defined by my mother, is a state of mind. Poverty was some- thing that I did not under- stand because as a child when opportunities were presented to me, my mom had prepared me to the best of her ability to accept the challenge and succeed. Poverty to some was not having what you needed. That did fit my mom’s def- inition! Poverty to her was not having food on the table, clothing, or shelter, from the sun, storm and rain. Poverty was not hav- ing the freedom to pray or family support.

I experienced discrimination at an early age when our school bus broke down and all of children had to walk down a long, muddy gravel road. Another bus came by and the driver stopped to speak to our bus driver that looked white.

When he discovered he was Black, his next reply, was those kids can’t ride the white bus! I shouted, “we can ride because the bus is yellow!” After walking about ten miles in my white tennis shoes, filled with mud, finally we were home. I told my mother of the conversation.

Her advice was, see this as an experience in this life, many cars and trucks will pass you by, but the time will come when you will drive your own. These are hard times, and it will get better, I know, I am not in

the field no more. Often times because of my skin color, I was not seen as someone that would not succeed or give back to society, but take from it. Being Black, my mother would say, defined strength that many did not possess – your color one day will not matter, God got plans for you and your color don’t make you or break you.

My gender has been an issue with the vocations I have chosen, and having been ordained, called and chosen by God to do them. As a minister of almost 48 years, still my gender is an issue with that good old boy’s club. I am seen as ag- gressive instead of asser- tive because I am a woman, speaking truth to power, standing for what I believe,

unwavering in my faith and teachings by a real queen.

My many health is- sues, challenges, losses, disappointments and pain taught me how to be a real queen. Following my mother’s example as she is a real queen overcom- ing the struggle and stigma of a single mother rearing five daughters after a sepa- ration from her husband, making sure the words “I can’t”, never become a

part of her daughter’s vo- cabulary. What makes me a real queen, are the les- sons I have learned, and life journey, I experienced. The ability to stand when I find myself standing alone, but not really alone, for I stand on the shoulder of my mother, the real queen. My mother did not write a best seller, but as a queen, her character and service to the community will leave a legacy of fun memories and lessons on family values, faith and perseverance. I am the daughter the real queen, writing what I hope to be a part of history, not in books, but in the hearts and minds of women and children, attempting to forge a better generation for the future, encouraging, empowering and en- bolding the next real queen to not accept the criticism of society that choose to define her, but to forge her path to greatness and her true purpose in life, creating another real queen!

By Joyce Turner Keller,

Th.D., is founder of Trav- elers of Christ Evangelistic Ministry. She is a global advocate for HIV/AIDS.