“Gumbo Diplomacy”

Today is the last day in February, the last day of this year’s Black History Month, and last night I came across this post by Annie about a woman, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who was confirmed on February 23rd to be the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. After reading about her, and listening to Ms. Thomas-Greenfield’s TedTalk from 2018, I see this woman as being perfect for the Ambassadorship to the U.N. She has not only survived adversity throughout her entire life, but been made stronger by it. She reminds us, though, that one must be kind and compassionate, as well as strong. Thank you, Annie, for this wonderful post for this final day of Black History Month 2021!

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As we near the end of this year’s commemoration of Black History Month, it seems appropriate to pay tribute to a woman whose life story is that of a Black American girl who rose from humble beginnings in the segregated South to a place of honor and influence in our country.

I hope you’ll spend an uplifting 10 minutes watching this 2018 TedTalk video of Linda Thomas-Greenfield, our newly appointed ambassador to the United Nations, as she describes overcoming adversity and being strengthened by it–with compassion, kindness, and a smile.

And those adversities have been numerous. They included the indignities and fears of her childhood, such as watching the KKK burn crosses on nearby lawns. Further insults and attempted degradation during her education years served only to propel her forward. She discusses in the video her pleasure in being honored years later by the same university that she’d been admitted…

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24 thoughts on ““Gumbo Diplomacy”

  1. Kindness and compassion are excellent tools, I wish I had had someone to demonstrate these tools to me at an early age. Unfortunately, I did not. It is not that I am not kind and compassionate, but they are like foreign entities to me, a part of me, but yet apart from me. I was not always kind, I never even knew what kindness was until I ran away from home. Can you imagine? Nor did I understand compassion. While I can recognize when others are suffering, and try to do something to ease their pain, mostly when I see suffering I am first reminded of how I used to suffer, and use those feelings to show me how these people are feeling. That makes it about me, not them. I don’t want it to be about me.

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    • Oh, but kudos to Linda Thomas-Greenfield. She took what she was given and ran with it, is still running with it. As ironic as the award was from LSU, I’m glad to see the university itself has changed, and I applaud them.
      Now, about the large part of America who wish they still lived in those times she grew up in, may they each break their pointer finger, and burn the taste buds off their tongues. Maybe that would help teach them to be kind to others, all others.

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      • Indeed, Ms. Thomas-Greefield is one of a kind. She did not let adversity make her bitter and cruel, did not seek revenge, but rather determined to stop it from happening to others. She is one remarkable lady!

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    • And yet, even though you had never experienced kindness or compassion, you weren’t a cruel person. As a rule, I think that adversity can either make us throw our hands up and give up, or it can make us better people, make us want to make the world a little bit better place.

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  2. Thank you for reblogging, Jill. I’m delighted to see Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield become more widely known. I’m hopeful that the world will soon more fully recognize the special qualities that she brings to reversing America’s negative image at the U.N. and converting challenges into successes. She is, after all, adept at overcoming obstacles!

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    • My pleasure, Annie! I was thrilled to see this post and I am convinced that Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield is just exactly the right person for this job! As you say, she has had a lifetime of experience in overcoming obstacles!

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  3. have you noticed that Black History month was given the shortest month of the year? We just keep shortchanging an entire population group. I appreciate all your posts. They have been wonderful!

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    • Well, supposedly February was chosen because it is the birthdays of both Abe Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, but you’re right … it is the shortest (and coldest) month of the year. I’m glad you’ve enjoyed my posts … I have been remiss this year, caught up in other things, but to me, Black History is important year round, so there will be more later!

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