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ATL Mom and Nonprofit Director Speaks Out: ‘I’m mad that my son is looked at as a damn job!’

This Atlanta Based Nonprofit is Shining Light on the Special Needs Community in Their Own Way

Our Childen’s Story hosted their third annual Purple & Green Gala over the weekend, and it was a fun yet somewhat of an emotional event, in an eye-opening sort of way.

The Award Ceremony opened with a welcome from Libra Hicks the founder and president of Our Children’s Story, Inc. that was created in honor of her oldest son. 

Anthony Jr. was born with Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), a type of newborn brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation and limited blood flow, which led to Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy and a host of other challenges. Lyric, her younger son was diagnosed with Autism in 2017.  

As a sort of an ice breaker, Hicks brought up Our Children’s Story (OCS) modeling and posing coach, Cairo Williams, who is also a professional model and the creator of the Clock and Flow Method ™️. Williams invited the OCS team members Tamecha Brown (VP of OCS) and Maria Crayton (CFO of OCS) and guests to strut their stuff after giving us a demonstration on how to rip the runway.

The audience was blessed with a performance from a guitarist as well as belly dancers Ameera Johari, Basimah Baila, and Saniya Raks. The unique thing about the dancers was that once again OCS did not limit how the dancers should look. They were not the slender-bodied women we typically see but rather curvaceous, confident women flaunting their full figures.

Before giving birth to her oldest son, Anthony “Moo” Jr., Hicks was a singer, she led a game called “Name that Tune” where volunteers from the audience would attempt to guess the song she was singing. The game was followed by an Award Ceremony where Hicks honored others who have worked nonstop to help build a more stable and fruitful community.

After Idalia Blopleh program manager for Dignify a Diva, Our Children’s Story newest program said a few words.

The honorees were the following:

  • Dr. Najma Hunter Principal of North Metro GNETS in Atlanta, GA with the Community Support Award
  • Moo’s current teacher Saundra Lisic with Teacher of the Year
  • Tammy Westmoreland of nonprofit Their Voice of Greater Cincinnati who lost her son to cerebral palsy. Tammy Westmoreland who gave an award in her son’s honor was surprised when she found out she was being honored by Tomiyo Dubya.
  • Tomiyo Dubya, who is learning her new normal within this community, was connected to OCS through Idalia Blopleh of Dignify a Diva.
  • Tomiyo desired to gift two families who have special needs children with birthdays in November. Tammy was one of the families. 
  • Calvin & Anthony Smith were the recipients of Anthony’s Voice Award
  • Delores Cotton-Smith was the recipient of Shcikita Thomas Award
  • Justin Vantreese was the recipient of Micah’s Voice Award
  • and Jerhonda Pace (featured in Surviving R. Kelly documentary) was the recipient of the Advocate of the Year
  • Eboni Cobin was the recipient of Rio’s Voice Award.

There were several quotes that Libra made while presenting the honorees that stuck with me, and I felt compelled to share.

-I have to fight to make sure he’s treated fairly.  He’s seen. I have to make sure he’s heard. I have to fight day in and day out. It’s not easy. I do this 24-7.

-We have a lot of activists screaming black power this and black power that, but they don’t come when I call and say, “Hey, I need help over here! There are little black kids in wheelchairs who don’t have a voice or leg to stand on, nothing!” So who do you choose to fight for? (Inaudible over applause.) How are they not part of your interests when they are part of the same community that you are out here fighting for?

How do you pick and choose who to fight for? That’s where my struggle is. A lot of these people  who I need to show you up and help me fight, they’re like ‘Well, I can’t.’ ‘Well I have a fee’, and I’m like ‘Why do I have to pay you to show up for some shit you say you do?’ There are people over here in need and you only want to show up over there because there are cameras; it’s lights, camera, action over there, but over here it’s messy and dark! It’s families out here committing murder-suicide because they don’t get the help and their backs are against the wall. I know that feeling. I know what it’s like!

-I’m mad that my son is looked at as a damn job!

-You can’t say you love your children and not challenge the system that you give them to.

-And then we have people who don’t live the life and all we can hear is, “I can’t imagine. Well, I guess you can’t imagine, but you can help me! You don’t have to imagine, it wasn’t your battle. You aren’t supposed to get it, so yes, I’m glad you don’t get it, but here’s what you can do to help when you see the injustice speak on it!

-You have a plethora of choices, but yet you complain when five of those choices don’t suit your needs. “Oh, I can’t do it then.” Guess what, I don’t have a choice at times. I have to take the options and pick the lesser of the two evils. So when you leave here, understand that what I do is because I give a damn. It’s because of my children. It’s because of them that I give a damn because if I do not, no one will.

-You all can be a part of this community if you leave out of here and get hit by a car. If you take a bullet to the head and live, you are now a part of this community!

POWERFUL! Overall it was a great event that really felt like a welcoming into the special needs community. The activities were fun and entertaining and all throughout the event one could see how committed Hicks is to her work, but it was as we listened to the speeches from her and the honorees that we remembered the reason for the gathering. The special needs community is one of the most overlooked, under-served, and least advocated groups in our country.

Sponsors for the 3rd Annual Purple and Green Gala included AJ’s Catering, YBLimited, Clock and Flow Method  ™️, while vendors included Kashiim, an awesome young man with Down Syndrome, and Shelby Surry mother to Maya, a beautiful young woman with Cerebral Palsy. 

Stay tuned for future events and ways you can support below.

Website: http://ourchildrensstory.org

Instagram: @ourchildrens_story

Facebook: Our Children’s Story

View all photos on our Facebook page here. 

Francheska Felder
Francheska Felderhttp://swagheronline.com
Francheska "Fancy" Felder is the founder/publisher/EIC of SwagHer Magazine. She is a -Single mother of 3 -Libra - Trapping scribe -Lover -Mental health advocate - Country girl -Proud, liberated Black goddess ________________________________________ Long Bio: Francheska “Fancy” Felder is the owner of Fancy’s Thoughts and the award-winning publisher and editor-in-chief of SwagHer Magazine, a lifestyle and empowerment publication for the Black woman who likes to keep it real in life and business. The magazine doubles as a PR boutique offering public relations services and visibility coaching, and Fancy strategically executes brand campaigns for Black women CEOs, coaches, and authors. The former teen mom started the company in 2010 while working as an exotic dancer, but soon after, her love for empowering Black women led her to abandon that lifestyle. She has received awards for her work as a positive news publisher and journalist telling the stories of Black women and other informative news that the Black community finds relevant, including the severe topics of Black mental health and domestic violence. The podcast she co-hosts with Arnya T.M. Davis, Theories & Thoughts, also continues these conversations. Fancy publicly speaks about her battle with bipolar disorder with hopes of helping others begin their wellness paths. She also shares her mental health story in contribution to the I Am a Black Woman- Next Level anthology, an Amazon Best-Seller. In the summer of 2022, RallyUp Magazine, a mental health magazine, featured Fancy as their cover story, where she opened up about receiving her diagnosis. The McComb, Mississippi native is part of Facebook’s independent journalism project, Bulletin, where she publishes The Higher South, and she was a member of the NABJ Entrepreneur Academy powered by CafeMedia in 2021. The Glambitous Guide to Self-Love, Peace, and Confidence contributor is an avid learner and creative. Currently, she is attending Southern University A&M College, completing her bachelor's degree and rearing her three young adults. Fancy enjoys learning more about spirituality, Black history, and feminism in her free time, along with yoga and walking.

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