Bloom Where You Are Planted
By Jodi Anderson Wolhaupter
Date Posted 3/19/2022
Visiting with Dr. Artika Tyner on a sunny Saturday in early March, we were reminded of the power of leadership and making a difference, at any age! Reading from her award-winning book Justice Makes a Difference, Dr. Tyner shared with us how the female main character Justice uses the guidance of her grandmother and the biographies of inspiring Black musicians, writers, and activists to expand her understanding of how she can impact her community. Justice shares her own words, organizes a community garden, and dreams for the future, which Dr. Tyner told us parallels her own journey of discovering that she wanted to be a lawyer to help those in need. As Dr. Tyner said, “Leadership is about asking, ‘What can we do?’” In this story, we see Justice growing in her own confidence as she witnesses and learns, as she questions and educates, and as she imagines a brighter tomorrow, for herself and others.
Throughout the story, the beautiful illustrations and vignettes also demonstrate the importance of strong community ties. Being supported by loved ones, neighbors, friends, and history makers, we can tap into our own creative energy for change. Justice is not alone in this story, nor can justice be a goal pursued alone. There is an intergenerational strength at the heart of most movements for justice.
- With historical context comes knowledge.
- With a supportive role model comes the manifestation of belief. Often, we need to see the work being done to know that we, too, can play a part.
- With imagination born from encouragement comes the courage to try new things and dream new dreams.
In this season of spring, let us all feel the seeds of possibility waking within us. How might we spread our roots and sprout up with new ideas for our families and communities to try? How might we recommit to the dreams of our youth, for our youth today? Like Justice claiming her superhero moniker of “Miss Freedom Fighter, Esquire,” what name fits your identity, your gifts that can help provide care for this world that needs nurturing and tending?
Founding an organization called Planting People Growing Justice (PPGJ), Dr. Tyner exemplifies her commitment to using words and knowledge to fight for justice and change. During her time talking with Kids4, Dr. Tyner found moments to plant seeds of information, such as the Doll Test
conducted by Doctors Kenneth and Mamie Clark and used as part of the testimony for the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka case. Publishing books that celebrate leadership and multicultural representation and appreciation, PPGJ promotes literacy and lessons from history and today that will hopefully help us all bloom into a brighter tomorrow, rooted in justice for all.
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At one point in Justice Makes a Difference, Justice tells her grandma, “I want to sing for justice. Will you teach me some songs?” Her grandma sings, “This little light of mine. I’m gonna let it shine.” As the story describes, “Justice felt a light inside her spark.”
In the spirit of helping our joy and courage shine bright to make a difference, even in small ways, I’d like to share with you a little poem called The Light Inside:
The Light Inside, by Jodi Anderson-Wolhaupter
deep down inside,
even deeper than my tummy,
lives a special light that warms me
even when I’m feeling crummy.
When I smile at a friend,
you see it glow on my face.
You hear it in my “Good job,”
I tell the winner of the race.
Sometimes, the light can flicker
when I’m low or scared or mad.
But then I wipe my tears and look
for who else might need some glad.
Sharing flowers, a note, a kiss on the cheek
can make my light burn brighter.
Because it’s not in the getting that I learn to shine ~
It’s the giving that helps us live