I heard today, sadly, Aretha Franklin passed. I learned, despite the fact she travelled the world and at inaugurations, she lived in the place she called home, the very maligned city of Detroit.
We all have places we call home, the places, despite their reputation and despite the people who try and convince us otherwise, are home, in our heart, for as much time as we wish to breathe.
I have had many homes, many places where I feel like I can crawl inside the zip code and have places let me sleep and put my wet shoes under the radiator, stuffed with newspaper, so I'll have something to wear the next morning. I had owned places others wouldn't and I have been called theirs by places who had many reasons, the media told them, they shouldn't.
I talked with this lady I work with who went to the border recently, wthother grandmas, and advocated for, played with and read to, the children who have been taken from their parents and are being detained at the border. She is very humble and unassuming her way of moving in the world, and she plays Tibetan singing bowls every other Friday as a studio I work, at a price, which is accessible to everybody.
She told me she was greeted in Texas by a speaker who had known Dr. King and who had spoken at his rallies. He said this immigration crisis, in how it is being handled by the general public, by citizens of every race, color and creed, is so reminiscent of what happened during the tumultuous times of the civil rights movement he has been brought to tears.
My friend, because she is my friend even though she has seen at least 30 years more than me, was housed in the homes of people who were invested in her being there and people who did not know her but loved her because of her caring about the humanitarian crisis which has landed on their doorstep. She said she was welcomed, fed and thanked, through every step of her journey. her name is Michelle Clifton, and she lives on the same road in my tiny town as two of my brothers and their children, as well as people I consider my bonus parents. She is my my family as I considered them my family.
Aretha Franklin famously sang of respect, and today, as we mourn her passing and as Motown says good bye to its queen let us embrace her message and her song. Let us sing, of respect, of brotherhood, of faith, in how we see it. Let us sing, as we sing with our actions and our hearts, about the special things we all share and about fairness, protection and equality are not limited to the people the world says are deserving of them, because they're willing or can pay, for the privilege.