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Courtroom picture in Nashville Tennessee

Gratitude Leftovers Part I

Some of my favorite foods are spaghetti, pizza, pound cake and fried chicken. Not only do these foods taste yummy, they also double as super-yummy leftovers! My theory is that’s because a) the flavors have time to settle and b) I wasn’t responsible for cooking the dish this time around.

Exactly two weeks ago, I had the esteemed experience and privilege of testifying before the Tennessee Legislature’s Unsolved Civil Rights Crimes Special Committee about the lynching of my great grand uncle and voting rights activist Elbert Williams and its effect on subsequent generations of my family. To see the video, click here

Leslie McGraw testifying before Unsolved Civil Rights Crimes Special Committee in Nashville, Tennessee

This and the featured photo were taken by Rep. Tilman Goins of Nashville, TN. Pictured are me with Attorney Alex Little testifying in front. Background (l-r) Betsy Phillips, Nashville Scene; ??, co-chair of Racial Reconciliation Committee; Nuri Ansari, son of Elijah Davis; and John Ashworth, Historian and Project Manager for the Lynching Sites Project of Memphis

Today, I have been reflecting and appreciating events that happened a couple weeks ago. Out of the moment and back at home, I am able to recount the amazing details–without all the anxiety and emotions I experienced that day.  With so much going on, personally and nationally, I am grateful for this moment of sweet reflection. No matter what happens in the future, I feel like my Uncle Elbert, and my ancestors — as well as the ancestors of the others who testified, have been given a voice. It may not be justice, but it is a start. It kind of feels like leftovers.

“Love was not specified in the design of your brain; it is merely an endearing algorithm that freeloads on the leftover processing cycles.”
― David EaglemanSum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives

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Leslie discovered the power of the pen in the third grade after her family moved to a new school district. Writing became a way to sort out her new surroundings and escape to fantasy landscapes. That child, and voice, has matured into a poet, writer, blogger, journalist, online content creator and editor. Leslie is a social entrepreneur with a demonstrated commitment to community. She is an active community member in Washtenaw County (Michigan) with expertise in social media marketing and content management systems, volunteer coordination and writing and 19 years of experience in the areas of online community management, training, leadership development, and social networking. She is interested in facilitating connection with both community residents and businesses. Through this work, the economy of the community is improved and the organizations are financially successful. Her main mode of advocacy and online community, however, is through writing.

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