During Black History month everyone will remember the long line of history left to celebrate, and look toward the future of history being written with the Kings and queens, leaders, orators, champions and heralds of a great nation of people. Amongst these great people are those who may or may not get a full appreciation of the effect they have made on history and I want to dedicate this article to a cheerleader for children, poetry and motivation in the person of LaKisha Marie Tanksley.
I feel blessed and deeply moved to have met LaKisha in Chicago while working to close the digital divide through educating people to the uses of technology. The cliché of – this being a small world has never rung true in the fact of being able to meet and work with LaKisha while in Chicago, a humongous city of hard working people with a unique vision. Chicago has given us a some history makers in it’s own right Mayor Harold Washington, Author Richard Wright, Explorer Jean-Baptist-Point Du Sable the founder of Chicago, Talk Show host Oprah Winfrey and many more. After working with Lakisha for a too short while I knew in my heart that she was in the right place at the right time. Since her passing in the summer of 2005 I also know that she will be missed by thousands and hopefully millions that her work was able to touch.
Lakisha had a vision of motivating those around her in the same path as Oprah Winfrey and Gwendolyn Brooks. Her poetry touched and inspired those who read the living words she brought to light not only from herself but from children she worked tirelessly to inspire and reminded me of Cleopatra VII, Queen of Kenet an incredible linguist in her own lifetime.
In searching for wisdom her thirst for was just as royally steadfast as Makeda, Queen of Sheba. LaKisha would tell me about her quests to find ways to inspire others through poetry and motivation for all those who thought life was dark and hopeless.
Poetry was a beacon of light for LaKisha like Behanzin often referred to as the King Shark, a surname which symbolized strength strength and wisdom. LaKisha used words in her poetry to give strength and wisdom to her readers. She fed her poetry to anyone who would listen. Thankfully words were not something that just lay on a page, words were for inspiration, action, consolation, and comfort to LaKisha as anyone who came around her would immediately find out. If you stood still for a few minutes around LaKisha, your going to hear some poetic or motivational words – definite proof of her having the King Shark as an ancestor with his massive contribution to his time and ours.
During the summer of 2005 we lost another member of our motivational cheerleaders, especially one who would have proven to become an icon of motivation. I close with an excerpt from her collection of poems – Bridges of Hope, a fitting title for a book from a fantastic cheerleader of hope – Mrs. LaKisha Tanksley-Simpson, Poet and Motivational Speaker, Chicago, IL
I leave everyone with a small excerpt from one of her books – Bridge of Hope: an anthology of motivational poems and stories, with the 2nd book titled – There is an Oasis : a collection of motivational poems.
From the book ‘Bridge of Hope’, a poem titled ‘I Am Destined for Greatness’
I am destined for greatness.
I am determined to succeed.
I have what it takes to get what I need.
Because success is the core of my existence;
The manifestation will appear with time.
Determination is what my dreams are made of… When I seek I will find.
By Lakisha Marie Tanksley