"And yet, the dawn is ours before we knew it." —Amanda Gorman

Cicely Tyson repeatedly stated that she was paving the way for other Black actors to follow her and she dreamed that more roles would be available for them. I remember the first time I watched Cicely Tyson on screen and being mesmerized by her. She is remembered for her contributions as a trailblazer and pioneer in film because she believed in the collective. Because of her, many actors found a path to follow and opportunities created for them. The path was there before they knew it. As we celebrate Black History month and the importance of representation, I believe it is important to understand how representation works. Seeing Cicely Tyson on screen and then later, Viola Davis and Kerry Washington, is a direct result of Cicely reaching back and ensuring the groundwork was laid for them. This belief in the collective and paving the way for the next generations is the cornerstone of Black culture. It is an expectation to give back and promote the next generation.

As I read this quote, I immediately thought of my parents. My parents did not finish high school but the belief in education was always there. They worked diligently to ensure that my siblings and I had the opportunities to not only finish high school but go beyond. My parents utilized a path laid by other individuals to accomplish their goal and propel us forward. Black culture embodies a resiliency mindset and continues to push each generation forward with painstaking hard work. I am reminded of my parent’s struggles but celebrate the belief that better was on the next generation’s horizon. The path was laid for me before I knew it. It is always the darkest before the dawn. And that darkness was worth it because it meant a better life for generations to come. I celebrate this belief and resiliency which can be easily heard in the speech of the current Vice President of the United States, “I may be the first, but I will not be the last.”

Joy Brunson-Nsubuga

Joy is the Vice President of the Southeast Region for RI International. She is an expert in Medication Assisted Treatment and is the leader of the RI Opioid Consult team. Joy is also a member of the RI International Diversity and Inclusion Council. She has determined that her purpose in career is the same as her purpose in life; to assist with breaking generational and systemic patterns with compassion, creativity, and consistency.