So, I’m really big on holidays, no matter which ones they are. Of course you have your big ones like Christmas and Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day and the Fourth of July. As a kid I wasn’t really allowed to celebrate Halloween, being raised with parents who are ministers, so I love to dress up in outlandish costumes and celebrate all the pomp and circumstance of October 31st in The Village. Then there’s the unsung MVP of holidays in Juneteenth, which dates back to 1865, where Americans all over the country commemorate the ending of slavery in the United States with community celebrations and historical reflection. But one little holiday that doesn’t really get too much recognition is Flag Day. Up until recent years, I don’t think I’d given Flag Day too much thought. As I pulled out my red, white and blue heart tank top today, I thought about a few years ago when I lived abroad, and every morning while at work, my students would sing THEIR national anthem before class. Listening to them sing, though a very nice song, it gave me a certain appreciation for the U.S. national anthem, more specifically the Marvin Gaye version of “The Star Spangled Banner,” and an appreciation for the American flag. I still love to see it waving, particularly at the consulate when I’m traveling in another country. And though people generally assume that I’m everything but American when I’m abroad, I only have one flag I can claim!
Lately, I’ve had some very serendipitous occurrences in my world, that I can only chalk up to God winking at me, letting me know that everything is aligned and working out as I move forward. So, imagine my surprise when a young lady I picked up near the Barclays Center had a very short trip to the neighborhood of Crown Heights in Brooklyn, and got out at The Betsy Ross Building! I had to do a double take, like, “Is that the same Betsy Ross who made the first American Flag??? What are the chances that on Flag Day I end up in front of a residential apartment building named for Betsy Ross???!!!” But I did.
But, before that unforeseen bit of whimsy, I picked up a stunning young lady by the name of Najah. I immediately noticed that she too was dressed in red, white and blue and I complimented her on how stylish she looked. I even thought about giving her my earrings which matched her top perfectly, but hers were much more fly than mine, hands down! She was super classy in her blue hijab, red jacket, striped top and sunglasses. So I asked where she was going. Turns out that she was heading to the school in Bed Stuy where she works as a Theatre Arts Teacher. When she told me the name of the school I realized it was the same one where I’ve done some freelance work over the last year. (Another coincidence!) I had no idea that the charter school had a theatre program for the elementary school students, and she explained that this was the first year of the theatre arts program, and that she found it very fulfilling. Over the last two months, she’s been working with 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders producing a play called Alice At Wonderland, an adaptation of the classic, Alice In Wonderland! I mentioned how I’d just posted an Alice In Wonderland quote on my Instagram page two days before that described believing in the impossible:
It was completely refreshing to hear a young teacher speak about how hard the children had worked to bring the production in all its glory to the stage. “The little actress who played Alice really brought that character to life! I’m so proud of them and glad that I got to be apart of their creative growth.” Though Najah is certified to teach theatre education, her ultimate goal is to be a director full time. If she takes the Queen’s advice, I know it will happen! Happy Flag Day!