Dear Natalie A. Collier

Dear Natalie,  

As we celebrate, organizationally, the Black women who inspire us to be our best selves, I wanted to take the time to celebrate you. You are love, in its purest, most genuine form. I have admired you as a mentor since I was 17-years-old. You have been a part of every major life success and challenge. From choosing a college to naming my first baby girl, you have been there, gracefully offering words of intentionality and support. During challenges, your calm spirit has helped to guide and encourage in ways that are invaluable. Your grace and poise inspire everyone you come in contact with. The spirits of the women we study and fashion ourselves after live within you, and you share your wisdom freely and unconditionally. I am glad I can now call you my friend and my sister.  

When I reached out to you for advice about a career change, you gave me the chance of a lifetime. I am forever grateful to you for trusting me with your vision and for helping me see my life’s purpose. Walking alongside you in building an institution where Black girls and women are centered is one of my greatest accomplishments. You often say there is no work-life balance: there is just life. And what a life you have created not only for yourself, but for all of us here at The Lighthouse | Black Girl Projects.  

Thank you, sister, for devoting your life to the lives of little Black girls and women in Mississippi and throughout the southeastern United States. It may be hard for you to see it today, because you are head down working and fighting for liberation, but the impact you are creating is insurmountable. I love you, nac. I value you. I am proud of you.  

Love and Light,  

Melishia Grayson-Brooks  

melishiagrayson@gmail.com'
About the author

Melishia Brooks is a Native of Jackson, MS where she graduated from the historic Lanier High School. She is a graduate of Jackson State University where she received a degree in English. She is also a graduate of the University of MS, where she she received her Masters of Teaching degree through the MS Teacher Corps. She is currently a 5th year, public school teacher in MS. She is the devoted wife of Scottie and the mother of 4, Kaylee, BJ, Ava, and Asher.

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