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   Blacks In Government®

National President Corner

        The Honorable
   Shirley A. Jones, Esq.

Honorable Dr. Doris Sartor

For our ancestors, African proverbs offered wisdom, truth, and even comfort in one sentence. “No man is an
island.” “A single bracelet doesn’t jingle.” “Two heads are better than one. “It takes a village to raise a child.”
These proverbs expressed our connectivity as a people and the fact that everyone needs help from time to
time. But, the proverb that for me imparts both wisdom as well as an important plan of action is “Each one
teach one”.

The ever important “each one teach one” proverb dates back to slavery when oral proverbs were particularly
important since our ancestors relied on word of mouth communications almost entirely. Of course, during
slavery our ancestors were denied an education by slave masters who sought to keep them in ignorance in
order to keep them under control. But, ever so often there was a “kind-hearted” slave master or the disobedient
wife or child of a slave master who in fact taught a slave to read. And, so the “each one teach one” proverb
meant that it was that slave’s duty to teach another slave to read.

In more modern times, “each one teach one” also stated as “each one reach one” reflects our continuing duty
as African Americans to help address broader concerns and ills in the community and to share information
with one another. And, that is how I see my duty within Blacks In Government and indeed why I share this
proverb’s history with you here.

But, beyond my individual duty, I hope that every BIG member, in fact ever person, reading this message today
believes that “each one reach one” is our internal call to arms. And, as ambassadors of BIG, I exhort each of
you to share information about BIG with colleagues, friends, and family members so that every current, former,
and prospective BIG member understands the broad array of mentoring, networking, training, advocacy, and
community based services that BIG offers. So, if you believe in BIG as I do and if you believe there’s truly
strength in numbers, let’s make this bracelet jingle!

 

Shirley A. Jones, Esq.

BIG National President