"As I sit here preparing for orientation tomorrow to start my doctoral program, reviewing paperwork for various speaking opportunities, writing an essay about teaching racial justice and leaning into this amazing journey, I can't help but wonder: "Whatever happened to my guidance counselor from high school, a white woman, who told me I was too poor to go to college so forget it and sent me to the army recruiter instead."
I was completely crushed. It devastated me for a long time. I got distracted, had a baby, and tried to forget about it. I quickly discovered that there was no walking away from this desire (God's plan.) And, being a mom only intensified my dreams and desires for my own life. I knew my daughter's life depended on it too. After that, I would go to New York University and sit in their library and pretend I was a student believing that one day I would be. I desperately wanted to go to college. I decided I wasn't joining the military and I prayed it would work out.
Life has had many twists and turns since that time, but I can't help but think about that day when this one person tried to crush my dreams forever and almost change my entire destiny! I am so thankful that God had a plan for my life and made sure that no matter what happened, I would make it here anyway. I didn't always have faith in this, but I am glad that God's plan was even bigger and better than the one I had for myself. I am going to really try hard to trust in this process and take faith with me on this journey so that the next time someone tells me I can't do something, or that I am not enough, it won't crush my spirit again, because I'll know that God's plan is way better than anything that I can ever imagine anyway. I'll just continue to be a good steward, have faith, work hard, and allow Him to take care of those who try to stop me." Aren't you inspired? Let us know. You may follow Crystal on Twitter (@MotherJustice) and feel free to share #herstory!
Crystal M. Hayes is an activist, writer, and proud mother of her 18 year-old daughter who will be a first-year college student in the fall. She is a dedicated anti-racist activist and trainer committed to eliminating structural and institutional racism and gender inequality in every aspect of the human experience. Crystal received her BA from Mount Holyoke College in African American studies and politics and a master’s degree in clinical social work from the Smith College School for Social Work. Her research and writing interests include women's health, Black life and culture, racial justice, and social policy.