Happy Saturday! It’s Day #5 of the Digital Sisterhood Book 11 Day Countdown Campaign. Today’s blog features an excerpt from Chapter 2 of Ananda Leeke’s new book, Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online. The title of Chapter 2 is Truth: I Am My Mother’s Daughter. It discusses the impact Ananda’s mother, Theresa B. Leeke has had on her life and digital experiences.
Chapter Two: Truth: I Am My Mother’s Daughter (Copyright 2013 by Madelyn C. Leeke)
“Information, media, and technology opened up a new world for me.” Theresa B. Leeke
One morning while I was sitting at the 16th and U Starbucks drinking my Venti decaf Café Americano with three pumps of raspberry and a dash of my own rice milk, thoughts about my mother Theresa occupied my brain when I should have been writing this book. Little did I know those thoughts would inspire this chapter. Don’t you just love how the universe and the creative muse conspire to work it all out?
Musician. Feminist. Sorority Leader. Educator. Traveler. A former paper girl with a newspaper route and dreams of being a radio DJ in Indianapolis, Indiana. These are just a few words that describe my mother. Her passion for information, media, and technology decorated the landscape of my childhood. It started with her listening to an early morning radio show, WTOP-AM. The show provided updates on local news, politics, traffic, weather, and school closings. My mother was in the know 24/7/365.
Her passion embraced the headlines of the Washington Post newspaper and the evening news on television. It also greeted me each week when JET magazine, the Indianapolis Recorder newspaper, and the Catholic Standard newspaper arrived in the mailbox. Each month it showed up when her favorite magazines, Ebony, Essence, and Ms. appeared on my family’s kitchen table. Because of her voracious media appetite, my brain inhaled it all!
When I turned 13, I developed a healthy appetite for lipstick, fashion, entertainment, and women’s issues as a result of reading my mother’s Essence and Ms. magazines, and discovering my own favorites, Mademoiselle, Glamour, Right On!, and Vogue. All of the articles I read inspired my desire to expand my wardrobe while I was a seventh grader at Kenmoor Junior High School in Landover, Maryland. I begged my parents for money to purchase outfits, shoes, and accessories. My mother told me I would have to make do with what she and my father already purchased unless I found a job. She suggested I consider becoming a paper girl like she was when she was in elementary school because it would allow me to earn my own money and spend it the way I liked. The power of being able to earn and spend my own money excited me. So I talked to my brothers, Mike and Mark, who were ready to retire from delivering the Washington Star, the local evening paper. They gave me an opportunity to shadow them on their afternoon route and weekly collection process. It didn’t take me long to fall in love with being the neighborhood paper girl. I even expanded my paper delivery enterprise to include the Washington Post, the daily morning paper, when I entered the eighth grade. That move helped me acquire a deep desire to always read the Style, Business, and Metro sections before reading any other part of the paper (I still do it today!).
Nowadays, my mother’s passion for information, media, and technology is still going strong. Her favorite news sources have expanded to include CNN and MSNBC; the Washington Post, Washington Afro-American, Washington Informer, Prince George’s Journal, Catholic Standard, and Indianapolis Recorder newspapers; and WHUR-FM and WTOP-AM radio stations. Her magazine collection includes Black Enterprise, Ebony, Essence, Good Housekeeping, Heart and Soul, JET, Prevention, Real Simple, Soap Opera Digest, and The Oprah Magazine.
She has one laptop for her music and work as the director of liturgical music and gospel choir director for her Catholic church. Her second laptop is used to access the Internet, email, online banking, Amazon.com, and her work with Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. and the Phyllis Wheatley YWCA. Whenever she travels, one of her laptops goes with her. Her iPod is loaded with gospel music to keep her company. Hotel WiFi service and business centers are essential to making her stay a favorable one.
YouTube is one of her favorite places to visit online. She enjoys watching videos featuring gospel music singers and musicians. They help her prepare and select music for her church’s weekly Masses and concerts. She also shares them with her choir members as a way of introducing them to new music.
Facebook is her online community du jour. She uses it to stay in touch with family, friends, former students she taught in the D.C. and Maryland Catholic schools, sorority members, and colleagues. Her Facebook status updates give voice to her spiritual inspirations from Joyce Meyer to Joel Osteen, her feminist perspective and commitment to women’s rights, her support of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, her commentary on popular culture, and her sense of humor. Her digital camera allows her to capture, post, and share photos with family and friends on Facebook. Her membership in various Facebook groups fuels her community building spirit.
One of her best friends is her Samsung Galaxy smartphone. It keeps her plugged into her email and accessible via text to family, friends, and people she is working with through her church, sorority, and community organizations. Skype has allowed her to maintain a long distance connection to family and friends who live in other states and countries.
You can purchase Digital Sisterhood on Amazon.com.
If you are in Washington, D.C. on October 19, please plan to attend Ananda’s author talk and book reading from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery, 1632 U Street, NW (three blocks from the U Street/Cardozo Green Line Metro Station). Click here to register for the event. See you on October 19th!