Category Archives: Culture

Godparents Day!

Godparents

Happy Godparent’s Day! In the US, Godparents Day is celebrated on the first Sunday of June. I was thrilled to hear that this holiday existed. My Godparents were substitute parents for me. My primary Godmother, Aunt Sybil, was my mother’s oldest sister. She was my ‘other mother’ and teacher. She taught me about spirituality and about my Caribbean heritage. I owe her my appreciation for gardening and Diaspora cooking, especially Chinese Trinidad, Guyana food. She was my mentor, spiritual, personal, professional, and financial advisor throughout my whole life. I mentioned ‘primary’ Godmother, as I actually had another set of Godparents! Those included a paternal Protestant uncle and a maternal Buddhist/Catholic aunt (in photo above)! Godparents were also called ‘sponsors’ among some of my multicultural kinfolks.

However, Godparents can be a mixed bag. On the one hand, you have the film ‘The Godfather’ where the ‘family’ is a group of dysfunctional people with vendettas. Many of today’s modern families don’t name Godparents for their children. Some Godmothers and Godfathers lavish their Godchildren with money and gifts for every birthday and holiday imagined! Some Godparents are always available to babysit their Godchild. Some Godchildren show no appreciation for this tradition.

Becoming a Godparent: Godparenting is about religious responsibilities and being a support to the parents. An important point here is that in some cultures, you have the right and duty to stand up to the parent if they are not being good parents! Usually Godparents are asked to participate in the Christening and Baptism of a child and sometimes an adult. There are religious rites and duties for being a Godparent and a Godchild! Many people choose Godparents for their children to honor a friendship. Some people choose for financial reasons. It’s up to you to decided whether you accept this honored role. No matter the reason, being a Godparent is all about being a positive role model to a child. It’s also up to you to decide if you will choose a Godparent for your child. If you do, how will you decide who will make a good Godparent for your child?

Being a Godchild: I always took my role as a Goddaughter serious. I believe the basic rules: Be there! Show up in every way you can! I called and visited my Godmother often throughout my whole life. I became her daughter and right-hand person as much as I could until she transitioned. I also had adopted Godmothers from among neighbors and friend’s parents, especially during my teen years and young adulthood! It’s important for Godchildren to understand that it’s a relationship. They should remember their Godparent’s birthday, Christmas and more.

As a genealogist, I found important family history in religious documents such as Baptisms, Christenings, and Bible records. (The above document is my brother Sidney’s Baptism record in the Episcopal Church. He was also Baptized in a Catholic Church, as mentioned in blog post below.)These religious ceremony documents also provide needed legal value too! Here’s a related excerpt from my past blog post: “Many mothers delay naming their children,” said an NYC official who requested anonymity. As a genealogist trying to prove a client’s identity, my first thought was to go to church—in this case, the Roman Catholic Church.” To read more, click here.

How do you honor your Godparents? How did/would you choose a Godmother or Godfather for your child?

Save

Ageless & Fly

My ‘Ageless, Fly, Advanced Humans’ Pinterest page is a work in progress. Curated to inspire, I expanded it recently in honor of Women’s History Month. I also inserted ‘Still radical’ to update the title. Still radical. The recent US presidential election has generated requests for my diversity and anti-racism work just as I moved on… Continue Reading






Afro-Vegan cooking

For Black History Month this year, I focused on Diaspora Afro-vegan cooking. Since adopting a plant-based diet, I was happy to discover that vegan versions of my favorite West African dishes – Groundnut Stew and Suya— can be delicious and satisfying. These are quick and easy recipes perfect for lunch or dinner. Everything you will… Continue Reading






Witness, memory, autumn

Witness and memory captures that sweet time between summer and winter called autumn. ‘Witness’ and ‘memory’ are also theme words used in an essay about the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture #NMAAHC. Poet Elizabeth Alexander’s piece Can I Get a Witness justified nicely why we need a place to recall… Continue Reading






Liberty, Juneteenth

Liberty was a transcendent theme this year for my combined Fourth of July – Juneteenth post. I celebrated Juneteenth at a rally to save an abolitionist house in New York City. I rarely paired these two current holidays. Yet, they are so connected. With Friends of the Hopper-Gibbons House, historians, and preservationists, we gathered to… Continue Reading






Latina mental health

Latina mental health was front and center for a change thanks to Smith College alum Dior Vargas ’09. The Latina feminist mental health activist and recipient of the White House Champion of Change for Disability Advocacy, presented insights about mental illness/health and race. Her clarion call was to all Latinas and People of Color (POC)… Continue Reading






Self-care is warfare

Self-care is warfare. “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” Audre Lorde’s much loved quote opened discussions on Thick, a documentary about black women, eating, stress, and size by Robin D. Stone, a journalist and health coach. The NYC premiere screening was a Delta Sigma… Continue Reading






Holiday Reunion memories

Holiday reunions are coming. Are you ready for your crazy relatives? Back in the day, every weekend was a holiday reunion. The menu, script, and cast of characters were always set. There were always surprise guests and food items. Sometimes Dad’s Harlem-Southern and Mom’s Chinese West Indian folks would visit at the same time. But… Continue Reading