This week marks the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a law that prohibits discrimination based on color, religion, race, origin, and sex. And over the decades, I’ve seen many changes in our country. When my siblings and I were little children, my father would occasionally talk about his army days.
Daddy served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War in the early 1950s. He told us about his experiences when he traveled by train from the North to the South for combat training. Just before the train crossed the Mason Dixon line, Daddy said all the Black soldiers had to move from their seats to sit at the back of the train. That was the law in the South back then.
Now let’s fast forward to April 9th, 2014 at approximately 6 p.m. when my son came home.
“Dad, she’s gone,” he shouted up the stairs.
“Yeah, I heard,” my husband replied.
Being curious about their brief conversation, I asked my son to tell me what they were talking about.
“Lacey Holsworth died,” he said. “She was the little girl who had cancer and became friends with a Michigan State basketball player.”
My son stood proudly at the door of my office as he told me about the remarkable relationship between a college basketball player and a young child.
To acknowledge the transition of their little princess, Lacey’s family posted a message on her Twitter page “. . .The world is a better place because you were in it” (Detroit News, 2014, p. 1A).
You are right Lacey’s "Mommy and Daddy, Will, Mitchell, and Luke" (Detroit News, 2014, p. 1A). The world is better. Although there’s never going to be another Lacey, her courage and love will live on and be an inspiration to others.
As I read Adreian’s response to Lacey’s transition, I fought back tears, “She is my sister, and will always be a part of my life. She taught me how to fight through everything with a smile on my face. . . I’m a better man because of her.”
Lacey referred to Adreian as her brother and Superman. The two met when Michigan State basketball players visited Sparrow Hospital. Lacey was a patient, and Lacey and Adreian connected right away. Soon after, Lacey was one of Adreian’s biggest fans, attending games and contests. And when Michigan State won the Big Ten Tournament, Lacey was there. Weakened by her battle, Adreian carried her to the net, and she helped him cut it down.
Adreian Payne, there’s never going to be another you. Although people will continue to love and care about others, your big brotherly love and kindness is an inspiration to us all.
As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, we can see how far we’ve come. Prior to the 1960s, this beautiful relationship may not have been possible. Adreian and Lacey have taught us that we can and should move beyond color, religion, race, origin, and sex.
How have you been changed by someone in your life? This is the story in you. Share it.
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Busbee, J. (2014). Lacey Holsworth, friend of MSU's Adreian Payne has died. The Dagger. Retrieved from http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/the-dagger/lacey-holsworth--friend-of-msu-s-adreian-payne--has-died-122652140.html
Charboneau, M. (2014). Princess is now an angel. The Detroit News.
Eisenberg, S. (2014). Adreian Payne and Lacey Holsworth's inspiring friendship. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWVASucWyFw
Updegrove, M. (2014). Marking the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act at the LBJ Library. The White House Blog. Retrieved from http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/04/20/marking-50th-anniversary-civil-rights-act-lbj-presidential-library