Willie B. Garrett Honored as 2016 Award Recipient for Outstanding Career Achievement in Black Psychology


Willie B. Garrett was honored on February 5, 2016, as the 2016 award recipient for Outstanding Career Achievement in Black Psychology.  Front row, from left to right: BraVada Garrett-Akiinsanya, Harriett Haynes. Susan Rydell.  Back row, from left to right: Ted Thompson, Pearl Barner, Willie B. Garrett, Shonda Craft, Zach White, Linda Muldoon.

BraVada Garrett-Akinsanya presented the following poem at the awards ceremony.  She wrote it for Dr. Garrett.

Where Freedom Lies
Willie Garrett 2.5.2016
On the occasion of his recognition for
Outstanding Career Achievement in Black Psychology

Freedom lies beneath a shattered dream of a black mama wanting her baby to live.

Freedom lies among the Hmong client who looks across the desk and sees my Black face and then sees himself.

Freedom lies within the deepest recesses of a son from the old rural south and folks who migrated up North wondering who was free and who was not; Because freedom never came easy for a Black man. 

Freedom lies in the sacred arms of my lover; the way that I felt when I met my wife, the love of my life who holds me and nurtures me and makes my entire soul laugh.

Freedom lies in knowing that if I get sick, there are those who will hit their knees begging for intercessory angels to plead to GOD himself that I be restored; that I still be here to teach and learn and grow and give and nurture and empower and educate and love and be. ....who I be.

Freedom is the way that I choose to live everyday of my life as a Black man --without those shackles of shame, without those chains of regret, and without those masks of trying to act "polite and happy" when I am not. 

Freedom is knowing that I am a descendant of those who came before me, and who believed that building pyramids showed their brilliance, that the flash of our 'black man' smiles would embody the beauty of our spirits, the depths of our souls, and impossible limits of our capacity to achieve greatness.

Freedom lies in the fact that I can wholeheartedly reject the claims and narratives of others who do not know me or the flava of my "Kool-Aid!"

Freedom lies in the fact that I know that I am enough. My spirit is beautiful enough. My heart is steady enough. My mind is creative enough. And my hands are strong enough to face the challenges to my resilience.

I know that Freedom lies within my self-assessment. Some will want to write me down as being bold and arrogant, while others will say that I don't speak up enough. Some will say I am a noble gentleman while others will say that I am less than human.

I know that despite their pontifications, generalizations and perseverations about my truth, freedom lies in knowing I am imbued with unimaginable gifts and talents, as a child of THE LIVING GOD.  The child of the Great I AM. Right now, in this place, with witnesses before me, I AM. I AM Willie Garrett. I AM EXACTLY WHERE FREEDOM LIES.

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Comments on "Willie B. Garrett Honored as 2016 Award Recipient for Outstanding Career Achievement in Black Psychology"

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Lois Schlutter - Thursday, April 07, 2016

Wonderful Willie Garrett being so honored. What a treasure to our group of psychologists, and the state. I know how hard you have worked to have many be their best, and yes to be free. Lois Schlutter

Steven Vincent - Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Thank you, BraVada. This is beautiful. Thank you, Willie, for being a person who inspires and who is where freedom lies.

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