Lynn Ware

Sunday, February 24, 2008
Cape Girardeau Police Department's Lynn Ware. (Kit Doyle)

A little bit about Lynn:I grew up in Flint, Mich. I came here in 1978. I received a bachelor's degree from Sterling University and a master's degree from William Woods University,

I am the Cape Girardeau Safe Communities Program coordinator, I serve as liaison for MODOT District 10 for Child Passenger Safety, member of the National Child Passenger Safety Board, the State CPS Board, the Executive Board for the Southeast Coalition for Roadway Safety, the Cape Family Resource Center Executive Board, coordinator for the Mothers Against Drunk Driving Victim Impact Panel, and I am also a Sunday school teacher at Rhema Word Breakthrough International Ministries.

How do you feel about Black History Month?

I think Black History Month is GREAT! Although, I believe we should share/teach what blacks have achieved all the time. We are a strong, creative and intelligent culture (not putting down any other cultures) and not just in sports and rap music. I also believe as a culture, we must do more, and it's up to our generation to make that happen. Our younger generation sometimes doesn't have the information they need, primarily because of the lack in the older generations. We must, as a culture, teach other children about the old days and their inventions and miracles, as well as what's going on in the world today.

In my opinion, the school system is limited. Personally, I never left that task for them to perform for my daughter and now my grandchildren. Although, I do thank God for what is being taught in our schools and the efforts that are made in recognition of Black History Month. I do want to add that there's so much information out there now, much more than ever before. The number of black researchers and educators has greatly increased, allowing much more information to be available for our young people. Frankly, I enjoy going to the Internet, reading books and doing projects with my grandchildren and sharing our history with other children. But most importantly I share with them that this is their time now to be strong, creative and intelligent and to be the best they can be.

Do you do anything to celebrate/honor it?

The way I celebrate Black History Month is to be the very best that I can be as a person. To be the "dream" that Dr. Martin L. King talked about. To treat everyone with respect and fairness, rather their black, white, red, rich or poor. I try to participate and support the programs that are being held in the community. This is a special time, a time of recognition and coming together in agreement and not forgetting how our ancestors performed and lived; a time of remembering how destructive racism is and what it can do to the communities that we live in.

Who are your heroes?

My mother and father are my heroes. They both worked hard in their professions to take care of me and my four siblings. It was not easy for them, but they taught us all the difference between right and wrong and that life was not always fair. You must stay in school and get an education so we could do better then what they were doing.

My mother was the one that disciplined us -- funny, she was short and small in stature, but to me she was strong, very tall and what she said was the law. My parents are my heroes because when things were very tough they still stayed together and made it work for our sake. My heart goes out to those one parent families. It's so important for families with children to have both parents in the home along with rules and discipline.

What was your family life like growing up?

For me it was tough; I was the oldest girl, and while my parents were working I had the responsibility of three siblings under me. We were raised in the city, and I remember so often the other kids in the neighborhood were a darker skin color. We were all considered black, but many times we had to fight, because someone didn't like that our skin was lighter. So we had to learn how to take care of each other and many times just down right fight. But for the most part it was great growing up. Holidays are very memorable, especially Christmas with all the white snow, the sledding, huge Christmas tree with gifts and all the food.

Did you feel different as a black person in your community or feel like people saw you as different?

No, I always wanted to work and try to do my very best, as well as mimic what I've always taught my daughter, "To do what you know to do is right and God would take care of the rest." As for feeling if people saw me differently because of my race, sure I've felt that before. Not everyone and certainly not often, but I've been there before. It's not a good feeling, but I have learned to overcome that and remember what my goal is. Although, I must say it is an honor to work and help others in our community where ever I can. It doesn't matter to me as I've said before if you're black or white, rich or poor, we're all in this world together.

Do you still feel that way?

Yes, and let me emphasize: To me, we are a blessed community. There are opportunities out there, and there is racism, too. I don't believe we're in a racism war. But I do believe you must make yourself marketable and set specific goals for yourself. I haven't always been where I am now. I went back to school, got an education and have student loans just like the next person. If I had not done that, I would not be where I am now.

I don't want to offend anyone, but I recommend that you do what I did years ago, and that is evaluate the community that you are presently in. If it does not have what you need to prosper spiritually and financially in a positive way for your life, you should find a community that works for you. I did -- I came here when I was 18 years old, and I will be 50 next year. I was a housekeeper at a hotel, factory worker, salesperson, secretary, supervisor and now an educator with a master's degree. It was not easy, but you only have one life. Make it work!

Where do you think the country stands in the racism war?

Well, racism is out there; we just have to make sure as individuals that we don't take part in it.

Where do you think the community stands in the racism war?

I think each individual has there own beliefs. Some will be racist. We can't change everyone, and those are just obstacles that we have to be aware of. Our focus should be on our goals and how we can over come these obstacles. Remember, when one door closes, God can open another.

What do you tell your children about race and racism?

I have one daughter, Erica, one son, Kirvy, and three grandchildren. I share with them all of the above and more, and I pray that they will have God's protection and favor everywhere they may go.

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