An excerpt from Yoli Tamu’s book, “Back to Me: A Devotional Walk for College Freshman Woman”
THE DAY MY WORLD CHANGED FOREVER
On a beautiful day in the Spring of 1993, I had just been cleared to graduate! I did it! After 4 long years of studying, training, and dedicating my life to my craft and commitment to the performing arts, I was finally ready to graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre from Howard University! I dreamed about attending this school ever since I heard the incredible Dancer, Choreographer and Director, Debbie Allen graduated from there. I wanted to learn from the professors that taught her! I knew if she went there, the sky would be the limit for what I could accomplish with my life one day! Walking home to the house I shared with 2 other roommates, the sun was shining brightly and the trees seemed to greet me as I passed them by. I was on cloud nine and couldn’t wait to call home to tell my parents that it was official. I thought, “Start booking your airline tickets, folks cause I’m graduating!!!”
In all of my joy and excitement about what was to come after I prepared to walk across that stage to get my diploma, all I could think about was how much I was going to miss my friends and I wanted to do my best job for my last musical performance in the historical Ira Aldridge
Theatre with the cast that had become my family over the years. Those last few weeks were becoming bittersweet, but nothing prepared me for the bitter taste of life that was about to interrupt my beautiful day.
As I continued my walk home, I could see my street when all of a sudden a stranger grabbed me from behind. He told me he had a gun and he was not going to hurt
me, as he poked me with it in my side. He told me to walk with him for a while because the cops were looking for him. Startled and shocked by the abrupt surprise of someone grabbing me, I told him to calm down and I could walk for a bit, but he would have to let me go. He told me to shut up and walk. I couldn’t believe it. I could see my front door just a few blocks away and I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to make that celebratory call to my parents.
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