Believe it or Not…but when I was bussed to elementary school at Beasley Academic Center on 5255 S. State Street in the 1980’s, I was a quiet, shy, and awkward nerd. My first childhood home was on 80th and Constance and my sister and I were very sheltered. Since we didn’t go to the neighborhood school Horace Mann on 80th and Jeffrey with the kids who lived around us, we didn’t know any of them. My sister and I are only 20 months apart so we played with each other.
Going to Beasley was one of the major defining elements of my life. In the 1980’s across the street from the Robert Taylor Homes Projects, Beasley was the crown jewel in the Chicago Public School magnet system. Beasley had the best teachers, best equipment (it had a swimming pool), best college prep curriculum, and the basketball team was phenomenal (shout out to Coach Green). It was uber competitive and very hard to secure a seat. I’ve heard the CPS magnet school system is a beast now. But imagine in the 80’s when there were very few magnet schools and very few magnet school seats. It was the Hunger Games on crack.
My parents were lower middle class when my mom was trying to get us into Beasley. She didn’t have any juice. The seats at Beasley were filled mostly with Chicago’s Black middle and upper class. (Alderman Dorothy Tilman had to fight like hell to secure a percentage of seats for the neighborhood kids. Imagine living in Robert Taylor homes with the best school in the city across the street and you aren’t allowed to attend. That was Black elitism and classism personified.) The Beasley parents were Jack-And-Jill, sorority/fraternity, Cosby-esqe mom is a lawyer/dad is a doctor. They could afford to send their kids to private or Catholic school, but the magnet program was created so they could and would keep their kids in CPS. My mom graduated from U of I Circle campus and she had a good government job. My dad didn’t go to college and he was a #UnionStrong truck driver. My mom is a hustler and she got her girls seats in Beasley which offered the best education in the city of Chicago for FREE.99.
Going to Beasley and seeing how the Black middle and upper class lived, spoke, thought, and commanded the world shaped me into the woman I am today. Going to Beasley and having some of the most amazing teachers and administrators pour their expectations for greatness into us set the tone for how I was go out and succeed against whatever odds and obstacles were presented. Going to Beasley and meeting kids my age who were fearless, smart, and dynamic gave me a blueprint for who I wanted to grow up to be. And king among these kids was Shomari D. Dailey, ESQ.
In our Class of 90 Yearbook, Shomari Dailey was voted Most Intelligent, Most Talented, Most Popular, Most Talkative, Most Athletic, and he had perfect attendance for all 8 years at Beasley. (The only superlative I won in my class was Teacher’s Pet; told you I was a nerd. I really wanted to win Prettiest Hair, but Velicia Woods won and she deserved it.) Shomari and Damon Patton were the first people I ever met who loved to play devil’s advocate of taking a contrary point of view which they completely didn’t believe in just to spark a lively debate. Shomari had the ultimate gift of gab…IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL! Like all the girls, I had the biggest crush on Shomari Dailey and he didn’t know I existed. I think it was in 7th grade that Shomari got in trouble for talking too much with Jade Boone and Cory Johnson in Social Studies so the teacher moved him to sit right in front of her which happened to be right next to me. I thought I would die. At first, my heart would race so fast and I couldn’t stop blushing sitting next to him. Since Shomari spoke to and joked with everyone, eventually it became normal to have conversations with Shomari Dailey. He would cheat off my daily current event quizzes and borrow my school supplies. I was and still am that girl…the biggest nerd, but from my peers and time at Beasley I learned to hold my own and command any room and audience I please. But as a nerdy, awkward 7th grader, Mr. Popularity Shomari D. Dailey knowing who I was and chatting causally with me everyday in Social Studies…That was pretty cool. Shomari has a way of making anyone feel special and cool by association. He’s literally THE MAN! THAT DUDE! MR. BLACK AMERICA!
Shomari D. Dailey and I are apart of a wonderful and exclusive club that I call CPS Royalty. We graduated from Beasley class of 90 and then Whitney Young class of 94. A few days ago, I got invited to a private Facebook group to #ShoUP for Shomari.
In April 2016, Shomari was diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer – a rare disease and even rarer disease for African American men. Although the initial cancer diagnosis was of the bone (meaning that the cancer spread from the breast area to Shomari’s bones), there was the possibility that the organs could be impacted. Given this finding, hormonal cancer treatment began immediately, along with bone treatment. Over time, the cancer has continued to spread, resulting in the current state, where the cancer has metastasized to Shomari’s brain and liver.
Although this is the diagnosis, we believe and serve a God that works miracles. We humbly ask that our family, friends, Christian brothers and sisters, supporters, cancer survivors, and those that know the power of God’s healing hand, stand in agreement with us for Shomari’s deliverance.
Please prayerfully consider making a donation to Shomari’s fund to help with his Western and holistic cancer treatments. No gift is too great or small. Please share this page and information with anyone that would be interested in supporting this cause, God’s speed!
We are currently half way to the fundraising goal of $100,000. Shomari is a loving son, brother, husband, father, Beasley Bee, Whitney Young Dolphin, U of I Undergrad and Law School Fighting Illini, and a dynamic attorney. Please donate if you can, put my friend on your prayer list, and share this fundraising message.
FYI for Whitney Young Class of 94 alum…please consider giving $94 but of course any amount is wonderful and helpful. #WY94Ever
If you enjoy the Red Cup Adventures blog, please support author Deanna Burrell by purchasing her first book…the inspirational guide Voted Most Creative. The paperback and ebook are available by clicking here.
If you want new Red Cup Adventures blogs delivered hot, fresh, and directly to your email box, type your email address below and click the “create subscription” button to sign-up for my blog alerts. The list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time. Thanks! And Please…LIKE, SHARE & COMMENT!
Filed under: Black Lives Matter