The story of Belvie Rooks and Dedan Gills, their journey and their transformation, is “as old as eternity and new as now.” Dedan and Belvie were already activists, mentors, and voices for justice, but in their union, they became an even greater force for compassion and love. Dedan (1945–2015) was a lifelong social justice and human rights activist who viewed himself as a “soulutionary.” His favorite mantra—“Music is my medicine! Kindness is my song!”—was not only the hallmark of his work but the quality of his presence. Barbara Holmes writes, “His laughter, wisdom, and attentive presence set the example of how to soar while on this human journey.”
Belvie and Dedan’s journey took them to Accra, Ghana, where they were married; across the United States and Canada—including the Underground Railroad and Civil Rights Trail—planting trees and building community in cities like Toronto and Oakland as part of their organization Growing A Global Heart; and finally to Dedan’s cancer diagnosis and passing at Zen Hospice in San Francisco in 2015. This book, born of that journey, speaks to love that is at once personal, collective, and cosmic. Each page holds an invitation to seek beauty amidst heartbreak, and to raise the level of humanity. Belvie’s wisdom and listening for how this book wanted to be written, and the reflections of many who knew Dedan well, allow it to resonate with remembrance, but also with a future born of each of us.
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“There are moments so fleeting, so ineffable that like the wings of dragonflies, they shimmer, shudder and disappear. So it was that day and has been since Dedan left this realm for another. Belvie is wise enough to know that the memory of Dedan’s being is a soul reality that cannot be grasped by any medium other than the poetic.”
Reverend Barbara Holmes, PhD, author of Race and the Cosmos