“I really want to be a philanthropist”

Qiana Nicks-Davis:

“I know what it’s like to be in need. I was a young mother. I couldn’t afford to buy my next pack of diapers. When I couldn’t provide this item, it made me feel terrible. Knowing that I had to provide for another person and I didn’t have the means to do that, I had shame because I decided to have a family and to be a mom. I had my mom, but I couldn’t quite express what I was going through. You don’t immediately go to your parents.”

“Somebody was able to step in and give to me with no strings attached. I was walking on Van Dyke and Third. I saw her van. She tooted. I waved. She said, “I see that you have a little one. I have a case of diapers.” I broke down. When she brought that box of diapers, it meant everything. It did something to me. It made me realize that there are people out there– even amongst my community in places that look torn down. There are people who will help you. It turned out to be Willie Lee Alexander. She was best friends with Barbara Brown (Mother Brown). She became great friends with my family. I appreciate how she never left my side. She’s my daughter’s godmother. So I had the opportunity to hang with these older women. They were givers. The ones out there feeding the hungry. They gave everything they had to others.

“I was at the funeral of a young lady. She had passed away from breast cancer. We hear about the (high) breast cancer rates in my area. I knew that she had so much inside of her to give and the things that she planned to do because I’d had those conversations with her. I was looking at her in the casket. All those awesome things that she wanted to do and give and be, and her time was up. And when they read back who she was–they read what school she graduated from, when she got her first job, where she met her fiance. Listening to that, I knew that her dreams and aspirations had died with her. No one will ever be able to write about her being like Josephine Baker adopting kids of every race. Her ending was different than what I knew she wanted. No one talked about them because no one knew.” 

“I’ve attended so many funerals of people who passed away too soon. It took those moments to sit back and ask myself, “Am I living up to my full potential?” When there is something inside you that we try to bury and suppress and that voice gets louder, I started thinking to myself, “When I pass away, what are they gonna say about Qiana?” The older I was getting, the louder it was getting. And then it’s too loud. Purpose was inside me screaming and crying.”

“I want to be a philanthropist. To give something to someone that they can never pay me back for. I don’t want you to pay me back. I want you to take that and make something great, and I want you to remember and help other people. It has a trickle effect. They pay it forward.”

“That day, I felt that the brainstorm was a gift. Something priceless and inspiring. It was time. I had that voice already. This special event allowed me to say, ‘I am stepping out, and I’m gonna do it.’ It was the beginning of unraveling this gift. It was perfect timing.”

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