Trudy Grant is the Manager of Religious Affairs and External Relations for the National Action Network. I interviewed her at Charity Mission Baptist Church in North Charleston, where she serves as the assistant choir director. She is a gospel singer, a civil rights activist, a mother and a grandmother.
“I don’t think your sermon comes from what you say, your sermon comes from what you do.”-Trudy B. Grant
“I have two kids. And I have one grandson. His name is Antwan, and he is probably one of the purest loves I have ever felt.
For the last four years, my focus was to always that I’ve got to make it better for him. I’ve got to make it better for him.
It has been just a crazy four years. I mean, the news was exhausting. The administration was exhausting. The work was exhausting. Then the pandemic. But I know that the wind is shifting.
I am not under the mindset that the [civil rights] work is going to slow up or that it’s going to be less difficult. That we still won’t have police brutality. That we still won’t have bias in education, bias in the pay gap, bias in other communities of color.
I’m not under the assumption that that’s going to suddenly be okay. The work has to begin because what happens is, we have legislation in place, then there was a setback in legislation. Now we have to bring it back and then we have to move the needle forward. So we’re starting at a place behind because we have to work to get it where it was. And then once we get it where it was, we have to ensure that it keeps on and it gets better. So, there’s still going to be much needed work.
My advice to folks is you can’t become complacent when you know that something is not right. We have to remember that our voice, our vote, our conscience, all of those things matter. It’s going to take a concerted effort and it’s going to take all of those things pulling at you to make this world a better place. Your walk, your talk, all has to line up.
One of the things that I always used to say is that it’s going to be hard to convince me that you’re not a smoker, if you have a cigarette in your mouth and it’s lit and you’re taking a puff. So it’s hard to convince me if you say that you’re not with something, or you’re not doing something, if you’re standing in the middle of it. So it has to be a change, not just a talk. It has to match up with what you do. I think if we get into a world where what we say and what we do line up, I think we’ll be on the verge of getting to where this country is supposed to be.”
-Did you observe examples of courage and advocacy in your youth?
-What are the values you hope to uphold?
-How do you live out your stated values in the world?
-Have you lost anyone to violence?
-Do you trust the institutions of this country to treat you fairly?
-Have you seen a loved one’s reputation maligned? How did that make you feel?
-What societal forces have been challenging for you to manage in the past four years?
-Where do you find hope?