The story I share today, comes from Brown Girl "Herstory" on face book. I love this site. So many wonderful, inspiring stories of women of colour. Some stories I know, many I don't, but each has encouraged me in some form.
Today's Brown Girl 'Herstory is about 2nd Lieutenant Emily Jazmin Tatum Perez was born on February 19th, 1983.
Perez was born in Heidelberg,West Germany. The daughter of African American and Hispanic parents in a U.S. military family, she graduated from Oxon Hill High School in Maryland, where she was she was wing commander of Junior ROTC. the first female of colour Cadet Command Sergeant Major in the history of the United States Military Academy at West Point, she was wing commander of Junior ROTC.
From what I have read about this remarkable young lady, who only walked amoung us 23 years, she was the apple of not only her parents, Daniel and Vicki's eyes, but to her big brother, Kevyn, loving known to her as Bubba. It seems that little Emily was Bubba's shadow.
She also had a love of G-d at an early age. Loved attending church and at age six, was baptized along with her family. She sang in the children's choir and then the youth, helping with ushering and even tutoring. What an shining of a g-dly young woman. This g-dly spirit extended to her turning her attention to the suffers of the HIV-AIDS virus.
In 2000, while in high school Emily focused her passion on the ministry of HIV/AIDS due to her love for Mr. Teddy, an extended family member. She met with her godfather to discuss the need for a HIV/AIDS ministry which resulted in the beginning of the Peace Baptist Church Shekinah Ministry. She also became an HIV/Aids peer educator with the Alexandria Red Cross Chapter and the Red Cross National Chapter. In 2001, she was honored by the Red Cross Board of Governors for her endeavors and contributions to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
As one who use to be a Care-giver to those with AIDS, Emily is truly one of my heroes.
Upon graduating from high school, Emily entered the United States Military Academy at West Point, where she was an exemplary student and talented track athlete.
Following her graduating from West Point, she was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the 204th Support Battalion, 3nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division of the Untied States Army.
Emily would be deployed to Iraq in December 2005 as a Medical Service Corps officer. Sadly She was killed when a makeshift bomb exploded near her Humvee during combat operations in Al Kifl, near Najaf, in September 2006.
Lieutenant Perez's military awards include the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, and the Combat Action Badge. She posthumously received the NCAA Award of Valor in 2008.
For one so young, she touched and inspired so many lives, so many who mourn her passing, but give thanks for her life.
Mark and I both gave a quick prayer of thanks for this remarkable young woman and pray G-d's comfort to her parents, big brother and his family as well as those who knew and loved her.