Fort Worth (CBSDFW.COM) – For Mrs. Opal Lee of Fort Worth please prepare to complete the round. From a victim of racial hatred … to a toast to the city.
On Thursday, she will be named as the person of the year by Fort Worth Inc. 2022. A meeting on Thursday night at the Fort Worth Club will honor her and a list of the 400 most influential people in Fort Worth in 2022.
“I’m shocked … I really don’t know how to act,” said Lee, 95. “I want to do a holy dance … but they say I’m crazy,” she adds with an evil smile. – That’s how grateful I am.
A visit with Mrs. Opal is always a walk with wisdom. We recently met to stroll through the green rows of the so-called Opal Farm, an urban oasis located in the shadow of downtown Fort Worth. The farm is supported by a local food bank, and fresh produce also enters local farmer’s markets.
“Listen! I’m on the farm in the summer, ”she shares. The visit digs up memories rooted in compassion.
“It’s part of my DNA … my grandfather brought people to my grandmother and said, ‘Bring them to work, find them food.’
In the coming decades, Mrs. Opal will continue to support the poor. And added a new goal: to promote the federal holiday of the Juneteenth. In fact, Lee became known as “Grandma Junnat” for her many years of efforts to make the liberation of American slaves a federal holiday. She was there last year when President Biden signed the law.
“I’m still pinching myself to see if it really happened. It was humiliating. I just don’t know what to say, except that I’d like to do it again, ‘she adds with a laugh,’ because I have some more things he needs. [ to do]. I need to call him. ”
Apart from politics, her relentless passion for justice began in Fort Worth. As a child, she suffered when her family home burned with an angry white crowd while police stood nearby and watched. Their crime? The realtor sold his parents a house in the white neighborhood.
“My parents left under cover of darkness,” she said. “They pulled out the furniture … just tore this house up.”
And while the awards and prizes continue to come – from across the country and North Texas – the title of “Person of the Year 2022” by Fort Worth Inc. – special. Pride brings home her truth that hearts change.
“Well,” she pauses, “times have changed. How about going full circle?”
And then she plants another seed of wisdom.
“We have red blood. And all we want is the same as what you want. Decent housing, well-paid work … there’s food … that’s all we wanted then, that’s all we want it now. ”
And when asked how she wants to be remembered in 50 years, Ms. Opal replied: “It’s somewhere along the way she was able to help a few people.” She then added, “Listen, each of us must be responsible for the others. The Bible tells us that. ”
And then finally.
“So. I want to be a famous little granny in tennis shoes who does all the other stuff … and then she turns from serious to typically annoying Mrs. Opal,” and has a damn good time! ”