Our Visit with Gloria White-Hammond

Ada: "Hey, what do you think about the lady with a dash in her name?

  Ben: "She sounds really cool."

  Olivia: "I just googled her: It's Gloria White-Hammond."

Interview with Gloria White-Hammond

On April 3, three weary Seevakers (us) trekked to the unknown (to Ada) territory of Forest Hills Station for our first meeting with Pastor Gloria White-Hammond. Until then, she had been a name that we researched and written about for hours on end. When we arrived at the My Sister's Keeper office, we were surprised to find a cramped office space with uneven floors and sputtering radiators. Yet, we immediately began to feel comfortable and took seats on and between the many boxes in the office. The program was preparing to move into a more spacious area on the next floor. We first met with Sarah Rial, the director of MS Keeper, who had once been a refugee fleeing Darfur. She told us about the hopes that the program has for Sudan's future. We also met with Melinda Weekes, a woman with boundless energy, who practically dragged us away so that she could give us an interview. And lastly, we met with Pastor Ray Hammond, who described the various projects that his wife had worked on to make both Boston and Darfur better places. However, we received the greatest shock when the pastor showed up.

Pastor Glo, as we call her, is friendly, soft-spoken, and intelligent. In some ways, we did expect a loud, passionate, fist-pumping activist. And in many ways, we found one. Pastor White-Hammond is an individual who, in reality, does light up any room she walks into. As we got to know her better, we discovered that although she is not always eager to have the spotlight, she exudes passion about the things she cares about in every word she speaks. We first respected her as a global leader, but now we also respected her as a person. She had gone from the-lady-with-a-dash-in-her-name to a friend. She cared about what we had to say, and spoke with a great degree of honesty and knowledge.

Towards the end of our meeting, Pastor White-Hammond told us that true leaders do not seek to promote themselves, but rather teach the younger generation how to lead. She says that, although she might not be able to a day when there is finally peace in Darfur, she wishes to see the younger generation carry on her work. And that is probably when all of us, including Ben, felt like crying. Completing the Seevak project was more than a whole bunch of papers and headaches and partner-thwacking, but was also an emotional journey that we would gladly take again.

Interview with Gloria White-Hammond