AFFIRMED: One Woman’s Story of Racial Healing
By: Sabra Marie, IVN Guest Columnist
Local community leader, Dr. Michele G. Turner, also known as “Sheli” to her friends, wears many hats. She is an executive, educator, entrepreneur, advocate, wife, mother, sister, daughter and friend. As Executive Director of the USC Black Alumni Association and a champion for the students she serves, Dr. Turner is committed to advancing policies and practices that promote higher education access, equity and inclusion. Especially because of her family background and upbringing, she understands the importance of affirmation and the need for racial healing in today’s political climate.
Compelled to share her experiences as a biracial woman, who spent her summers with her grandparents in the conservative South, Turner had been led her to tell her story. “AFFIRMED: Life Lessons in Racial Healing and Transformation” is a compilation of thirteen uniquely different "life lessons." In telling her story, she breaks a silence about being biracial in America and delves into the depths of the love, the heartache, and the resiliency of an exceptional life transformed through racial healing. Sheli Turner was inspired to tell her own truth concerning being an individual surrounded by affirmation, encouragement and love and how those ideals shaped her into the woman she is today. In offering her story as lessons to others, Turner doesn’t just tell a story; she shares learning and offers an authentic, thoughtful response to the social conflicts regarding black/white division that keep American society in crisis.
Beginning in a time prior to the Loving vs. Virginia case, Sheli’s story traverses San Francisco and Virginia, exploring three generations of family evolution. Turner’s story is not a politically correct memoir. It is a courageous outpouring of a heart that beats to the tune of the current racial climate yet honors a legacy of ancestry. Brutally honest, each one of her 13 lessons confront the intersections of identity, conformity, tradition and heritage in a manner that exposes the strengths of choice in a changing world.
Anyone with a curiosity about humanity, family, race, politics and social justice will enjoy learning her story. By leaning in to what she has to say, we all stand to gain a deeper appreciation for how racial superiority systems cripple the potential of human relationships. Additionally, individuals can gain more of an understanding on what families like Turner’s had to conquer in order to survive as a unit. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Turner hopes that in sharing her story, people will learn that intention is the backbone of racial healing, and that when we make the decision to live intentionally in this regard, we cannot help but see life differently.
To learn more about the author and her story, visit: https://www.sheliturner.com/.
Article Written By: Sabra Marie