‘You can dream’: Huntley shares inspirational message at TES Black History event
Published 3:00 am Wednesday, February 10, 2016
When she was only four years old, Elizabeth Huntley walked into a bright, colorful school building and into the warm arms of a caring teacher. Her life was forever changed.
Huntley was the guest speaker at the Black History Program at Troy Elementary School Tuesday. She delivered a message of hope and promise that comes when students step from behind excuses and live their dreams.
Huntley told the TES students that she is a product of the “hood.” She told them she is the product of a dysfunctional family.
Her mother took her own life. Her dad was in and out of jail. They had no money, no decent place to live and, except for her grandmother, Huntley’s young life was void of love and affection.
“I was sad; I was depressed; I was embarrassed,” she said. “But, when I walked into that school, it was so pretty and bright and the teacher made me feel loved that I knew I had found a place of safety. I had someone to care about me. And, I started to feel smart.”
When she was six years old, Huntley’s grandmother sent her to school by herself with a note telling the teacher to put an x by everything she needed to sign to get little Liz into school.
“The teacher could have called DHR to come for me because I was too young to be going off to school by myself, Huntley said. “Or I could have been set back to the hood and forgotten but Wonder Woman saved me.”
Wonder Woman was actually a teacher who told little Liz that she was the brightest student she had ever had.
“I was smart because I had learned to read and to write in pre-school,” Huntley said. “For me, school was a place where I could grow my mind, a place where I could get an education that would take me anywhere I wanted to go. I didn’t lean on excuses. Just because your parents didn’t do doesn’t mean you can’t do. There is no reason for you to look for excuses or to be ashamed of yourself. You are being given something precious — an education. So dream and dream big.
Huntley is a Birmingham attorney. She is also the author of a book titled, “More than a Bird.”
The title of her book came from Matthew 6:26: Behold the fowls of the air for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into the barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them, are you not much better than they are?
“I was eight years old and went to church one day just to get out of the house,” Huntley said. “When I heard about the birds, I thought I had never seen any skinny birds. They all had fat tummies. I decided that this God could help me because I was more than birds and you are more than birds. You can dream and your dreams can come true.”