Carol Moseley Braun was born in Chicago. Her mother was a medical technician; her father was a law enforcement officer who mastered many languages and musical instruments. Carol's great-grandmother was a midwife who concocted her own medicines, salves and potions. From her, Carol developed a strong appreciation and belief in traditional healing methods
Life was difficult growing up. It was only a few generations after the end of slavery when blacks were ripped away from their homelands, tearing entire families apart. During Carol's youth, opportunities for African-Americans were not as available as they are today. Sadly, many whites still see blacks as Africans, not African- Americans.
"The result for black Americans is that we have come together in this country to create a new people," Carol says. "As a result of the genocide of both Africans and Native Americans and the native people's kindness and goodness to the Africans, the two peoples have intermarried. Because the native people were so welcoming, most black Americans can draw on the native American blood in their families for some sense of roots."
Carol learned the importance of hard work and getting an education at a young age. She earned her law degree from the University of Chicago while working at the post office and a grocery store. In 1992, Carol was elected to the U.S. Senate. In 1999, President Clinton appointed her as ambassador to New Zealand. In 2004, she ran for President, the first African-American woman to do so.
"You can get busy living, or you can get busy dying," Carol said. "... You serve by your actions or inaction, by what you do as well as what you fail to do. We can choose to create community that will help heal the world, help all to survive and thrive, or we can let evil continue to rampage around the planet."
During her service in New Zealand, Carol learned a great deal about Maori indigenous ways and experienced true spiritual healing. The Maori have a unique sense of time -- while Westerners think of time as a straight line, the Maori view the future as what's behind us, and the past as what is ahead.
"The future is unseen, so it is actually behind us, unknown and unknowable," Carol explains. "In the Maori view, the future is created by actions in the present. If you keep you eye forward on the lessons of the past in the present, the present is strengthened and helps you create a better future."
Carol believes the Grandmothers Council is a service to create community and magnify the good. "We can be a force to resist and fight evil," she says. "And to engage in this world today is to make certain that the anger, injury, and violence of the past do not become our legacy to the next generation, that we do make a better future."
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