James J. Conley April 30, 1930 – December 17, 2008
James J. Conley, who would have turned 83-years-old today; the man who taught me what it means to sacrifice integrity, pride, work, and life for love. The only man who has ever loved me unconditionally, as in loving wholly without perimeters or boundaries determined by external circumstance or ego. My best friend. The one who was always there to watch me run against the boys, reminding me, “you’re better than them. Don’t you ever forget that”. The one who came to watch me play basketball as an adult, even as he was confined to a wheelchair, still yelling from the sidelines, “you still got it, kiddo!”. The one who loved my beautiful mother during the 80s when white men weren’t supposed to love Black women, all the way up until his last breath. My father. My hero. My joy. My pain. The only man for which I would ever give my life. Happy birthday, daddy. I love you.