A Cop’s Letter for Youth of Today. Ferguson, Baltimore, and Wherever Injustice Prevails.


 

TRULA’S OPEN LETTER TO THE YOUTH OF TODAY (A Legacy Story)

 

 

 

Pioneer police woman in Iowa, Trula Ann Godwin http://sdrc.lib.uiowa.edu/iwa/findingaids/html/GodwinTrula.html

Pioneer police woman in Iowa, Trula Ann Godwin
http://sdrc.lib.uiowa.edu/iwa/findingaids/html/GodwinTrula.html

 

The words delivered by Officer Trula Ann Godwin,  Davenport Police Department

In recent national news coverage, a young man was heralded as a hero for rescuing a couple from a burning mobile home in Mississippi. What made this story so spectacular to the media was the fact that the young man was African-American, the couple was white, and outside their mobile home flew a confederate flag. Add to that information the fact the young man was returning home just having viewed the movie “Rosewood”. (http://www.displaysforschools.com/history.html)

Here was a young man who had just seen a movie about a white hate mob wiping out an entire community of African-Americans leaving no trace that the community had ever existed. Suddenly he witnesses a burning trailer flying a Confederate flag that often is today’s emblem of membership in such a hate group.

This young man not only stopped to help, but he saved the two people inside which required going into the flaming inferno, and then giving them CPR. The couple inside told the media that medical personnel told them, another two or three minutes and they could not have been saved. The husband who was pulled to safety first said when he looked at the burning trailer, he was not sure he would have risked going back in for his wife as it looked so hopeless.

The young hero made a decision based on his hope that there is good in this world, though it may only have been in him. He did not judge the situation by what he saw, or what he could have “thought” he saw. Recently reunited with the couple he saved, he was embraced by them both, thanked and assured no Confederate flag would ever fly at their house again. Even though their flag had no association with a hate group or intended racist attitude, they now understood what it meant to him.

My challenge to the African-American youth of today is the same as my challenge to the White youth , Asian youth, Native American youth and indeed all youth. Take responsibility for all that you think, believe and act on. Do not let hate, bigotry and prejudice from the past or present lead you to destroy the future. Be strong in your pursuit of justice, and let it be justice for all.

Have faith and hope in this nation and its future. Never let anyone take your heritage from you. You were born in the greatest nation with the most freedom of any place in this world. Do not let negative history become so ingrained in you that you destine yourself, your family and this country to repeat it’s mistakes.

Be responsible to communicate with others, to bury fear of being different, and in fact learn to embrace it. It is your birthright and your true “Heritage”.

Believing in your future, I thank you.

Trula Ann Godwin.

***

 

This letter was delivered as part of my sister’s last career speech. As a police officer she loved this invitation to speak more than any other. As a white police officer she felt most honored to be asked. It was the invitation to speak at the yearly Conference of Black Youth. Indeed, though she was ill from cancer treatments, she delivered the speech as her last official outreach before leaving the force after twenty seven years to battle her breast cancer.

 She always wanted to be sure whatever she was going to say, was said in a manner that conveyed respect and lifted her listeners up. She never forgot where she came from and that she had lived growing up first- hand in the segregated south. She wanted to be sure that when they honored her by asking her to speak, she honored them in what she would say.

Trula had learned firsthand the bitterness and pain of racism when she married the first black police officer from an adjoining city. His home was fired on and his family threatened when he first went on the force. After their marriage, each served on integrated police forces of bordering states, and were shunned by many. 

Having suffered discrimination  being only the second woman to come onto the police force, she had the experience of male officers refusing to work with her because she was female, and she had already been initiated by the Blue Code punitive retribution among officers, when she reported a policeman’s abuse of a detained black suspect.

Her new marriage caused a firestorm and she now had to suffer rejection from long time friends and fellow officers. She was the butt of cruel and vicious pranks, even in the police station where her peers were among the pranksters.

She believed in expressing herself in poetry and one of the poems she wrote and dedicated to her husband follows:

Jim Flowers

DARK OPPRESSION

As dark as the night,

as dark as his hope

His very being cries out

for recognition beyond his hue.

At first, afraid to question,

bitter acceptance with restraint.

Born into penance to be paid

by generation after generation–

the tally never balanced.

Developing Mind, Body and Dreams

until the day of realization

That his dreams are for dreaming,

His mind is to waste.

His body is different…

And during Life’s struggle of Hope

for the blending of humanity

He questions his burdened strife–

and cries out..

“What seed was sown to beget

the destruction of My heritage?

Nourish the continuing growth of ignorance–

the indignities that bring

Despair to mind

Hate to heart

Dreams that become

Nightmares to the oppressed?”

*******************************************************

Such was the shared legacy she experienced and now shares with you. Cancer silenced her and stilled the fingers that had so long labored to record the story of her life and experiences. She can no longer pen her unique life events, and her written words intended for a biography  disappeared after her death. Her legacy lives on in the lives and issues she challenged and changed.

 

Trula three collage

The dignity of her last words, her personal eulogy if you will, further illustrates that she overcame the hate and the vicious attacks and died more than a survivor, she died a victor.

 

A EULOGY FOR TRULA BY TRULA 1940-2002

At the funeral services there were simple flyers handed out with a picture of a field of flowers on them. This simple statement was left as her parting thoughts.

BY TRULA

To each and everyone who touched my life each in your own way, I want to say “thank you….a very special thank you”.

Some touched me with love and compassion, standing beside me through trials and tribulations. Others became my inspiration, helping me to view life through a different light or guide me to a new path…a path yet to be explored.

There are many who touched my life as an instrument of learning, therefore a short but impressionable time.

Yet others touched me with tears or pain, you too were important.You taught me tolerance, compassion and forgiveness.

Each in your own way, loved ones, friends and acquaintances made me what I am. I grew to like myself…because of you.

trulas poem of faith

                                                      ***

 

To see the website of the organization started posthumously  use this website. It is a site that worked with victim/survivors to go underground and has an underground mail system to sustain victims. http://www.trulagodwinproject.webs.com/

 

My sister Trula succumbed to complications of breast cancer after years of struggle December 23, 2002. It ended her long career in her beloved police work unceremoniously, and with regret. In the moment she could have said anything to anyone via her eulogy and funeral, the words above are there to tell you the essence of who she was at her death. I think she was very generous in her good-bye.

Trulas%20News%20Clip%20at%20Funeral

 

 

 

NEW%20EULOGY

 

 

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About joycegodwingrubbs2

Some call me retired: I am RE-FIRED. I have written 15 books, plus 3 were written as a "ghost writer". I no longer offer them as printed books having them only available as Kindle Ebooks since my retirement as a novelist. Twelve books are on Amazon.com Kindle eBooks: collectively they are known as The Greyhound Lady Walking suspense series.They are real cases fictionalized into suspense stories to protect identities..( no victim/survivor names were compromised, and workers and locations were protected.) I also co-authored a non-fiction book: Footsteps Out of Darkness: The Annabelle Kindig Story . It is available on Amazon under the name of Annabelle Kindig. I have traveled, written from the heart, and found an audience that appreciates my "platform". The catalyst to writing the novels was the realization that if I died, I would take all my amazing experiences in these real cases with me; and believe me few have lived 5 lives in one. It would "silence the voices" of the victim/survivors whose triumphs are written into these novels. The suspense series was written in part with the collaboration of police woman and sex crime expert Trula Ann Godwin. In addition to the novels, I have written as a ghost writer for a World War II veteran who fought in the South Pacific aboard the USS Maryland in all the major battles. I have also written a non-fiction book recording oral history stories of my family members beginning with the 1930's to present. There are sixty-six "legacy" stories with pictures. It was recently published as a private printing for family and close associates only. I am a published photo journalist having won the 2009 Editor's Choice Award for internet freelance news articles and pictures of the Cedar Rapid's Iowa flood victim accounts and their personal struggles.. My husband and I are in our 52nd year together (only one blip on the marital radar together), and we have adopted three greyhounds; Dex, Big Buddy and Baby Doll. These were the inspirations in the Greyhound Lady Walking suspense series We have eleven grandchildren, 7 grandsons and 4 granddaughters. My three children live in Iowa, Wisconsin and Ohio.
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