Glen Ford’s daughter explains his lifelong commitment to Black people.
The response to my father’s transition from elder to ancestor has been heartfelt and stupendous. It left me wondering did he know the impact of his work, his words, and his teachings on the movement and on the community. Many have assured me that he did, and once I watched the videos from his 70th birthday celebration, where his comrades roasted him, it became clear to me that he knew. And that gave me peace.
When I shared with my friend and mentor that my father was sick, he asked me “what is your father living for?” I answered without a shadow of a doubt, “the liberation of Black people -- all oppressed people across the globe.” That was Glen's work. It was his passion. His purpose for living. And he took his art form very seriously. He was one of the most... IF NOT THE MOST... disciplined man I knew. He made sure that you continued to receive issues of Black Agenda Report every week -- even if it meant publishing it from his hospital bed. That's because he had hope. He had hope as it related to his personal health, and he had hope for Black people.
When I told my mentor my father’s motivation for living was to liberate Black people, my mentor responded “then focus on what he loves and he will keep on living.” I did that. I supported him in the hospital as he compiled pictures for the last few issues of Black Agenda Report. I applauded and celebrated him when he sent out the BAR notification emails to your mailbox announcing that the next issue was live.
And even now that he has transitioned from elder to ancestor, let us continue to focus on what will keep Glen Ford alive for all of us. And that is… fighting for the liberation of Black people, of oppressed people around the world.
As I mentioned, my father had hope. His hope was reflected in his never-ending push for the liberation of Black people. That hope was demonstrated as he mentored both peers and the next generation alike. He had something to say, and he wanted you to hear it. Sometimes he said what others wouldn't say. Sometimes he said what others didn’t want to hear. He was bold. He was brave. He created and left us an amazing body of work to teach the next generation. He did his part. Now it is time for you to take the baton.
Take the best of Glen with you. Whatever your purpose is connected to the liberation of oppressed people... be intentional about it. Be disciplined about it. If he were here today, he would challenge you (as he did on his 70th birthday in 2019) to describe what change and transformation looks like for the future. He said, “Even if you don’t have power, you have the capacity to shame the people who are against our people. Don’t give that up. Shame them.” He said, “Serve the movement. Be involved in the creation of movement, which is so complex, yet so beautiful.”
So… continue doing your part! Consistently put in the reps over and over again, and you will create the habits and the tools to liberate oppressed people. Your body of work will speak for itself. Glen Ford’s words, his works, and his teachings speak for themselves – they speak unequivocally and unapologetically to the liberation of black people.
Thanks for the love and support you've shown me, my family, the Black Agenda Report family, and my father's friends.
As my father would end his speeches, “Power to the people!”
Nia Ford is Glen Ford’s daughter.