Ms. Raven Gandbury is a 20-year young country girl from Fayette County Tennessee. She attends LeMoyne-Owen College in Memphis, TN. At the esteemed institution, she holds the following positions: Miss United Negro College Fund; NAACP-Vice-President; Gospel Choir-President; and Student Ambassador. She’s also the founder of a women empowering organization called, Powerful Ladies of Color, which has been around for over a year.
“If I had to give a quote that represents my life, it would simply be, ‘Hold on just a little while longer!’,” Grandbury states. “God has truly made blessings become an everyday gift for me as this interview being one.”
Can you give our readers a brief background on where you came from and growing up?
I am the fifth child out of ten, so there wasn’t any spoiling going on, but just much love. Seeing my family members incarcerated, murdered, and much more really taught me to be brave and go after what I want because nothing is promised. I was taught to survive off God’s word and strive until it’s all over. With my parents being pastors, Word of Hope Apostolic, I grew closer to God and allowed my walk with him to become my lifestyle. Though I’m still evolving, I am grateful for what has already come and is still to come.
What inspires you?
My inspiration growing up came from many people, the first of a hand full of inspirations being my father, Daniel Grandberry. He’s a Black man who was born in the 60s in a hostile household. He couldn’t finish school due to his father not allowing him and resulted in him becoming an alcoholic. One day he decided to give it all up for his child and more children to come. His story inspired me to never let my situation now determine my situation later. My mother, Josephine (Byrd) Grandberry, is another inspiration. She battles between working, caring for a household (only one able to work), and doing what people call “motherly duties”. She’s very independent, but humble. She never blames us or her husband, but does what she can to provide for us all. They are truly the reason why I keep going and why I enjoy living in my purpose. Other inspirations come from my college, LeMoyne-Owen College, family and friends.
How and when did you become involved with the NAACP?
I became involved with the NAACP my freshman year in college. I was very amazed at what the students were doing, their courage, and their ability to be themselves. I thought it was beautiful and I still do. Unfortunately, at the time I was unable to be an active member because I was basically broke. I didn’t let that stop me from being active in my work. I went to every activity and volunteered my service as if I was an active member. As Vice President of my college chapter, I want to raise the number of members and create a louder voice in Memphis, Tennessee. After college, the NAACP will still be dear to my heart. I will be sure to remain a member, hopefully in a greater position, and announce how important their mission and vision is to my audience. I would also like to bring this to the high schools and junior highs as an early eye-opener to youth. This will ensure that (our) youth are woke and are at least determined to go to a Historically Black College and University (HBCU).
Why is education important for our people, especially in today’s society?
Education in this period is very important. Blacks must continue to build their community. Most people think money is the issue, but the lack of money is actually the issue. This is also why HBCUs are pushed more than ever. We must receive and teach the knowledge that will build our community. Not to separate Black and White, but to separate hate and love. With education, we will master the unknown.
What advice do you have for Black millennials in regards to social justice and social issues?
The advice that I would and always give millennials about social issues is to push through, move forward, and uplift others on the way. Sometimes as Black men and women, we do everything to get out of our situation and forget about our Black brothers and sisters that helped along the way. We can overcome anything; our ancestors taught us that. We can build anything; our ancestors showed us that. We now have to keep it going in our own unique and beneficial way.