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Businesswoman Stephanie Boutte discusses Freedom and Why She's a Proud American with Aubrey R. Taylor AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What does freedom mean to you? STEPHANIE BOUTTE: I was born absent of the shackles of slavery and bondage, yet in the shadows of Jim Crow; and I was nurtured and protected by my grandparents who allowed me to build a sense of confidence and tackle aspirations which were not within their immediate grasp. Freedom to me means the underground rail road, freedom rides, sit-ins, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and President Obama. To come from a time where we were forced to drink from separate water faucets to becoming the first Black President, that is Freedom. When I think of what my ancestors had to endure, I become more in love with my Freedoms. Freedom to be me, whatever that is! I was born absent of the shackles of slavery and bondage, yet in the shadows of Jim Crow and vast discrimination. I was nurtured and protected by a grandmother who fostered me a sense of confidence to tackle aspirations which were not within her grasp as a young woman. But in the world which I bore my two children, Freedom, when considered in its full context is first and foremost a proposition, or better yet, a compromise. We concede certain rights in order to occupy certain spaces, or forfeit the same. Yes, precisely, it is that condition which allows us to navigate our "do's" and "don't's" in order to gain full access to the quality and purpose for the life we choose. So Freedom is not a stagnant thing or one which is guaranteed infinitely. Depending on how broadly we aim to exercise them (Freedoms), they become subject to challenge and doubt. At times, we have to resume the fight for it, or reinforce our right to it, as various interests whittle portions for their own purposes. Yet it is desirable, because at its best, Freedom allows us to proclaim our thoughts in an unfiltered fashion, move about our daily lives in the manner which is within the province of our own discretion, and it enables us to champion our own causes as well as those of others, when we see fit. It does require means, in terms of resources, and a state of mind which is sufficient to reach the fulfillment of this proposition.

As I reflect on the pain, struggle and hardship of those who lost their lives to the cost of Freedom, I am inclined to believe that Freedom, in its deepest sense of the word, is the ability to create, without infringement, restraints and limitations. And the awareness that the greatest burdens to the realization of true Freedom and the aspirations we treasure most are often those born within our own minds. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: Why are you proud to be an American? STEPHANIE BOUTTE: I am proud to be an American because even with all of the injustices found in our nation, we still stand proud. We still find a way to compete. We are a competitive nation. I am proud to be an American because I know the truth about how this nation was built. I know the truth about who the true inventors were. I know what MLK stood for. I understand

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ONE AMERICA "Leaders Celebrating Freedom Together Series" in Houston Business Connections Magazine  

Our ONE AMERICA "Leaders Celebrating Freedom Together" series is currently underway inside Houston Business Connections Magazine, published...

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