In Honor of My Mother on this the Second Anniversary of her Passing. This is a republish of My Blog, Sunday, March 15, 2015.
Monte Rosina Pitts, nee Boyce, died of renal complications from diabetes yesterday in New York City, New York - her home for the past 45-years, at the age of 75.
She was my mother. And also mother of Mark Boyce, of Pennsylvania and Marcelene Boyce, of St. George, Barbados, Caribbean. She leaves 10 grandchildren of which four are my sons and 11 great-grandchildren of my siblings on the island of Barbados. She was the widow of James Pitts, of Belieze, Central America.
This memory of my mother I hereby etched into the annuals of time today, for if not for this publication, history might have omitted her, and as my mother, I insist that humanity takes note of her, even if just posthumously.
The New York Times nor the Washington Post might not publish the obituary of Monte Rosina Pitts for she had not millions, neither did she build sky scrapers nor ran a fortune 500 company. She shunned technology believing that computers would some day steal all our identities, but in the last seven years, she warmed to using a cell phone.
My mother's faith and service to God were second to nothing in her life. As a non wavering member of the Jehovah's Witnesses Congregation, her devotion to that religion sparred many heated differences between her and me as I retained my neutrality to any religious sect.
But this memorial to my mother is not to highlight my relationship nor that of my siblings with Monte Rosina Pitts. This tribute to her underscores the past and present failings of governance across the globe to protect the rights and well being of women - ordinary women, who for generation after generation, have been sexually harassed, abused and forced into life-long struggles, as victims of circumstances. My mother was such a victim.
Born on the Caribbean island of Barbados, my mother birthed three children of which I am the youngest. After her partner - my father, died when I was two-years-old, Monte Rosina Pitts suffered five-long years of sexual harassment and abuse from employers and potential employers as she attempted to ply a living without a high school diploma to feed her children.
It was the 1960s in the Third World; and despite the glossy tourism brochures of Caribbean sun, fun and surf, life for many women on all the islands was immorally dependent upon their acceptances of abuses from employers and from men in positions of power. Monte Rosina Pitts rejected this practice. She left Barbados for the US in 1970.
With teary eyes and a heavy heart, my mother, who single-handedly fought off multiple muggers in Harlem on more than one occasion and at another time drove herself to the hospital while suffering a heart attack, related the story of her life to me as I visited her in the summer of 1979. It had been nine years since I had last seen my mother.
To survive as an unmarried woman with young children in Barbados was too much for her to bear. Left in the care of guardians, my siblings and I benefited from many care-packages sent from the US to Barbados by our mother.
Thirteen years after my mother's flight from Barbados, I witnessed the same practices from which she fled during the course of my work as an investigative journalist on the island. My earnest fight against such and other practices resulted in my own self-exile on Christmas Day, 1984.
Torn from her home, alienated from her children and in solitude in America for a number of years, my mother's story of the failure of governance to protect women from sexual harassment and abuse, must be told and remembered as a rallying call to hold governments accountable to persevere to do more for the rights and lives of women worldwide.
As we lay our mother to rest into the arms of Almighty God, I pray that our Heavenly Father remembers our mother in the Resurrection of which she held a deep belief.
For me, I am comforted that my mother's pain has ended and I shall willfully continue to harbor controllable anger toward the systems which still exist that adversely effect the lives of so many good, simple and decent people for an entire lifetime.
Rest In Peace Mom - Monte Rosina Pitts Boyce. May the kindness of God travel with you. Amen!