Sharing All Stories - A Reflection on DE&I by Sue Reamsnyder

One of the most influential people in my life was Reverend Clyde E. Tisdale, a quiet man who drove the bus that carried me back and forth to school for many years. Reverend Tisdale’s presence was unmistakable and undeniable. His presence taught me deep lessons that I carry with me to this day. He was the father of a large family with many of his children intersecting my life at various times over the years.

That magical bus was where I learned about Detroit’s Motown hits like The Temptations “Ball of Confusion,” “Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me,” and “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone.” We sang along to The Supremes “Come See About Me” and Diana Ross’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” At just the right age, our anthem became “War” by Edwin Starr, and we could spell out “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” with Aretha Franklin. Marvin Gaye confronted tough issues and dared to ask, “What’s Going On.”

Anyone growing up in Northwest Ohio, Michigan, or Canada remembers the sounds of Motown. It taught us to breathe, dream of being something remarkable, get along with each other, and find common language and kinship.

Reverend Tisdale opened our eyes to discrimination, pain, and injustice. He was using his seat on the bus to influence an entire generation hoping to teach us that we could create a better world for everyone.

I am eternally grateful to Reverend Tisdale for the seeds he buried deep within me when I was far too young to understand. John 12:24 says “Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over.” I hope I am as reckless in my love for others as Reverend Tisdale, my school bus driver, was in his love for us.

Read more Reflections from our
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee