Something must be said. In all my days working towards getting justice in a place where there is no justice, I have been accused of being sanctimonious, unintelligent, naive, even man-chasing after a lost cause because I am a woman. I have never addressed these things because those that KNOW me know that is not the case. These are all attempts to minimize my mission.
My very core of being led me to this place. I was born with greatness as my uncle Mike would say. The greatness is not in blood or even heritage. It is self belief and confidence. We all have it; it is merely a matter of how much of yourself you listen to or maybe some will call it what God believes of me. I believe the latter personally because you cannot have the former without the latter but I understand that is not everyone’s view.
I am a simple person who has always basked in being underestimated in every realm of my life. Nothing feeds the soul like doing something people say is impossible. I was not supposed to live at birth. I was not supposed to be able to bear children. I was not supposed to be able to make a difference in the journey but yet I find myself working amongst some of the strongest people in Pensacola to aid me in doing the right thing. People I read in the news about but never thought I would have a dialogue with, men like Gene Valentino, Rex Blackburn and others. These men have a legacy in Pensacola. They are trendsetters. They are people who have crossed my path in commonality of mission.
I know it may not seem like much either but I get to work with Patrick Gonzalez and Richard Gonzalez. They are aristocracy from the foundation of Pensacola. This is an excerpt from Pensapedia. (I did not write this nor did I poach it, Mr. Outzen. I am just CITING it.)
Don Manuel Gonzalez was born in 1767 in San Vincente, de la Barquera, Santander Province, Spain. Born into landed gentry, Gonzalez ran away from home to serve on his uncle’s ship. On December 17, 1784, he joined the army and was sent to the New World, landing in New Orleans. He was made Indian Agent in 1792 and was given the rank of Colonel and later Brigadier General in the Spanish Army. Don Manuel came to possess large tracts of land in Pensacola through honors granted by the Spanish Crown. After leaving the army, he was granted passage through the Choctaw and Creek nations and established residence in Pensacola, where he became a cattle rancher. He donated the land for Plaza Ferdinand VII to the city and opened a market there in 1816. When Florida was transferred to the United States in 1821, Gonzalez, a friend of General Andrew Jackson (and at whose house Jackson and his wife awaited the transfer), was appointed Justice of the Peace and made a Colonel in the American Army. The first Florida Legislature was held (and the first statutes enacted) at Don Manuel’s home, Gonzalia (nicknamed the “Fifteen-Mile House”). He was made Quartermaster General for the Florida Militia on September 14, 1822.
Gonzalez died in his home on March 8, 1838. His burial was marked by the closing of many businesses and was described by the Pensacola Gazette as well-attended, including the uniformed officers of the French corvette La Brillante.
Patrick & Lenny Gonzalez may not look like the sort to be of importance in Pensacola today. But like I said, I believe we all have greatness in us. We are Americans…our existence is miraculous. Thousands of people died trying to get the American Dream. We are the stock of the people who made it…the survivors.
Each of us has a family story. I feel the need to live up to a standard of the way I was raised and the people I came from. Honor is a seldom used word in our culture. I have done some bad things that will forever mar my character and for those things my penance is to do right in other ways. Slaying this nasty corrupt dragon is going to be my legacy. It is my destiny. I put my soul into this. I have made exactly $4.70 so far off of 3 years of work. But my conscience is clear and my motives are right. For that reason, I believe with every fiber in my being I can only succeed. That is all that matters.