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Michael Ford, AALIYAH ASHLEY JONES & Linda Ford
Michael Ford, Aaliyah Ashley Jones & Linda Ford

By: Aaliyah Ashley Jones

Wow! That was all that I could say, and it was the same thing that came out of everyone’s mouth. Wow! My family always believed that I was probably going to meet a big time official. But to sit at the table with the Mayor at the age of eleven, was unbelievable. But I was able to establish it. I’m Aaliyah Ashley Jones, the over-achiever of my family, the hope that keeps my family looking forward to another day. When my mom first told me the news, I was going through a lot. From school, to friends, to family. I was tired of it all, but I kept faith and God blessed me. My whole world started to change. I started to feel relief, so did my family. For us, Joy became a plague and had spread everywhere. We had been preparing a week before. Our prayers had been answered and I was the one who was able to present it. Right when I felt as if I was tipping over, an angel swooped down and picked me back up.

etta s. ford & julia jones grandmothers of  aaliyah ashley jones
Etta S. Ford & Julia Jones
Grandmothers of
Aaliyah Ashley Jones

That night I had a feeling that is unexplainable. I was jumping like a bouncy ball inside, but as calm as all of the other guests there. Except for my family. They were so amazed and shocked that they didn’t know what to do. From tears to stationary cheeky smiles, they were there, no matter what. When I arrived there, I was so surprised at how beautiful it was. And then to see that they gave me a special flower to wear, I was electric. I was bummed to see that my family were all the way in the back, while I was in the front. They are the people that got me here, they worked just as hard as me, and they should be here celebrating with me. But sadly, there wasn’t anything that I could do. So I took a deep breath and let go. I also loved the band, I have a lot of connections with Carver and to know that they were playing was awesome. They played wonderfully as well. I was also shocked to know that I was the first person to say a speech. I was very nervous because I thought that I was toward the end, but I wasn’t. It was a positive thing and a negative thing because the intro sets the mood on how the program will be. So I knew that I had to bring it or I would be embarrassed and set a bad tone for the program. The positive thing is that I totally rocked it and I got the crowd going. I just wish Mayor Sylvestor Turner was there to hear it. And he came right after I sat down, literally right after!!! I bet if he had heard it he would be amazed too. The night went absolutely beautiful, from pictures, to food, to people. I also had so much fun with listening to the different speeches. And to know that in one night I was offered a scholarship, another speech, a plan to help my school, and exclusive tours was awesome. My whole life could have started and been ignited by this one night. So I want to thank Mr. and Mrs. Malonson for giving me the chance to something great. And everyone from one wall to the next, thank you. Everyone in that room contributed to make that night very special for me. Words can’t explain how I felt in that moment, I was just so amazed. And I am so thankful because I believed that it has allowed me to get that much closer to my destiny.

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Martha Jean Branch, Aaliyah Ashley Jones &  Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee
Martha Jean Branch, Aaliyah Ashley Jones &
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee