Divorced and now single Barry has maintained close family ties to the mother of his children. "Divorce does not have to be ugly," he once told me. This seemed remarkable to me, because it is a challenge in my life being divorced to keep peace and unity. Barry is unique and devoted to what really matters to him which is love, peace, and committed life. He often celebrates the holidays with his three children, the mother of his children, and her husband proving love can win over negative forces.
This devotion to family came from his parents' example of togetherness. His loving father, a police officer passed years ago, but he was blessed to have his mother Annie B. Mayo until her recent passing at the age of 93. Her loss was crushing to him, and yet he knows her love is infused in every cell of his being. When he speaks of her or shows photos of her beaming smile, it is evident she was a gem. Barry is also a devoted brother to his precious sister Iris Basham whom he adores. Their younger sister died at the tender age 18.
"Race is the biggest issue in this country now," Barry said, "It is going in the worst possible place at this time." The most influential black leader impacting him is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As he has grown, he does see the importance in understanding the work of leaders like Malcom X, Louis Farrakhan, and the Black Panthers. Mayo feels Louis Farrakhan could have been a national leader for black people, but some of the issues he focuses on are too controversial.
The March on Washington had a dramatic impact on Barry as a boy with Dr. King sharing his we shall overcome message. The first Million Man March, later on, was one of the most powerful experiences of his life. "Having gone through the discomfort and confusion about my blackness, having had one foot in the black world and white world growing up, being at the Million Man March and in the presence of that kind of power and love was simply amazing. When I got back to Chicago, I saw the difference in attitude with the brothers on the street, and that was an outgrowth of the Million Man March."
The man I have come to know is a deeply spiritual person. Barry does not follow an organized religion, but he does have a commitment to his deep spiritual path. He has a strong belief in God. Around the time I met Barry, he started his participation in Inventure Outward Bound Trips with world-renowned Life Coach Richard Leider who leads spiritual walking trips in East Africa. Barry has traveled extensively in his life, but his two trips to Tanzania have had a deep and transformative impact on his life. There he experienced the culture of hunter-gatherers who shared their knowledge with him. The photo accompanying this article shows Mayo with children in Tanzania who are amazed at seeing their own images on his camera. Richard Leider has stated that the two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you learn why you were born.
There is no doubt that Barry Mayo has an appreciation for the gift of life and the value of knowing and living your purpose. Having a reason to get up every morning can bring fulfillment to the human heart. The miracle in all of this, once you become aware of your gifts and nurture them, the joy is in sharing and giving your gifts away to have others bask in them as well.
I asked Barry if he was optimistic about the world for his grandchild. He said, "The joy of grandparenting is everything you have heard, how cool and how hip it is to be a grandparent is true. For Marley for the future, I have hope and trepidation...The family will do our best to protect and teach Marley how to navigate this very confusing and scary world... I want to believe in my heart of hearts he will be okay, but I can't tell you that I know what the world is going to look like when he is eight, fifteen or twenty-five because I just don't know." Barry Mayo is an example of a man living in the rapture of the human experience. I feel confident baby Marley will be empowered through his grandfather's lens on life.
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