Editor’s Note: a guest post from Misti Cordell, a Republican activist in Monroe.
Greatness comes in many forms. Often, we see greatness in obvious versions. In athletic achievement, academics, business success, financial success, fame, etc…
But it is my belief, that true greatness lies in the courage to believe in something bigger than yourself…and to fight for it, even in the midst of great adversity.
I am honored to say, that I had the opportunity to witness the budding phase of such greatness, and it was an honor that I, and many others, will always hold dear.
I had the pleasure of meeting Emmanuel Slack in August of 2020. He was a rising star amongst Young Republicans in the Shreveport area. He wanted to be more involved across the Northern part of our state, so we asked him to be a part of our annual OPWRC program, and to recite the pledge. He later did the same for a Trump Boat rally in Union parish. After his five-minute speech, he recited the pledge, and won the hearts of just about everyone who was present. He had a habit of “leaving his mark.” No one ever met or heard Emmanuel and forgot him. That was nearly impossible to do.
Upon our first meeting, we recognized that there was something incredibly special about Emmanuel. His patriotic heart was great, and his knowledge of the social issues that surrounded him proved that he had wisdom beyond his 17 years.
He was special. We all knew that he was anointed with a gift and destined for great things.
After that inaugural meeting, I had the pleasure of other conversations and lunches with Emmanuel. His star never dimmed, and his vigor was infectious.
He made everyone around him want to be better.
My last text with Emmanuel was on June 1st. I was texting with him on how we could pray for him. He mentioned that opportunities were starting to come his way in Texas, and he wanted to be sure that we prayed for his safety while traveling, that God would continue to show him blessings, and that he hoped to see us all again soon.
Little did I know then that that text thread would not continue. On Friday, June 4, 2021… just a little after 9:30am, our Lord and Savior called Emmanuel home.
Our hearts were broken.
Just yesterday, we attended the funeral of Emanuel in Shreveport. We all have had discussions on how the life of that amazing young man’s legacy would live on. When we walked into the church, we saw what Emmanuel’s living legacy would be.
On every pew, there were all races, political parties, genders, classes, and denominations sitting together. They were loving on one another, offering condolences, sharing stories, and all seated together with one purpose in mind… to honor the legacy of one amazing young man. The message was forgiveness, coming together, and working together for a common, Christian goal.
The family asked that everyone wear patriotic colors. There was red, white, and blue draped over every surface. There were also Trump flags per his request. No one minded. Emmanuel was a proud patriot. He was also an unapologetic republican in the midst of a community that was not. He stood his ground but showed everyone the same love… and we should all do the same.
Almost every person who spoke made mention of the diversity in the room and that Emmanuel surely had a hand in bringing those whom he loved across the aisle, and in one room together.
I stayed after the ceremony to speak with those who knew him. My goal was not to just come and pay respects, but to stay and meet others who loved and help shape Emmanuel. Those meetings and conversations turned out to be the greatest part of my day. We all listened, we all shared memories, and we all walked away with a heart full of love for those who loved Emmanuel. It mattered not what our individual convictions were. We had a common goal.
Through Emmanuel’s remembrance ceremony, he gave is a firsthand look what real “unity” looks like, and how we should strive to live every day. I pray that this glimpse will be his legacy that lives on.
I will surely miss that smiling face on the front row of our Ouachita Parish Republican Club meetings. I will also miss being tagged in his posts along with all his other “surrogate family and mamas” across North Louisiana and Texas.
We loved to say that we adopted Emmanuel as one of our own kids.
We all encouraged him, cheered for him, and were eager to witness his success.
But today I realized the REAL truth.
It was that Emmanuel Slack who adopted US!
He allowed us to be a welcome visitor on his brief journey as a, shooting star.
He allowed us a front-row seat, to his vision of possibility…and we are all better for it.
Fly high, young man. Our hearts are broken, but we are SO very blessed for knowing you.
Please keep Emmanuel’s father, Melvin Slack; mother, Bre Williams; grandmother, Jackie Slack, and the many friends and family in your prayers.