The wisdom of ancestors saved this Texas woman

Christina M. Tapper
Published in
4 min readFeb 25, 2021


Hey, Fam —

This month, Texas endured a cold snap with record-low temperatures and snowfall. Millions of residents were left without electricity and heat after Texas’ vulnerable independent power grid failed. Some folks had no running water, while others had to boil theirs. Frozen pipes burst. Icy roads were impassable. Dozens of deaths have been reported, but according to the Texas Tribune, experts say the death toll related to the storm is likely far larger.

As the devastation — both emotional and physical — continues to be surveyed, residents and some state lawmakers are demanding accountability and investigations. As they should. This wasn’t just mother nature. This was a massive government failure in preparedness and protection.

In a collection of dispatches from Texas, gathered by ZORA, we heard from residents about the anguish they experienced, how they are coping — and even how one woman was safeguarded by the wisdom of her ancestors. It is with deep gratitude to them that we share a couple of those stories here.

➡️ READ: Texans Speak Out on How They’ve Been Failed

“It’s unsettling to think about how experiencing poverty in childhood ‘prepares’ you for the precarity of capitalism as an adult… However, nothing could have prepared me for the increasingly desperate situation this became. Having to escape from my home and brave the dangerous, icy roads in search for shelter. Having to be packed into a dorm with others in the same position, risking transmission of Covid-19. Having to hear from my property manager that a pipe had burst in the apartment above mine… Having to reckon with the fact that if the cold had not killed us, the collapsed ceiling would have. Poverty did not prepare me entirely for what I experienced, but the wisdom of my ancestors protected me. Every part of my apartment was destroyed, but my Altar remained untouched. They protected us in my home, on the road and back. Now, I can feel nothing but gratitude.” — La’Kayla Williams in Austin

“I don’t have running water in my apartment. It’s just a cascade of public leadership failure… It’s just so unfortunate that Texans are already going through Covid and job losses and now they are worried about their property and massive electric bills that they didn’t prepare for. I think it should be a message to America and its crumbling infrastructure. Honestly, the sun is shining right now and we are so lucky that Mother Nature gave us a break. Otherwise, things could have been so much worse.” — Karen Attiah in Dallas

Read the other stories here.

Take deep care,

Christina M. Tapper, deputy editor


Zero to 💯

Who kept it 100 this week? Let’s take a look.

Naomi Osaka’s historic victory at the Australian Open: 💯/💯
The 23-year-old has cemented her place in sports history after winning the Australian Open last week. She’s the third player, male or female, to win their first four major finals and she currently ranks No. 2 in the Women’s Tennis Association rankings. Keep going, sis! 🏆

Mariah Carey and Cardi B have a heart-to-heart in a new interview: 💯/💯
The rapper was interviewed by her idol for Interview magazine. The pair discussed everything from hair troubles to working on music during a pandemic to racism in the industry. The best part? Mariah asked Cardi if they can do a song together and we cannot wait!

Malia Obama is collaborating with Donald Glover: 90/💯
She hasn’t even graduated from college yet Malia has already landed a dream gig. The 22-year-old has reportedly signed on to write for Glover’s upcoming Amazon series, Hive. The show is reported to be about a “Beyonce-like” person and we’re sure Malia is more than able to draw from her own experiences in the spotlight while working on the upcoming series. Good luck, girl!

NAACP sues Donald Trump and Rudy Guliani for inciting the capital riots: 75/💯
The organization filed a federal lawsuit against the former president and his lawyer for their role in inciting the violent January 6 riots at the U.S. capital. The group filed a separate suit against Trump for systematically trying to disenfranchise Black voters late last year. It’s cool to see the NAACP take action, but after witnessing Trump get away with his crimes over and over again, we’re not hopeful.

Ted Cruz in general, but especially last week: 🚮 /💯
While the rest of the world was watching Texans struggle for survival during unprecedented snow storms in the state, the Texas Senator was reportedly on his way to vacation in Cancun. Cruz and his ilk continue to prove that some politicians just don’t care very much about the people they’re supposed to serve.

The Best of Us

ICYMI, here are some of our favorite ZORA stories

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Black History Month and Women’s History Month Are the Same Season to Me

Texans Speak Out About How They’ve Been Failed

Kelly Rowland Balances Music-Making and Motherhood

I’m Learning to Let Shit Go

The Day America Lost Its Soul

Honoring Friendship with a Playlist

Klancy Miller’s Honoring Black, Culinary Women ‘For The Culture’

🗣️ The Last Word 🗣️

“Let a beauty full of healing and a strength of final clenching be the pulsing in our spirits and our blood.” — Margaret Walker, For My People

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Christina M. Tapper
Writer for

Rule breaker, champion of women and education, and recovering sports journalist.