The story of Belvie Rooks and Dedan Gills, their journey and their transformation, is “as old as eternity and as new as now.” As individuals, Dedan and Belvie were already activists, mentors, and voices for justice, but in their union, they became an even greater force for compassion and love. Dedan Gills (1945-2015) was a lifelong social justice and human rights activist who viewed himself as a “soulutionary.” His favorite mantra - “Music is my medicine! Kindness is my song!” - was not only the hallmark of his work, but the quality of his presence. Barbara Holmes writes, “His laughter, wisdom, and attentive presence set the example of how to soar while on this human journey.”
Belvie and Dedan’s journey took them to Accra, where they were married; across the United States and Canada to plant trees and build community as a part of their organization, Growing a Global Heart; into dialogue with people of all ages; and through Dedan’s diagnosis with cancer and passing at Zen Hospice in San Francisco in 2015. This book, born of this journey, speaks to love that is at once personal, collective, and cosmic. It holds an invitation to seek beauty amidst heartbreak, and to raise the level of our humanity. Belvie’s wisdom and listening for how this book wanted to be written, and the reflections of many who knew Dedan well, allow it to resonate with remembrance, but also with a future born of each of us.