For five years I faced the most inconceivable journey of my life. I felt like a prisoner in my own camp. I didn’t know whom I could trust, because everything around me seemed foreign. I stood helpless while I faced some absolute terrifying moments—witnessing people I thought I knew give the most atrocious testimonies. My life was in gridlock. My insides felt like a zoo. Witness after witness described a woman who was supposed to me (a person that I had no recollection of) like an animal that wore a thousand masks. I was overtaken with fear. Fear is ‘false evidence appearing real.’ It’s an element in life one should never ever want to succor. It’s that dark side to death—that shadow door that you can’t penetrate. It’s like being in a room where there appears to be no way out. I was spiritually trapped between walls of anger, hatred, no self-esteem, no confidence, and finally, no desire to want to know if I can make it again on the outside. I was in a mental state of entrapment.
In winter of November of 1956, a wonderful seven pound closed eyed miracle was introduced to the world on Thanksgiving Day, me, Troy Buckner, the seventh child. I was raised in Lake Providence, LA, a small northeastern town in the Deep South. At the age of six, my parents separated and my father, my hero, took on the responsibility of raising both my younger sister and I. My mother set sail for a more peaceful journey in life; at least that was the thought in my young mind.
In 1978, I graduated from Southern University in Baton Rouge, LA holding a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting and a Minor in Business Law. Soon after my graduation, I took a leap of faith and moved to Los Angeles when my applications were blinded by a prejudice society. In 1979, I decided to take another leap of faith in marriage. The peacefulness of my dream of a Cinderella marriage was replaced by true frustration, a sense of betrayal and emptiness. Following a valiant attempt to save my marriage of 10 years with four sons reached its dreadful end and I was face with the reality of providing for my four children alone.
Fifteen years after attaining a successful career in Corporate America, I was seized by an uncontrollable emotion. I had worked very hard despite the obstacles that were put in my path as a black woman. I felt, even with all of my accomplishments there was a missing page in my life. And that missed page contained the answer I had so long sought after. A grave of incompleteness would haunt me until that unfilled passion I felt was absolute. In 1989, I took yet another leap of faith–that deep seeded passion for the people who fought for my education, motivated me into wanting to give something back to my community after hearing about a predominantly minority university forcing closure due to some internal problems. I embraced the opportunity to be a part of keeping a great man’s dream alive. I accepted a position with the medical university which was demographically located in Watts in the county of Los Angeles to give back a piece of my achievements. I walked into the lion’s den. My career until that point had been structured. And now right before my eyes that structure had been violated. Everywhere I turned possible felonies laid in temptation. This place was an auditors’ paradise.
How can one start a fire or light a candle in the wind? Or how can one put the pieces of a dream back together again if
some of the pieces are broken and others are missing?
During the course of my five year tenure, I was able to eradicate a 4.5 million dollar IRS debt along with bringing integrity to the payroll department that could not be audited for several years due to internal control issues. In 1994, after exposing some key personnel’s involvement with the mishandling of government funds, within months they confederated the frame work out of hell against me. The night of my discovery, sleep came hard. It was as if my comfortable bed were a lakebed of jagged stones. The accounting firm was good, because all of their evidence to support the alleged allegations had been misconstrued to fit their plot. They had left behind enough doubts, suspensions and unfounded allegations for the center to act upon. Each day for about a month, I was stunned into mere silence as I watched these people treat me as though I was a convicted
criminal. Within months, I was set up on an alleged embezzlement that nearly destroyed my life, career and family. I wanted to scream—I wanted somebody to tell me that this was not happening to me. My integrity and character were intact, but it felt personal—like someone was stabbing me from behind. I just wanted the pain and the hurt I was feeling to go away and let me start my day over—but it wouldn’t—it lashed onto my ribs and around my spine and nearly choked the living breath out of me. I was almost terrified to think of where my family and I would be this time next year. I questioned myself, how did I get here, where my career could live or die. For five years I couldn’t find work and I was forced to become an award of the welfare system. I tried to regain the passion for my career, but I couldn’t. I got through each day smothering my fears and excitement that once ran rapidly throughout my body, trying to keep my head above water. God’s word tells us to be anxious for nothing. As close as I had been in my faith, I should have been able to get pass this uncomfortable behavior I exhibited both inside and out, but I couldn’t. Unable to move, unable to think coherently, I watched through glasses that were tinted with pain and sorrow, my children do their normal day to day routine. I had to keep this emotional roller coaster from them. Their innocence was untouched and that was the way it was supposed to be. As hard as it was for me to accept, I had to uproot my family from a life we knew – from a world that use to be crystal clear to a place surrounded by gangs and gunshots and this moment brought me to thoughts of suicide. I wanted to end the disappointment for myself and my family. I wanted to die. For almost a year I had been unsuccessful in retaining an attorney. I sought out many attorneys, female activists and minority associations and could not find any reputable source that would represent me in this matter of the heart. I had finally come to grips with the fact that everyone does not have a passion for justice. The Lord imparted in the midst of my pain, wisdom and I held on to my faith along with my uncompromising position for my integrity and character and bore a journey to set a standard for women rights in the corporate arena. Two weeks before my case would have been taken off calendar, the Lord sent an angel who was on the verge of suicide to assist me into getting my case into the legal system. For five years of this legal battle, I lived inside a mental prison for a crime I didn’t commit. In 1997, I was granted the freedom to walk (or rather fly) away from this nightmare forever.