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"Tolley's Place"
by shirley j. sarmiento (alley461@juno.com)

Rated: PG   Genre: Drama   User Review:

"Tolley's Place" Four middle aged Black women come to grips with life and loss and a man who still chooses to see the goodness in life.

This screenplay is copyrighted to its author. All rights reserved. This screenplay may not be used or reproduced without the express written permission of the author.


Urban City / /several
chairs and a/table...
Four middle aged Black women come
to grips with life and loss and a
man who still chooses to see the
goodness in life. In spite of all
he has been through.
Sings/Verse of "Bless Be The Ties
that Binds".
(They walk around to U.S.C. and
Fade to Black).
      (Glances around)
So this is the place. Where women
come and shed their tears and
get rid of all their fears?
Yes, this is the place where
women come to learn how to save
their own souls. Oh well I
really mean to save their
own lives.


      (serious look)
Ain't nothing considered
stupid or foolish in here.
If you could hear these walls
talk, lots of secrets inside
these walls.
This place can it help us?
Survive/live? Can it help us lift
our spirits? Black women need
some kind of confirmation four
our lives. Can this place
do that for us? I want to know
will this place do it for us?
      (picks up her
       glass of water)
Miss Tolley is the owner. I'm
just her assistant.
I'm working on myself as we talk
(laughs) organize
your own life. It's all about
learning how to put your life in
perspective. Learning how to
manage your life. This place is
about healing broken souls. It
helps you to live your life
on your own terms. It's about
moving out of your comfort zone.
Let all of the shame and mistakes
go. Look forward to building new
Learn self care and celebrate
ourselves. Let all the shame and
mistakes go. It's very powerful.
We need to learn how to celebrate
ourselves as women. We have to
empower ourselves no matter if
they are heart breaks and
There is no other race of
women on this earth that has
suffered like us Black women.
This here place
was made a refuge/a safe
haven for us.
So we can share our stories
freely and openly.


I think I finally found a place
where I can just let it all go.
All our issues need to address.
Starting with the stress we carry
around up to the child bearing
years to racism/sexism, ageism.
Of course I could go on and on.
We were referred here by some
They told us we can come visit
"Tolley's Place."
This is the place it's a safe
haven where women can come and
talk freely about themselves.
Express themselves. Begin your
cleansing and get them horrible
feelings/emotions out of your
system. Start believing in the
possibilities for your life. I do
believe the word is self worth.
This place sounds like a place
I've been searching for all of
my life.
Things have changed thank God.
These times are different,
women are working and taking
care of themselves. You know
lots of women died at an early
age putting everyone first
except themselves.
Alley shh please be quiet and let
her tell us all about this
place. Hello I'm Kim. This is my
dear friend Alley.
Grateful to meet you. I'm Spirit
Ladies, have something to drink?
Well help yourselves everything on

that table right over there. There
is also some home made sugar
cookies I made just help yourself.

Well ladies Alley and Kim welcome


                       SPIRIT (cont'd)
to "Tolley's Place." Have you
been here before?
Tell us all about this place.
Yes tell us all about it.
You see ladies this place was
created to be a haven, a safe
place of refuge for us women to
come and support one another in
times of need.
Help one another no one,
else, but us women.
      (Glances around)
Wow so it really is that kind of
Yes, that's it. Women come to
share all kinds of things that
they wouldn't or couldn't feel
comfortable sharing with just
anyone. Like their children,
friends, boyfriends, husbands,
and partners. The women that come
here know that whatever they say
it will be left right here in
this place.
The women come here to share and
work out the issues that are
bothering them.
      (grinning a bit)
Share what? Share what kinds of
Like I said, this place is a place

of love and kindness dedicated to
the betterment of women's lives.
If we can help make it better we
try our best. You can say we are
in the business of saving Black
women's lives.


Oh my God I've have been
searching for a place like
Women to share our feelings?
Finally a place of acceptance.
      (talking slow)
This is where women can come to
talk freely and openly. It's
about sharing, growing. Evolving
into our best selves.
It takes work
to get rid of negative talk
that's been jammed into our
heads since the day we were
born. It's about
building ourselves up. Not
tearing ourselves down.
It's about sharing and growing
into our own individual selves.
We all need to learn how to
evolve, grow mature into your own
being. This is the
place this is the place that
gives women the opportunity to
learn how to recreate and
empower themselves.
Empowering ourselves with the
help of each other.
I know that's right.
Why don't women know about this
places? Years ago we didn't have
any places like this for women.
Just throw their asses out of
there scramble for it. Life's
lessons not written in a book.
Nope, nothing to prepare us for
the ups and down of life.
You know life is difficult
to some degree.
But, everything ain't all
bad. So talking it our and
listening to others tell their
stories help. The exchange of


                       SPIRIT (cont'd)
information and engagement
we have with one another.
You'll see you
will come out on top. You'll
learn to stay in the flow of
your own life.
You have to prepare
yourself. Keep your armor on and
learn how to roll with it.
You'll see you will be alright.
Yeah I understand.
I think I understand. Tell me
Let me make this clear.
The women who come here for help
are not coming here to ask the
world to save them. Oh no the
women come here, because they
are working on saving
I'm loving this. I'm so glad we
In this place we practice and do
work on forgiving ourselves. We've
learned to stop carrying
burdens on our shoulders.
When you come to the realization
that only you can save you.
We practice self love and let it
all go and let God.
Learn how to quiet your mind and
relax your body. We need tools to
work with like nails needs a
Your right we have to have
something to work with. Saving
our own selves.
I like that.


Here we try to provide a calm,
nurturing and loving atmosphere.
                       TOLLEY (Miss)
Hello ladies welcome, welcome.
I'm Miss Tolley.
Hello it's such a pleasure
to meet you. I'm Alley and
this is my friend Kim.
                       TOLLEY (Miss)
Spirit, I trust you have been
treating the women well in my
absence? Spirit is a
wonderful friend and she's become
my sister with love.. I just love
                       TOLLEY (Miss)
      (sitting down)
Sorry, women continue didn't mean
to interrupt.
Here in this space is where we/us
learn how to empower yourselves.
We do that by letting things go
that hurt us and hold us back.
We share and do affirmations
daily. For example: here's one
we do " I can do all things thru (
Christ who strengthens me"/
or just think I am that which
from God. Just meditate on that it

helps to keeps you centered. Pray
to your own higher power.
We work on empowerment.
Empowering ourselves.
      (straighting her
Wonderful. I can't
recall anyone ever asking me
about how I feel on a spiritual


                       KIM (cont'd)
For example how do I feel my
emotions and about my own
(points at her
heart and head).
                       TOLLEY (Miss)
The majority of people don't think

spirituality is that important
until something happens. Then
bamm it just comes up from out of
no where. It's like that famous
saying I love by Ralph Emerson
said when he
he was standing at Walden Pond
and was getting ready to die.
When he was there, meditating.
He came to the conclusion, he
had never lived.
You must take the time
to discover yourself and find out
who you are. Then your
life will become a fascinating
journey. When you discover who
you really are. As you know it
takes a lot of self assessment
and work to understand ourselves.
We meet the women wherever they
are at.
You must remember you have
control over your own life
and it's up to you.
Depending on where you
want to go in the stream of life.
      (In deep thought)
Never really took the time to
relate to my own feelings and my
own emotions. I just never took
the time. I was always so busy.
plus being worn out .
I got a divorce
and kept it moving survival of
the fittest. Thrown back out into
theworld out on my own again.


                       TOLLEY (Miss)
Whether you want to believe
it or not that is some serious
stuff you've been through.
Alot of us women face some kind of
Many times it takes a toll on
your body and your mind. This is
where the empowering each other
helps us women survive.
We strengthen each other our
stories our life's lessons
You are right you are right.
If we don't do it/nobody else is.
We gotta fight for us right you
My marriage failed and I was
Too shame to face the world . So I

pretended like nothing was wrong.
Tried to make it work, but stuff
I never wanted to come out of the
house. I was embarrassed and
feeling like a failure.
I thought my depression would
last forever.
But, I
never looked back. I had to keep
moving for me and my children.
                       TOLLEY (Miss)
It don't matter where you came
That doesn't matter at all. What
matters most is where are you
going and how your going to get
We are here to listen, heal and
assist women to be the best that
they can be. Here the women
really teach themselves.
We do a
lot of talking things out
exercises. Believe me these are
going to be great sharing get it
together discussions.


                       TOLLEY (cont'd)
I'm feeling them already in
my soul. Hear me in my soul.
We have a special admiration for
the women who come here to heal
We don't care where you come
from, but, what we do care
about is where are you going
when you leave here?
Set your goals for yourself and
work on them.
      (teary eyed)
We are here, because
one of our dearest girlfriends
died suddenly.
Can't believe it happened.
We are trying to understand the
nature of it all.
There was no signs no signals
to warn us. We were all at
a party that one of our friends
All of us was having fun talking,
drinking and of course laughing.
Then from out of blue she calls
everyone into the living.
She said, hold your glasses up
high and we all did.
She said, it loud and
clear to all of us. Her words
for the toast were " If I die
today or tomorrow I would want
all of yall to tell people
to kiss my Black ass.
All of us died laughing,
some of us even falling to the
Thought it was a joke at the time.
She was dead by Monday all of us
who attended the party were
devastated. We knew she was a
little sick, but not sick enough
to die. Maybe she knew more and
didn't tell us. We are scared
and we are heart broken. We just
don't know how to cope with her
passing so unexpectedly.


      (teary eyed)
(Miss Tolley gets up and gets box
tissues from off the coffee table
and hands the box to her). Kim
passes tissues to (Alley)
We are just devastated . She died
so suddenly, so quickly, so
quietly without a warning.
Almost as quick as a blink of an
We need healing and some guidance
whatever it takes? God give us
strength to endure and the
courage to go on. We were close
like sister all of us. I feel
horrible, just horrible. I ache
all over inside.
      (someone could be
       dancing or music
       in background)
My Black Woman- Hood

I am a woman
I am Black
I am beautiful
and I
am armed
I am strength
This here fight is worth
my freedom.
That was beautiful I loved it.
Can I get a copy of that? I know
you have some.
Many women of color have the same
issues we are dealing with.
Hey man upstairs(pointing her
finger towards the sky) or my
higher power women upstairs give
us Black women a break down
Life isn't this hard for other
nationalities of women at least
that's what I hear.
I tell people all the time that
when I be sleeping and dreaming
dreams. One night I had this dream


                       ALLEY (cont'd)

to paint myself.
I felt just like getting a big
can of paint and paint myself
white. Walk around all over the
place. Do remember the book/
Black Like Me? Where the White man
painted himself Black? To find
out how it felt to be Black.
Wow that was a powerful story
back in the day.
I'd take that paint and
roll it all up and down my Black
body. I wonder how it feels to be
a privileged woman.
I mean ain't
nobody ever celebrated us Black
women or gave us any credit
for all we contributed to this
here society.
Yes, they celebrate International
women's month every March.
Where's our Black women's holiday?
Thank God for the "ME
TOO" movement which should have
happened a long time ago, but it
didn't it's here now.
And she's a Black women. They did
women a little credit down the
Let me name a few of us celebrated

woman Harriet Tubman, Zora Neal
Hurston and Shirley Chisholm the
first women who ran for president.

There's so many can't name them
all. Now what so we need? We need
a Black women's celebration month
maybe even a year. Why not create
a national holiday just for
Wouldn't that be wonderful, just
Sounds good to me lets create our
own celebration. Let's celebrate


                       TOLLEY (misss)
I just want to be me.
What about us? What about
acknowledging us Black women.
Let me put it this way. I'm a
Black women here in America. I
tell you ain't nothing been easy
for me.
I was living with my aunt and
her husband down in the south. My
mother died when I was very young
and I did not know where my father
Anyway one night my aunt 's
Elizabeth's husband came into my
bedroom and raped me. I was 14
years old when it happened. I
remember it almost like yesterday
to me.. I got
pregnant. Had a kid a girl. Now 30
years old. Keeps asking me who's
his father? I haven't got enough
guts to tell him the truth yet.
I will tell her one day. The truth
day is coming. It's got to come.I
tried to tell my aunt. She knew,
yes she knew, but pretended she
didn't know. Swept it right under
the rug.
She stayed with uncle Joe for
money/no what I mean? The family
knew that he raped me. They kept
everything hush hush. My aunt
didn't leave him either. Nope, she
stayed right their with Uncle no
good Joe. I heard they put the
out that I was I was promiscuous.
That was a cold blooded lie.
Women got to fight for
each other. I'm so elated the that

Black women started the
#Metoo/movement. Thank god times
are changing for the better for


      (stands up)
Lets make a women's pledge
alliance. Here goes.
We will not be silenced in our
hearts and in our minds.
(sits back down)
goes like this? Come on now
all together/
We will not be silenced in our
hearts and in our minds.
                       ALLEY (ms)
You are right we will not be
silenced. I love that.
We Black women always have to
work harder and lower pay.
There is a few white women I know
they cheat them like they
cheat us. Horrible.
It won't change until we
ourselves fight to change it.
Got to fight for ourselves.
We are learned to work
smarter not harder/ amen to that.
                       TOLLEY (Miss)
As I see it it's their problem
not ours. Our hearts and our
culture teaches us to kind,
because our race reaches out to
everyone color is not an issue
with us. We
love people all kinds/all colors
of people Their lost our gain.
Look at it this way. In a positive
Racism racism /classism
                       TOLLEY (Miss)
We let Society's opinions speak
for us and represent us. When
really we can speak for ourselves.
To out spoken.
It means that if a White
women or man says it, it's ok. But
a Black women speaks her mind
or voices her opinion that's
being aggressive. I don't
think so. Who made all that stuff


                       TOLLEY (cont'd)
up anyway?
Yes, we are Black and we are
proud. I ain't trying to be like
anyone else. The bottom line is
just let me be who I am.
My mouth is for talking and
eating (laughs). If you
don't say nothing, then who will?
Nobody will speak up for us.
Why I got to be quiet? Everybody
else is talking and saying
whatever they want to say.
                       TOLLEY (Miss)
Going through this day after
You have to learn to fight back
in a positive and spiritual ways
or it all it will send you
into a state of depression.
Listen to me.
Day after day I have
to fight back. All of us have to
deal with the ups and downs of
living. Stuff ain't going smooth
all of the time. Don't mean to
complain ,but I just a bill just
the other day for back
taxes owed on this place
it's got to be paid or they
will take this
place right from up under me.
I'm not going to let that happen.
No way.
We all of us women need this
Tell the real truth. We need more
safe places like this for all
Not just a battered women's
shelter, know what I mean?
We need real spaces for us. Nope,
they ain't taking
"Tolley's Place" from me. I tell
you they got a fight on their
hands. Yall hear me? they are
in for a fight. Yall hear me?


Know what I wish is that these
people get over it. People of
color are here and they are going
to be here. So get over it racist
Now Miss Tolley is there anything
that we can to to help? Donate
money? How can we help?
Our girlfriend died over all this
negative stuff. It wasn't showing
on the outside so much. It got her
in the inside of her soul
where it all hurts so bad.
      (hollers/stands up)
Yes, me (points at herself) I am
angry. You think just, because
I walk around all
day with a smile on my face
that I
am happy? This Black
woman right here is angry as
hell.. My pain is invisible to
other people. I can see it and I
can feel it. I stay in a state of
I hate this feeling inside.
You won't know, because I wear a
smile on my face.
(stands up )
The older I get the worst
the rage gets. It's eating me up
Sometimes I feel like I want to
kill somebody. Not just anybody
I've got a few people I'd
personally would love to kill.
Hold all the stuff in, not me I
(Hollers loud) It's all
People can't even see it. Or do
they chose to ignore it/us.
(points to her heart) The hurt my
pain it's all inside here. Being
a woman, being human, being


                       ALLEY (cont'd)
and a Black women here now.
I stay in a perpetual state of
anguish . Don't nobody see it.
People don't realize that they
have caused it.
Maybe that's why they try and
it under the rug..
Yes, this here so called great
society of people caused it.
(swinging/swaying her arms,
Some people in this world
act like,we, us sister's pain
don't even exist. Well I'll
tell you it sure as hell exist.
It's It's like we
Black women are invisible to the
world. Black women have their
own experiences and stories to
Wait a minute calm down
I know it hurts, but understand we
ain't the only one's hurting.
Other people hurt too it
all hurts.
Please try and understand we
ain't in this all by
ourselves other people got
their stuff.
I might look a certain way on the
outside to be nice. Ok go along
with the person on my job. Your
job is one of the places where
bullying goes on. They call it
workplace bullying. They call it
workplace bullying.
That's where a lot of bullying
happens to people.
You put your pencil on the left
hand side of your desk and they
call into the office,
because they say the rules is
that the pencil belongs on
the left side of the desk.
What difference does it make?
Huh. I'm doing my job.
That's called bullying people on
their job. Recently, they have


                       ALLEY (cont'd)
passed laws that supposedly
people from getting bullied
at the workplace.
Stuff makes you crazy, you hear me
just crazy. Then you have to go
home to family and your man
if you got one who don't even
value your worth. Black women
get a bad rap. I tell you.
How come my own
opinion can't be just as good as
the next person? Me I don't get
                       TOLLEY (Miss)
All of us got our stories and the
world needs to hear them. We need
to tell them. My mother at the
age of 80 something years old
shared her story with me.
She told me she
came up North to better herself
and live with her sister and her
husband. She was there just about
a week and her sister's husband
entered her bedroom and tried to
rape her. No she never told
anyone else.
She said, if she had said,
anything they would have blamed
iton her, reason be that she
a very pretty young Black girl..
know what she did? Yes, she
packed up the next day . Found her
place at a rooming house. Said
she never told anyone else.
Of course all of
us thought he was a wonderful
No so long after that. She met and

married my father. Release them
release the stories. I think all
us understand that everyone has a
story. We need to learn how to
heal ourselves. And not keep them
inside our souls forever. As you
know nobody is coming to heal us
Black women, but us.


      (talking and
       walking back and
       forth across the
I remember this incident like
it was yesterday. I was at my work
at the community center.
It was a racially mixed group of
It was a planning
meeting about what kind of
activities could they do for MLK
None of the ideals presented what
was I thought MLK was about.
So I got the eye of the
facilitator. He nodded his
head as if it was ok for
my turn to speak.
I said, wasn't Martin Luther
King interested in the poor and
hungry? Why don't we organize
people to go and volunteer in the
soup kitchens for that
day a day of service.
As soon as I got
that out of my mouth an older
very respected Black man
in the community, immediately
hollered across the table at me
and told me to be quiet, he said,
that my idea was not any good.
I was furious.
Then out of nowhere
a White man across the table
interrupted the Black
man and says wait a minute let's
hear her out. What I said , was
since Martin worked with poor
people instead of celebrating,
let's donate our time and service
to the soup kitchens. We could
donate food, clothes to people
who need them. Let's do some real
work for a change. Instead of all
those speeches and celebrations.
I know exactly what you are
talking about. He tried to diss
your idea. I mean I love my Black
man , but they too must do better
in supporting us Black women their


                       ALLEY (cont'd)
women. Instead of making us feel
inferior. My girlfriend said, her
sister told her years ago that as
time passes Black women are going
to be looking for men outside
their communities.
Thank God times are changing. Men
have been doing it for years.
I can relate to that.
It wasn't the White man , it was
the Black man who rejected you.
Talking about being invisible on
the both sides Black and White
That's a horrible feeling.
We've got to
speak up open up our mouths. Women

being quiet is killing us.
Times have changed for
women and for the better. Even
through they do have that stupid
ridiculous foolish president in
the Old House.
                       TOLLEY (Miss)
My sister in laws niece Beverly,
didn't speak for years she use to
talk then she just stop talking.
For several years. Then I heard
she had starting talking again
and I ran into her. I asked her
why did she stop talking?
This is what she told me she said,
that no one was listening to her.
That stayed on my mine for many
years. She stopped talking,
because no one was listening. Not
her family, not even her friends.
I'm angry with the men. The bad
tasteless jokes
about women. The raping the
pedophiles ,the sexual misconduct,
the sexual harassment.
I do really like men, maybe it's
some men's behavior that bothers


                       SPIRIT (cont'd)
My father was a chauffeur and
janitor was the most
influential man in my life. Never
met another one like him. He had
a kind gentle soul and loved and
honored his family.
He was tall tan and had a
mustache and a head full of dark
wavy hair..
He always kept himself neat and
My father worked his butt off to
take care of us.
All of us ate we and had enough
clothing and a roof over our
I guess I can't put all men
in the same bag.
Although, I must say my friend
Richard takes great care of his
wife Diane and kids, I have to
honor that.
So today I tell you I
am mad at men the Black
man/perhaps all men I'm mad at.
They say we/us Black women
are too aggressive. When we speak
our mind.
Please don't be mad when women
step out of their color.
Times have changed
and I'm glad. There's a bunch
new fish in the sea.
More picking's for us
Black men need to learn how to
evolve. I think they are trying
more these days. This could be
for all men.
This is a new day for women,
we are evolving continually.
Ain't no stopping us now.
Yes, indeed it is and I'm so glad
that women have learned to
move on grow develop themselves.


      (nods her head up
       and down.)
I feel you, Isn't our lives
worth something. I just want
to have a simply wonderful life.
Which takes lots of work for us,
but it can be done.
                       TOLLEY (Miss)
Just let me say this ladies.
If you live long enough you'll
learn that people are something
else even your own family.
Stand up my black brother
and fight. I'm tired of being in
the front lines of the
battlefields/stand up. Us women
sister's need your love and
support. The Black men have the
nerve to be mad at us sisters for
working and getting an education
holding it together,
please give us a break.
I do love our Black men, I
really do. But, yall need to get a
handle on things. Believe me I
know it's tough and I feel
some of your pain, but do
you feel my pain?
It ain't easy. This I know, but
who said, it would be easy?
Suppose some people just want the
easy way out.
Hear me loud and clear there is no
easy way out.
I truly wish there
was, because I would gladly take
it myself.
                       TOLLEY (Miss)
All of us need healing.
(looking around and says out
God, I love this place. Wanna know
why? I'll tell you why, because it
was created for all of women.
This place here is for us
to heal, breathe and start new


                       TOLLEY (cont'd)
Yes, so glad I/we decided to
Heard great things about this
Tell us about yourself Miss
Tolley Please tell us your story
share your life's journey.
                       TOLLEY (miss)
My life was not all that. But
I was determined, had my eyes on
the prize you hear me. I know
there was something I could do to
help us women thru our bad
times and celebrate for the good
Of course people came at me all
kind of ways. They threw negative
stuff at me. Was coming at
me hitting me from all sides.
(laughs) I kept right on
working and saving my money
holding on and believing. My
faith and my dreams that's all I
I kept right on going.
This year I ran into a little
I know my faith is strong. I'll
get the money you watch in
                       TOLLEY (Miss)
      (looks at John)
John you can come back later or
you can clean tomorrow.
      (gathers his
OK I'll come back later


                       JOHN (cont'd)
this evening when all of you
ladies are gone.
Sometimes John stops his cleaning
to come in here and give us women
some words of wisdom from a man's
point of view.. Ain't that
right Mr. John?
      (to Mr. John)
Can you give us women some good
advice right now Mr. John/from a
mature man's point of view. Some
advice on life.
Well, I'll try and give you
pretty ladies the best advice
that I have. Let me see now where
should I start it and I promise
it won't be long.
Let's hear about life from a
man's point of view.
Well I'm taking My wife Jesse out
to dinner we are celebrating our
35th year anniversary this
My wife has got the whole weekend
planned out for us.
Mr. John please share your secrets
with us about living a good life.
Had to be good if stayed together
for 35 years.
True love.
You have to follow your own
heart. You've got to forgive your
own self first. Learn how to move
on in life. The truth be told
everyone of us makes mistakes.


Tell us more Mr John.
Start out by making a plan. Set
yourself some goals that you want
to reach and work towards them.
You can't rush life no matter how

hard you try.
Believe that everything will fall
in divine order.
                       TOLLEY (Miss)
You see my thing is to teach
women how to live and love
themselves. You know self caring
for ourselves.
Wait a minute I promise these are

my last words. Then I'm going
to get out of here and leave you
ladies to get back to your own
meeting. Now, where was I? Ok now
I remember.
When things go wrong and sometimes

they will. Don't
give up you just keep right on
going. Things/stuff is going to
happen. You've got to have faith
that everything is going to work
out. We all have broken hearts at
one time or another , but remember

love heals. My youngest son got
shot and killed out there
in them streets.
I don't now what is was about.
I heard it was over some woman.
I really don't know what it was
about. That was a hard thing for
me to take. Hard for my wife
Jesse to take. Talking
about a rough time for our family
(gets a little teary eyed) Excuse
me got to excuse me it
breaks my heart every time
I talk about it, but it
also strengthens me. I tell you
if it wasn't for my trust in God.
and my supportive family.


                       JOHN (cont'd)
(shaking his head right to
left). I can't say
times are going to be good
all of the time.
No, life ain't all bad either.
It's how you live it. Your going
have a great time
along your journey.
Here's my message to you
beautiful women.
Work hard and play hard it's all
up to you and be true to yourself.
And don't ever forget that.
Forgiveness is a true virtue.
Love one another.
I hope I didn't take up to
much of your
time. Let me get out of your
(gathers up his broom/mop and
can/plastic bags and exits the

This place is so beautiful.
I just love it. I have been
looking for a place like
this all of my life. Huh
I finally found it.
Well all I can say is that
I truly thank the Gods for you.
Sometimes I just need to get
away from the outside world
you understand Miss Tolley?
Oh, sorry to interrupt.

Miss Tolley I too want to
thank you for enlightening
us restoring my/our lives our


                       SPIRIT (cont'd)
souls. Putting back into our
lives what the locust stole. I
truly was loosing faith.
Hell I had given up. But,
Miss Tolley helped me restore my
Miss Tolley just wanted to let you
know how I felt about you.
                       TOLLEY (Miss)
      (still standing up)
Thank you for sharing that
intimate part of your life.
God I love this place.
This place provides us women and
gives us strength. I've met all
kinds of women since I've had this
I've met the so called best
and the worst.
I've learned more about human
behavior right here,
You can learn something from
everybody if you take the time
I often wonder how on earth
that I lived without it.
I'll tell you times were tough for
me. I had a flashback and I
remembered reading a quote from
the singer Diana Ross that said,
We be making it work.
Here's how I did it .
I kept putting a little money a
side that little paycheck every
I'd managed to save enough money
to put down on a place. You know
back then they didn't even want
women buying a house or
any kind of property unless she
had a husband by her side.
I just wanted a small space with a
pretty little yard and pretty


                       TOLLEY (cont'd)
green grass in the summertime.
I wanted to plant beautiful
You know make the outside of the
place look pretty and inviting to
the women.
My God was working with
me. My own motto is let life
unfold right before your eyes and
let it empower you. You've
got to believe it's going to
happen. They call it
You've got to celebrate yourself.
It's not left up to other people
to keep you encouraged. It's
up to you.
Practice self care and self
After that celebrate each other
with love.
Stand up for your own life.
What do you want from life?
Plan it out. Make yourself a
road map and design your own
      (tells all the
       women to stand up
       and hold hands
       for a prayer)
Higher powers and prayer
God I need for you to
help us. We need strength.
We need everything that you can
provide for us as we go about our
way. All the goodness and mercy.
We also know that there are are
some things we don't have control
Give us faith and courage to get
through them.
Holding on to faith
somehow, someway we've managed to
in spite of it all we got through
it. (the women saying amen/humming

low)Let our Faith that wakes


                       TOLLEY (cont'd)
us up in the morning to see
a brand new day carry us
to brand new heights and
I am so grateful.
Bless "Tolley's Place" and this
lovely day and time well spent
                       TOLLEY (Miss)
Would anyone like to add something

to the prayer.
      (adds to the
(moving her arms and shaking her
shoulders) I am praying begging
God to support all of us in our
efforts to live richer fuller
The saying goes like this
"If you have the faith of a
grain of a mustard seed
everything will come. God
will make it happen for you.
So all of you beautiful women
faith is the stuff that holds
you up. Because nobody can make
a judgement on nobody understand?
And you better believe it.
We all breathe the same toxic air
laughs)and eat and love and cry.
Then you actually take a look
at it with God . We are all the
We all bleed red blood.
Thank you
Miss Tolley for giving us the
opportunity to visit.
It is not easy by no means. We
must not ever give up. Fighting
our lives.


                       KIM (cont'd)
I would think that we must want
for the universe the same things
we want for ourselves. Each and
everyone of us are entitled to a
decent lives.


                       TOLLEY (Miss)
Can anyone tell me that life is
easy? Nope, not one you. Life is
hard no doubt about it. . You
gotta live it and you gotta love
it. You've got to roll with the
Life is what you make
it. I mean really things are
certainly going to happen. Some
things we can't avoid. What you
want to do?
Take your time, ask questions
if you don't know how to
deal with stuff.
Don't try and solve every
problem on your own. That's why we
have experts. Educate yourself
child educate yourself on the
issues your dealing with. Just
take your own time don't let
anyone rush you. Use your
spiritual up bringing meditate on
the issue, pray. Do anything that
you think will assist you getting
through the rough times.
This way you
won't be rushing in so fast and
making all kinds of mistakes. You
must learn how to think things
Although somethings you can't
I brought this place to help
women, to empower women. I used
my life savings, because I believe
in helping women get through life.
I'm always evolving all the time.
This place has helped so many
women to help themselves.


                       TOLLEY (cont'd)
All of us have to realize that in
an imperfect world and imperfect
people things are going to happen.
Yes, it is true that life is
tough, but it is even tougher when
you don't do nothing to make it
better. Each and everyone of us
have something to give to
ourselves and to the world.
(holds up her cup to the sky and
says Here's to life. Here's to
One of my daughter's friends got
shot his brains laid out
in the middle of the street for
five hours before they cleaned
them up. The week before that two
of her other friends got shot and
killed, because they say somebody
beat somebody for the drug
money. That's what the White news
reporter reported.
Legalize them that's what I say
people taking all kind of drugs
the legal ones and the illegal
ones. I heard nobody showed up
to claim his body at the morgue.
What the hell Black on Black
crime for some drugs this has got
to stop. It's sad that violence
sells and education and peace does
They say it's getting
better I pray. All this
killing is wrong.
We are not quitting or
giving up we are going to
continue to fight for our
rights and our freedom.
Like I said, they
might get some of us, but rest
assure they can't take all of us
down. We have lots more coming up
fighting and believing in a just
I say legalize all of them. Just


                       KIM (cont'd)
like they did alcohol back in the
Believe me it would stop a lot of
the killings.
We all are children of the earth.
We can't and won't be silence.
We must stand up and stand
The world has changed and will
keep on changing.
If you live in Urban America you
know a little something about
drugs. I told my daughter.
This I know for sure they
can't get rid of all of us.
We have lots more coming
up fighting we are here and we
are fighting for our lives.
I told her never stop fighting
for your rights.
I hugged and kissed her.
Son's living and supporting
their mother's raising they
own daddies kids.
So, the fifteen year old
son, becomes the man of
the house. Lets face it.
The truth be told money or no
money. Everyone of us
still have the right to be here
and live here money or no money.
Like I said, put the Doctors in
People are going to use drugs
bottom line.
                       ALLEY (Miss)
      (holding hands)
(Looking up towards the
Therefore I can.
Ladies instead of saying I can't,
altogether let's say Yes I can.
Hey do y'all know the meaning of
the word I CAN?
All of the women answer her back
saying yes, yes, yes yes.
I want all of yall to holler this
loud and clear. Yes we can. Yes I
can. I can.
Can everyone say the words I can.


                       ALLEY (cont'd)
Holla, it loud and clear again.
Now lets all of us spell it I
C A N.. Yes, that's it. That's
right. Now how you feel
Say Yes
feeling a lot of strength and
energy flowing thru your body.
(all the women starting laughing
Now wait a minute we
aren't finish. (Let's say
I can yes, I can , yes I know I
This is an relaxing exercise
also a spiritual awakening. Shake
your bodies loosen them up and
breathe deeply.
(holds her head down for a
moment ) It says that you
may have
life and may have it
abundantly/according to your faith
be it done unto you. I can't
is the most futile words anyone
can use. We say I can, yes
I know we can make it.
Well that's alright, girlfriend I
hear you. I heard the words you
were speaking.
They say when your in the
darkness that's when you make
decisions that affect your
life. They say the darkness is
intense. When you
are at your lowest by yourself
that's when you do the deepest
thinking. Yes, that's it you
begin to pray. I went to
shake to myself and mumbling
and grumbling.
Feeling all sad and lonely in my
head I thought.


                       ALLEY (cont'd)
What the hell is going on
with me?. I said, I
ain't going out like that no way.
Not me. I began to feel all sweaty
and my hands felt clammy. I can't
live like this all these problems
are beating me down.
I got quiet and then I heard a
faint voice talking to me from out
of nowhere and it said, you were
brought into this world for a
reason and a
season. The voice in the darkness
told me that I was beautiful from
that day on the voice
continued to whisper powerful
inspirations and affirmations
into my soul.
Slowly I begin to
get my strength back . My mind
started to come together.
The voice said,
don't turn back just keep on
moving forward.
Yesterday was yesterday and today
is now. I used to think the
darkness was a bad thing.
The darkness that's where you
do your most critical thinking. In
the stillness of the darkness.
When no one else is with you, but
god (higher power)The darkness
will make you pull yourself
together. While in the darkness
you must trust the creator,
because that's all you've got.
I never thought of the
darkness giving you strength.
I've always thought of
light giving you strength. So you
either give up or you get up. No
time for nervous breakdowns. Only
break thru for me. I refuse to
let the enemy take my life
from me and make me invisible.
I am standing up and I
am coming through. Wearing my
banner and all the other
stuff that goes along
with it.
I have moved through the darkness
back into the light.


Everyone will start humming, hum,
(then all of the women/one at a
time, but together will say) We
will not be silenced
We will not be silenced
Humming a little.
maybe end up on the floor head
bowed/coming into the circle
one at a time.
She died. She left us just like
that. She left us quicker than a
bolt of lightning could strike.
She left her children and her
family. She left
her grandmother. She left her
girlfriends. She left us so fast
we could barely catch our breath.
Devastated, yes we were.
Devastated you hear me. How could
God let this happen? To her? To
us? How did it happen? Why? Nobody
knows. We are so sad. We feel so
helpless. She left us, because
she could not breathe. She was
choking from all of this mess out
here. And we didn't
even know it. (little music) How
do we forgive ourselves?
How do we forgive ourselves? We
have done nothing wrong.
We've got to forgive our own
selves, You see
traditionally, women Black women
were the help understand what I'm
talking about were subservient
human beings especially to the
male. They had you cooking and a
cleaning and having babies by the
Black and White men. When some of
our mother's came along they were
taught those same kind of
values/traditions and tried to


                       ALLEY (cont'd)
hand them down to us. All
that has changed.
The new Black women
don't like doing all of things.
We ain't no super woman.
The new Black women
Today we have choices.
We the women who are a part
of "Tolley's Place" have broken
those old valueless traditions
that don't even exist anymore.
We are the new women, bright
,educated, smart and mother's.
Nowadays everyone needs to pull
their own weight. Sorry some
of you men need working on.
Now, let me get back to choices.
Perhaps in my mother's time and
your mother's time choice
were not an issue and things
were done a different way.
I don't wanna knock
nobody because it's all good.
There are good men.
But the days of the traditional
Black women is over. This is a
new day for us women.
We have choices lots of them.
(places hands
over heart)I am taking my spirit
and my soul. That the world
had stolen from me.
                       TOLLEY (Miss)
      (stands up)
"Tolley's Place "is where you
come to mend a broken heart.
"Tolley's Place" is where
you can come and make a
brand new start.
"Tolley's Place is where you come
to mend your broken heart. All of
you are welcome here. To begin a
brand new start.
Phenomenal, phenomenal women, hey
remember that poem? It was written
by my sister Maya. Yes, phenomenal


                       ALLEY (cont'd)

women that's all of us
(points to all of the women)
individually) you have to be
phenomenal to survive in this
world. Us women have survived the
raping's, the incest, the men who
loved us and hated us all at the
same time. Somehow our character
has been flawed long before we
get to meet anyone. We have been
damaged thru the media, society
and all of them folks. We've
flawed ourselves due to
misconceptions and negative
What I'd like to do ladies is for
you to take back your spirits back
that was stolen from you. (glances
around the room and holds her hand
to her heart.
Yes, that's right. now how do
you feel? Can you feel the
strength flowing through all of
our veins?
Yes, we can make our lives
better. That's if we want to
continue to be true to ourselves.
"Tolley's Place" is Here so women
will always have a place to come
share. It has been so enriching.
his has been truly a spiritually
empowering and engaging journey.
Faith is what you believe in It
will happen. A decent life for
all of us, because we are worthy.
I've got something
to say.
I'm letting them know ain't
no stopping me now. I don't know
about ya'll? (pointing the woman
individually). They ain't making
me quit, give up and go over in a
corner and die. It shall not
happen to this sister.
Malcom X said, by any means


                       ALLEY (cont'd)
necessary we shall survive.
We are going to make it.
I need to say more? (laughs)
You've got to hold on on don't let
go. No matter how hard the wind
The wind is going to blow you to
to the left and it's going to the
blow you to the right. It's going
to knock your ass down. Be like
the palm trees they sway to the
left and the leaves sway to the
right, but the roots never come
up. They
are strong and flexible,
they bend.
Life is going to try you no doubt.
You've got to be
thick skinned and tough to move
through it.
                       TOLLEY (Miss)
Let me end with this.
I'm not
running and I ain't hiding. I
ain't dying. I'm going to live.

Safe guard your mental and
emotional health.
We have become conscious of our
emotional and mental health. We
must learn how to take care of our
selves. And this often requires
navigating a series of hurdles. We
experience both racial and gender
discrimination constantly battling
to take care of ourselves. Society
is just beginning to get
experienced educated Black
Therapists they only account for
4% psychologists. This is why it
is so important for us, to support
ourselves and each other. Please
remember this no one is coming to
help us but us. So plan your own
life. We need to lift each other
We need to feel cheer and
inspiration of meeting and
greeting each other. We need to
empower each other through courage
and breathe fresh life that comes
from mingling of kindred souls my


                       TOLLEY (cont'd)
sisters. We have survived way
beyond the odds .

All of us can learn something
from people other than ourselves..

And perhaps you should fall learn
how to get back up.
This is my prayer to my sistergirl
friends. Stop over thinking
replaying those failed scenarios.
Feeding into those old tapes. Self
doubting ourselves and seeing the
greatness in everyone else but
yourselves. We owe ourselves more.
Lets give ourselves more,
Celebrate You.

(All the women stand up and
holding hands hands and say
together )
Freedom Freedom I am finally free.
You see "Tolley's Place" has been
a spiritual journey for me and so
many other Black women. You see
we went to "Tolley's Place",
because we were hurting inside.
I went too find out who I was and
where I stood in my life's
I was sad . I was angry and I was
unhappy. While there I began to
acknowledge and share my own
feeling with anger it began to go
away, and my sadness turned into
release through my tears. I was
feeling so unhappy not
knowing that I was making my own
self unhappy.
I had to learn how to take control
of my life.
I was blaming everyone
around me for my unhappiness.
How sad I must have been all of
those years. Now, I truly
want to thank the heavens
and the Gods for saving
me. You see I found me here. I
got up and went out and found me.
I found happiness. I feel so good.
Thanks to the women of Tolley's


                       SPIRIT (cont'd)
                       TOLLEY (Miss)
(stands up in front of audience
with a sign that says)
HAPPINESS and says. I have
learned laughter thru sadness and
I've learned the meaning of
contentment by taking charge
of my own life.
(Stands up with her sign in hand)

Since I visited "Tolley's Place"
I've learned to love myself.
I now know that loving
oneself/celebrating self comes
from the inside out not the
outside in.
You see I was waiting for someone
to come along and love me.
We are the voices of our movement.
Together we are building our own
new world . "Tolley's Place" is
where you come to mend a broken
heart. "Tolley's Place" is where
you come to make a brand new
"Tolley's Place" is where you come
to mend a broken heart.
Miss Tolley you are not. We are
not going let you lose this
Amen, by any means necessary.
Everyone we are keeping "Tolley's


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