Sunday, August 13, 2017

Policing & Community Engagement Is a Two Way Street...

This is the message I posted on the NYPD's 28th Precinct's Facebook page and emailed to their Commanding Officer. Be involved in your communities folks. They serve us. Engage them...


On yesterday, Aug 12, I spent the day in a positive event along with police officers exploring avenues of community engagement. Yesterday was a trying day being Black in America witnessing a rebirth 1960's hate and chaos in Charlottesville. On my way to see the movie Detroit at approximately 7pm, I saw at least ten officers including one white shirt, wish I was exaggerating but sadly I am not, surrounding one Black guy. They were on the sidewalk in front of McDonalds.


I thought it must be some kind of drill so I stopped to ask. I was told that it was not but that the gentleman had hit someone with a bat. The young officer and the white shirt seemed to share this explanation with some expectation that I would find their response acceptable. I did not... I said to them that if it takes ten of them to subdue one man, then we are in deep trouble! Surely, there must have been crime occurring somewhere else in the precinct. Surely...


The young officer was upset by my response. He then turned on me and told me to move along. I told him it was public space and that I did not have to. So he told me to step aside from the public spectacle THEY were creating and that was occupying much of the sidewalk. Seems their overkill was to show the public they are doing their job... The flip side of that however is showing the public that they are either very afraid, grossly under/unskilled and/or insensitive to the community they serve. There would not be ten cops including a supervisor arresting ten White guys with guns...


Come on NYPD. Respect the communities you serve with the same dignity and respect you would want in your own neighborhoods. I saw this once before with a NINE year old boy accused of shoplifting. It was upsetting to me then too. I spoke on it then too. Do your job and yes I support you in that but overkill is offensive.


And then I went to see the movie Detroit depicting the 1967 riots where rogue officers got away with killing innocent Black people in the Algiers Hotel for no damn reason you know, just as I am sick of seeing being played out still today... Yesterday was a trying day being Black in America. I wish the 28th Precinct had not added to it...


Be safe out there but respect the public you serve. Newsflash: Black folks are human. We are not animals. One Black man, with only a bat, should not be such a threat to warrant TEN skilled officers on the scene. IJS...

Saturday, July 22, 2017

When the System Is Broken...







Thank you NYT for publishing this article; Foster Care as Punishment, the New Reality of 'Jane Crow'. Can’t stress it enough, the double standard in our child welfare system is blatant and negligibly sanctioned by the courts. A state receiving Title IV funding from the feds is dependent upon not how many children receive services but how many children are in court ordered, out of home placements. So whose children end up in foster care and whose children do you think receive in home services? In NYC less than 4% of the children in foster care are White. Are we to believe that is by accident??? Only a fool...


Securing funding, keeping folks gainfully employed, providing a feeder for mass incarceration and validating a negative narrative that has been told incessantly for generations are the justifications for removing Black children from their homes. Often I am left to wonder just when did Black Mothers become so negligent, so incapable of parenting when is it Black Mothers who raised everyone else’s children? Hmmm….


 
Dating back to slavery when suckling Black babies were mercilessly pulled from the breasts of their screaming Mothers who were being sold to parts and persons unknown, never to see her babies again, there has been no regard for the humanity or maternity of Black Mothers, no sense that her heart was being ripped out, no regard for the sanctity or value of the Black Family so easily separated with even less regard given a litter of dogs.


Still, it is sentiments such as these that drive a very cruel system interested not in the welfare of children but instead punishment of their Mothers, punishment for being Black and/or poor and voiceless, overpowered by and mostly not represented in a system vested first in maintaining it’s own survival, perpetuating and validating the continuity of a lie of inhumanity and ultimately in destroying the Black Family. Job well done says a former social worker in both child welfare and corrections who absolutely abhorred both broken systems...


It is NOT a myth... 

Friday, June 2, 2017

Alycia's Smile



What A Woman, A Mother, A Daughter, A Sister, A Teacher, A Friend and so much more... 

Last Thursday on a gloomy, cloudy and rainy day without notice or warning the world lost a wonderful person. In her sleep she quietly slipped away. This Thursday, today, the clouds miraculously evaporated and gave way to beautiful blue skies so that approximately 300 people filled with lots of love for our Friend could show up to send her away... On a weekday, no less than 300 people put honor, love and respect for friendship and family before other commitments and our jobs. That speaks to just how special Alycia Walton-Money is...

Of course the program said to limit words of reflection to 2 minutes, they always say that. I am not sure because who abides by it? Today was no exception. Person after person made their way to the mic to bear witness to how wonderful Alycia was/is in words, mini sermons and even in song. None limited his reflection to two minutes. Each told of some positive impact that Alycia had had on their life. Person after person; friends, family, neighbors, former students and their parents, fellow parishioners and teachers brought tears of pride, joy and sadness to my eyes as they told stories about her warm and loving spirit. Each reflected about her beautiful and always present smile which thankfully was beaming at the us from monitors beyond the coffin that now houses her body and just above the pulpit. Still, in her last moments on earth, she consoled us with her smile for one last time.

Thank you Alycia... 

In our 56 years of life, our Mothers were childhood friends and pregnant with Alycia and I at the same time, I don't think I ever heard Alycia say a bad word about anyone. Not once. So I understood why today so many wanted to give testimony and say wonderful things about her. It was a love filled service. And oddly enough, I don't think anyone minded that fellow mourners were violating the two minute rule. Oddly enough I don't think anyone would have minded if everyone standing in queue was given an opportunity to speak. Sadly however that could not be... The pastor, keeper of time, fully recognizing that still there had to be an eulogy, was forced to cut reflections of love by the guests to allow the family to share their reflections and share they did...

Alycia's beautiful daughter Christina, paid loving tribute in word to her Mother, assured her Father of her Mother's undying love for him and tearfully and heartily thanked him for being such a wonderful partner to her Mother and wonderful Father to she and her Brother. She promised to always be there for him. Her words were so moving... Alycia's son Eric, offered a moving and heartfelt musical selection in honor of his Mother. She was so proud of her children. They showed us why... Alycia's Mother found the strength to share words of praise for her first born and somehow through her grief was inspired to offer wisdom to other Mothers about loving and letting their children go. The strength of her family was a testament to who Alycia was, what her Mother instilled in her and what in turn, she instilled in her children. Like Alycia's beaming smile, their strength consoled us.
                                                             
Thank you Family...

I am going to miss my Friend that is for sure. She was a number one cheerleader and always a supporter in my life and obviously in that of so many others. Between my tears and floods of memories, today I looked to the heavens and sincerely hoped that she thought me to be as good and supportive a Friend to her. The good do die young. Alycia is proof of that. She was good and lived a purpose driven and filling life. Seemingly God's reward for my dear friend being such a good soul here on earth was to take her away suddenly, without warning, very peacefully and without pain in her sleep. I think everyone today found comfort that such a beautiful person did not have to suffer. Today I said goodbye to my friend but never to her smile...

Thank you for Being My Friend...

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Change Has Gotta' Come...



NAACP President Cornell William Brooks was ousted; vote of no confidence. This surprised me. I cannot speak much on it with any specificity because I don't follow NAACP that closely. But history and my gut tells me that it was probably not a good move. NAACP usually gets rid of folks making a difference or seeking to implement change and keeps those who "kiss the way TOO MANY rings" and who preserve status quo.

Former Presidents Ben Jealous & Bruce Gordon immediately come to mind. I remember being excited by the potential of both their leadership. More recently Ben Jealous who resigned, was unquestionably overshadowed and/or expected to share his limelight/leadership with CEO Roslyn Brock. This seemed awkward and to an outsider, made no sense. The face of NAACP leadership was cloudy, murky, unclear. The same was true of Bruce Gordon's presidency. He resigned in what seemed similar frustration of being forced to share his leadership responsibilities with "too many chiefs". It was following his resignation that I first recall hearing of NAACP having a really humongous and difficult to manage board of directors that was criticized for interfering and impeding Mr. Gordon's attempts to make progress and advance the organization. I do not presume to have the facts in either of these cases but I have no doubt that push back from the old guard and their resistance to change is what drove two very genuine and committed men out of what should be a stellar, revered and leading civil rights organization. It is also what earned them a vote of no confidence and fleeing by much of what was an established and solid membership. Have they done it again? I don't know but certainly I hope not...

I was President of a local chapter. It was not easy... Not at all... That they have been perceived as out of touch and less relevant is not new news to the NAACP. Reportedly under President Brooks' leadership and undoubtedly because of radical changes in our government, membership has flourished for the NAACP and many other civil rights and/or social justice organizations; an increase of 87% in membership reinforced by an upsurge in donations of 200%. Let's see what they do with it.

While the NAACP has certainly earned it's rightful place in history as a dominant and leading civil rights organization, somehow they got stuck on taking their status. They began taking their supporters for granted and seemingly instead began yielding and became beholden to the influence of corporate sponsors. They stopped fighting to maintain their position as the leader of a movement. They stopped earning and staking their claim. I want to see them do well so I sincerely hope that the organization as a whole does some serious self assessment before moving on to select a new "leader". They have to commit to truly get out of their own way and genuinely support whoever they put in place to lead the organization into a new day, in a new way, and with a new voice...

That being said, I recently renewed my membership BECAUSE I want them to succeed and BECAUSE I DO respect their legacy, what they have done and where they have brought us as a nation. MAJOR, MAJOR props! I KNOW upon whose shoulders I stand. While I am hopeful they will find their way, in my heart I feel distanced and estranged from the image and philosophy they project. But still and always I remain respectful of their work and hopeful for their future. I am thankful for the NAACP and sincerely hope that in the spirit of that soulful hit song by the legendary, talented, late and great Sam Cooke, I sincerely hope they realize and truly embrace that
Change Has 'Gotta' Come, oh yes it does...

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Be The Flower...



As yet another Mother’s Day approaches I am reflective and thankful for my Mother. Thirty Mother's days without her and still I am filled with happy thoughts and fond memories of having had a Mother the likes of which some may never know. My Mother was my best friend, my confidant, she was my world... She encouraged me to be independent, to trust my intuition and to believe in myself. When times were tough my Mother taught me to appreciate the small things in life. She taught me that the glass was not half empty; but half full. It comforts me to know that when my Mother’s earthly journey ended, she was confident of my undying and unconditional love for her.


Familial relationships can be challenging, and I am by no means one to judge or to tell others how to manage them. Each of us has to do that which serves us best in our relationships with others, including family. On this Mother’s Day I remind you that if you are blessed to have a Mother who loves, cherishes and has sacrificed for you, do your damnedest to reciprocate...

Shower your Mother with petals of love and affection all the days of her life. Don’t wait for Mother’s day to give her roses. Make certain that when her journey ends and you give her flowers for but another reason, let only happy memories guide your grief. Leave no room for sorrow or guilt about what you coulda', shoulda' or woulda' done or said to or for her. Be the consistent and ever blossoming flower in your Mom's bouquet on this day and everyday you are blessed to have her... 

Happy Mother's Day Folks!







Sunday, April 30, 2017

Strong Black Men Are Real...



Got really disturbing news recently that someone I thought a really upstanding, proud, committed and strong young Black man to be loved and celebrated by our village literally just walked away from his responsibility, his Family, his honor and TWO young Sons he brought into the world. Just like that! What makes him think he has that luxury? I really want to know.

I reminded his young wife, who is as beautiful and kind as they come, that she is a solid Black woman who hails from solid stock and is firmly rooted in strong Black womanhood, that will sustain and carry her no matter how turbulent and rocky the storm, she WILL survive... I have COMPLETE confidence that although her dream shattered, her heart broke, she WILL land firmly on her feet! I assured her that like my Mother and far too many before her, she AND her two young Black Sons, will be just fine!

But come on my Brothas', Black Women are tired of being, having to prove that we are, super women. We hurt too... We just want to be women who are loved, cherished, adored, protected, respected as do all other women. We want, no we need, you to step up, not to be super, just to be men. You are not allowed to run and continue to present yourself in the world as upstanding and respectable when the the back drop is that when the going got rough and you CHOSE to abandon YOUR children, ESPECIALLY YOUR SONS. No longer can you, without responsibility nor accountability, sit back scratching your head, blaming their Mamas, the White man and anyone else who is convenient when OUR sons (and daughters for that matter) don't thrive, never get over your rejection, join a gang just to belong or to "learn how to be a man", become a statistic, follow your lead and abandon their responsibilities too! You're just not allowed... It is YOUR DUTY to break the cycle. Sistahs are tired! Good Brothas', we need you to take on the task of putting OUR bad Brothas in check! It is not our job. Handle your business!

And where is the village that produced this young man? Are the women demanding that he respect the Black Woman who he claimed to love and who bore his children? Are the men demanding that he step up and be the strong Black man they raised and exampled for him to be? I don't know but I do know that if ever the village needs to be real and present, it is now...

This is not an anti-Black man rant. Writing is just what I do and quite frankly I am tired of singing, hearing the same ole' song. We need a new song, new lyrics, written and sung by our Brothas. The young man I speak of here is an aspiring professional who is already well on his way, an HBCU grad, comes from an intact Family. He KNOWS better! The expectations were high. His wife, who I adore, is crushed and surely are his young toddler Sons who have not seen their "daddy" in three months! I HOPE he is reading this. Get over yourself young man! You made grown man choices. Now act like a grown man and handle your responsibilities and stop behaving like the overly indulged, spoiled baby boy child of the Family that you obviously are. It is NO LONGER about YOU. Really it isn't...


Friday, April 7, 2017

After the Strike...



There is no supporting trump's air strike of Syria. To do so would endorse and/or set precedent for his acting as a DICKtraitor. He ignored protocol and consulted with no one; not Congress, not our Allies and one must wonder if even with our Intelligence agencies. We must be careful not to inadvertently legitimize trump's efforts to be KING of America.

donald trump is a "person" of
questionable integrity,
questionable allegiance,
questionable loyalty,
ZERO compassion,
questionable character,
questionable intelligence,
questionable motive.

I do not trust ANYthing he does nor ANYone with whom he surrounds himself.

IF I had a draft aged child, I would channel the spirit of Muhammad Ali. I would rather put money on his or her books for commissary in prison than flowers on his grave for fighting some contrived war started by trump
- to show that his balls are bigger than some other world leader,
- to give a jolt to his approval rating, therefore his ego,
- so that he and his rich cronies, who DODGED THE DRAFT, and who will NOT send their kids off to fight, can get richer on the backs and deaths of the poor who they will dupe into believing they are defending the country for some patriotic good,
- to convince the nut jobs who voted for him that he is making America Great Again!

I would rather visit my kid in prison!!!

I do not like trump and I trust him and his motives even less. There is likely nothing he can do to make me believe that only days after declaring that they should fend for themselves, that miraculously, overnight, he gives a damn about their suffering or being tortured and killed, chemically or otherwise. These are the same people who still he refuses entry, thereby refuge, in the US.

NOT drinking his Kool-aid. NOT being distracted from issues at home regarding him, MOST members of his administration, their lies and their ties with putin and Russia who I would not be one bit surprised to learn colluded with trump in this show of force. We have been so duped by this ruthless and dangerous egomaniac until I don't put anything past him.

I believe him to be a traitor.
I believe his ultimate goal is to overthrow our government as we know it, as is defined by law to include the Constitution, the supreme law of the land.
I believe to support or legitimize him in ANY way is to be complicit in a coup of America...
I detest him...

Now what for the Syrian people? If only they could believe the US was REALLY concerned for their safety and had their best interest at heart. trump does not...

Stay Woke Folks! Don't be distracted. Don't stop resisting...

#RESIST