Celebrate YOU!!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

I Was Thinking This Morning...

As I walked around Accra (Ghana) this morning taking in my surroundings, the term "third world" crossed my mind. It is a term that I have always rejected. It connotes an air of superiority. It implies somehow that there is a "first world". Never heard anyone speak of a "first world". And hey!, didn't civilization begin in what is now considered "third world"? What was the "first world" doing while the "third world" was toiling in all its brilliance to lay the ground work for the rest of civilization? Just wonderin'... Oh! and is there a "second world"? Never heard tell of that either... Hmmm....

Seemingly citizens adapt to their assigned classification, physically, mentally, socially, for the good, for the bad and otherwise...

Lesson: Never underestimate the power of suggestion. It can permeate your mind and totally distort how you see yourself, for the good, for the bad and otherwise... 

I was thinking this morning...

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

His Feets' Should Be Tired...

In 2006 I invited Congressman John Lewis to be guest speaker at my law school graduation because I don't think we celebrate our heroes enough. In honor of celebrating our history, I wanted to be certain that a new generation and their Families would know who he was and what his sacrifices have been...
Little did I know that soon we would relive the 60's for all the world to see and that my peers would learn who he was anyway. What in the hell is going on America?

If there is/was any doubt that we are moving backward as a nation, the events of late should remove all such doubt! Police dressed in military gear and conducting themselves in manners reminiscent of bull connor and other American terrorists from the 60's South; cops attacking peaceful protesters, arresting journalists, and killing Black folks like it is open season. And now we see John Lewis marching again. If this doesn't bring it home for you, nothing will... His feets' should be tired but he marches on still in search of his Beloved Community. Thank you still Mr. Lewis!!!


Tonight I march in solidarity with those in #Ferguson because I believe the people have a right to orderly and peaceful protest.Play Video

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Robin Williams; Tears of A Clown

People say I'm the life of the party cuz' I tell a joke or two
Although I might be laughing loud and hearty, deep inside I'm blue...
So take a good look at my face
You'll see my smile looks out of place
If you look closer its easy to trace
The Tracks of My Tears...
(Smokey Robinson)

The Tears of A Clown, When There's No One Around...

We never know another's pain, only the image they CHOOSE to show the public...

May he be at peace. May he and his Family find peace in knowing that he brought such joy to so many. His life was not in vain, may we all be so lucky. Sorry he decided to go so soon. He will be missed...
 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Eminent Domain, An Abuse of Government in Southeast, Washington, DC

While looking for something else on line this morning, I came across a link to a Washington Times article in which I was quoted back in 2004. Some time in 2003, before going to law school, I started working to mobilize local business owners in the southeast section of Washington, DC to save their businesses located in the Skyland Shopping Center from the heartless wrecking ball of government seizure of their private property,to be enforced in the name of eminent domain.

The plaza consisted of approximately 12 or 13 businesses, maybe more, that included a post office, a government employment office, two liquor stores, several eateries (one of which was a brand new KFC), a food shopping store, a discount variety store, a few hairdressers, a record store, shoe store and more. Post eminent domain, after several years of empty promises for a large anchor retail store, all that remains is the CVS Pharmacy. In 2003 and part of 2004, I lived and was an active citizen in the Hillcrest community, which is located near the shopping center in Southeast DC.

For most of the past ten years those store owners, mostly local residents who owned small "mom and pop" establishments, were deprived of their livelihood as their businesses were gradually shut down, local residents of a mostly economically depressed neighborhood were deprived of jobs and convenient services and a site that some neighbors complained was an eye sore to the community with the local businesses, spent the last several years having to live instead with boarded up and abandoned buildings, an even greater eye sore. There were no winners...

As a result of my activism, I befriended one of the store owners who went from owning her own home and a thriving business to filing bankruptcy and moving into an apartment. There were no winners... Sadly, the merchants owned their business but not the property. Try as they may, they had little leverage against their unsympathetic government.

I frequently visit Washington DC and on occasion make certain to make a special trip past the Skyland Shopping Center, specifically to see what has become of the plaza. In May 2014, just a few months ago, I made one of those trips. What I discovered was a vacant lot with a few guys sitting around on heavy equipment seemingly waiting to go to work. Presumably, more than ten years after wrecking the community and depriving small business owners of their livelihood, the city is finally ready to break ground on what will be a "new and improved" shopping center. In the interim, lots of people and a community were hurt. Most of the shop keepers lost, the community lost and after ten years of providing no jobs and receiving no tax revenue from once thriving businesses, the government lost too..

Eminent domain, all too often, is an abuse of government. In this instance there is no denying that such was the case...  Shameful! 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Miss Higgi's Take on Philip Seymour Hoffman...

Every other story on the news is about the tragic overdose of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. I am trying to understand what makes his death any more important than that of any other junkie... Here is what I put on Facebook in response to the arrest of four accused of selling him drugs... 

Sorry Folks but I feel some kinda' way about this...

While I am very sorry that yet another life was lost to drugs, I am not happy that this guy's death, that of a cop, a politician or any other non-lay person is somehow deemed more important, more worthy of solving or investigating than that of any other person.... He had SEVENTY bags of heroin and died with a needle in his arm, just like many another junkie. What makes him or his death any different, any more important, any more sad or more worthy of mourn than that of other junkies?

I do not appreciate that taxpayer dollars are being spent and more value is being given this guy's life than any other... SEVENTY bags of heroin, cocaine, five prescription meds, 20 hypodermic needles and a burned up spoon? Like it or not, he was just another junkie... Albeit very talented, at the end of the day he was just another junkie, who will be no more missed and was no more loved by his Family and Friends than any of his junkie peers, some of whom undoubtedly were also great losses to our society. His celebrity should make him no more special nor the person who sold him the heroin that HE willfully ingested, no more criminal... 

Might sound harsh, but it is the truth of how I feel... If I were on the jury, it would be an uphill battle for any prosecutor to convince me to convict whoever sold Mr. Hoffman the UNtainted drugs that HE willfully ingested. I cannot see that I would condone or be in any way complicit in upholding a double standard that gives his life any more value than that of any regular Joe! Either ALL loss of life of persons engaged in criminal activity has value and should be vindicated and aggressively investigated or no life engaged in criminal activity has value and is worthy of protection or vindication... 

If law enforcement can find, and in record time, those persons who sold drugs to this actor then there is no question that law enforcement knows and is much more capable of ending/solving many more crimes than they would have us believe. Seems they and/or society just has to care about or assign value to the life of the victim... Plain & Simple! 

It is my guess that Mr. Hoffman, who purchased and injected UNtainted drugs into his own vein, would join me when I say, STOP the double standard!!! May he and his many drug addicted peers rest in peace...

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Silent Molester...

Over the years I have tried to find the right description for snow. I go to bed and rest peacefully only to awake and wonder how could something that can cause such destruction and so disturb my tranquility, occur so peacefully and without a whisper while I slept...

Shouldn't something so devastating, so disruptive to my day come with a bang? Shouldn't I know or have heard it creep up on me? Not the case with snow. Sometimes I go to sleep with much anticipation about what will greet me in the morning. Other times I awake to a white blanket that has covered my world in the night that I was not expecting. And still there are those times when I awake quite happy to learn that the forecasters were dead wrong and there was much ado about nothing.

No matter the circumstances of how the white stuff greets me, I have spent many a morning staring out my window in deep despair negotiating with myself if I dare venture out into the white madness or not... Yes, it is that deep for me!!! 


While beautiful (on a postcard, that is), there is no denying that snow can really muck' up a day. Don't believe me? Ask the folks stuck in an airport sleeping on benches because the flights are grounded, stuck in their car on an Atlanta highway for 27 hours because - why did that happen? (still SMH), someone risking life and limb because they are too broke or have been too busy to replace the bald tires on their car (OUCH!)... Something with that much power to cause such chaos, should make some noise upon entrance. Don't you think?

Not snow!!! Like a molester, which literally means one who bothers, annoys, interferes or causes trouble for another, snow often creeps in the quiet of night to disrupt even your best laid plans! It just seems to me that something that mighty should announce its presence like a raging thunder storm... It should wake me from my sleep. It should pound against the windows and the rooftop! It should make some damn noise!!!

So finally, as I ponder yet again on another morning during this 2014 winter from hell, what I will do on the dawning of yet another day blanketed in whiteness, I have a fitting description for that seasonal annoyance I call snow, it is now officially "The Silent Molester"...

In my heart I know that today, like most other dreaded snow days, I will ultimately muster the fortitude to proceed and not let it totally bother (molest) my day, but for right now, at this very moment, I just had to vent!!! Thank you for indulging me!!!

If you share the plight of my forecast, be safe and stay home if you can... If you just happen to be in sunshine, DO NOT brag to me!, at least not today!!! (smile) Most of all however, EVERYONE be thankful and Have a FANTASTIC Day as this too shall surely pass! It will, I promise...

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

MOVED By Fire...



On last evening I went to see the film, Let The Fire Burn, a documentary about the events leading up to the May 13, 1985 city's bombing of one home and burning of an entire neighborhood in the heart of Philadelphia. All in an effort to evict MOVE a "Black liberation", back to nature group who had set up shop in a family oriented, Black middle class urban community.

I remember all too well the ultimate day, the inevitable show down between MOVE and the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) following years of disputes and frustrations with the shenanigans of the group. It was interesting to watch the film and revisit my emotions which were all over the place; from being angry with MOVE and empathizing with their neighbors who were literally terrorized by the very presence of this group defacing and disrespecting their neighborhood, disturbing their peacefulness, to remembering just how racist former Mayor and Police Commissioner frank rizzo, his fire commissioner brother, their successors and the Philadelphia PD were believed to be and getting angry at the way they treated MOVE members, especially the babies and children, AND the community whose homes they sat by and let burn burn to the ground. UNbelievable...

I recall when leaving for work that morning to my social work job at a nearby state prison, that the cops and MOVE were at a standoff. An actual war was erupting on an urban street? Or was it? The movie reminded me that the cops exhausted 10,000 rounds of ammunition and confirmed that MOVE had only 6 inoperable guns... While outlandish and vulgar for sure, they tortured their neighbors spewing all kinds of vile rhetoric via loud speakers and bull horns at all times of the day and night, they rejected violence and claimed to only use force in defense of self...

By the time I got home that beautiful spring evening, my Mother who was working in the yard, her favorite past time, greeted me with news that the media had been covering the story all day and that the neighborhood was ablaze. By helicopter, the cops had dropped a bomb ON a row house IN the MIDDLE OF A CITY BLOCK!!! I could not believe that!!! All day they had used tear gas and fire hoses to evict these people and now that the block was on fire, they just sat there and watched??? As though the poor people who were cursed to be neighbors to these people had not been punished enough, now they were losing their homes and EVERYthing they owned... Did not seem fair and certainly, even at 25, made no sense! I knew that such would never have been the reaction given another neighborhood...

At 25, I remember thinking how foolish was Mayor Wilson Goode for taking "full responsibility" for a fire that was still burning. He could not have possibly had the facts. At 25 I wondered WHY would a Black Mayor take full responsibility for the actions of men everyone knew/thought to be racists and who certainly had an ax to grind with MOVE who had allegedly killed a "brother in blue" during another "shoot out" with the PPD. I may have my incidents confused but the movie pointed out that forensics following one of these major "shoot outs" determined that the MOVE group had only inoperable guns... It is a fact however that at no time were the two equally armed.

Let the Fire Burn was a good documentary comprised of film footage of media coverage and public hearings. It is well done and worth the watch, particularly if you lived in or near the city during that time. You will remember the cast of characters and the horrific events. It is showing around the country, check it out if you can...