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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Take Down That Flag...

Unlike South Africa, America has never had a day of reckoning, if you will. We have never had anything close to resembling a Truth & Reconciliation Commission or anything of the like. Perhaps, just perhaps, the good that will come from those peaceful, devoutly Christian and incredibly forgiving Black folks in Charleston, SC will be that America might come to terms with some of the lingering effects of her tainted past. Perhaps these mourning Families have paved a way to allow that some of America's wounds that cause such discomfort and conjure such painful memories for so many will begin to heal...  

Not only is there finally serious talk about bringing down the divisive and defeated confederate flag, retail outlets like Walmart & Amazon will stop selling products displaying the flag, also there is talk of changing names on street signs, buildings and the like that suggest honor to those who served to terrorize Black Americans and others in the name of defending the south. This is good. If you recall when I was in South Africa in 2013 I wrote about that country doing the exact same thing, In Pretoria they were changing names on street signs that celebrated persons who terrorized Blacks or who held prominent public office during apartheid. I applauded those efforts and questioned when America would examine herself through a similar lens.

While I believe in my heart that partly this drive to "take down that flag" is motivated by some who desire to deflect from calls for gun control in America after yet another horrific act of senseless killing, I think also that the strong faith and willingness of Black victims to forgive a young, clearly deranged, admittedly racist and unquestionably diabolical White man so soon after his commission of the most horrific of acts, compelled others to step forward and meet them in their place of integrity and serenity and offer up the defeated confederate flag to help soothe the pain in the hearts of the Families and as an offer of peace to the community and the nation. It is history repeating itself.

Much like the international broadcasting of horrific acts committed against peaceful Blacks in the 1960's, including a church bombing, prompted a national response and raised the consciousness of America to rectify the atrocities of the south, again we find ourselves in the same predicament. Too much is happening and being broadcast around the world about race relations in America for us to continue to ignore the elephant in the room who is trampling us while we try to pretend he does not exist. Everywhere I go folks assume, for a variety of reasons but mostly because of effective marketing of a false image, that racism no longer exists in America. There is an assumption that America is the face of democracy, equal opportunity for all and certainly that she has dealt with and resolved her past... But here we are again, more than 50 years later, being prompted again, maybe shamed, by the power of the media exposing in full color for all to see, the truth of our dirty little secret, that racism and hate for some is alive and well in the good ole' US of A. Again, the world sees Black southerners respond to the worst of mankind with incredible bravery, peacefulness, resilience, dignity, honor and valor. It appears again too that America is prepared to take steps to respond in kind. This is a good thing...  

Finally, 150 years later, it might become unpopular and unacceptable to fly the confederate flag.
Finally, mainstream America is willing to be critical and not just sit back and say "it is not my problem" while ignoring the symbolism, fear and pain conjured up for so many by the mere sight of the defeated confederate flag...
Finally, America just might start reckoning. It's about time..

Emanuel AME, thank you for your strong and abiding faith incredible to many, and thank you Charleston and others for following their lead. There is hope for a changing of times...

Now let's shut down the plantations that have been turned into bed & breakfast inns. That too is symbolic of incredible insensitivity. I'm Just Sayin'... A blog for another time...    

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Feeling Bobbi Kristina's Pain...

I look at Bobbi Kristina and think of myself. My Mother was my world and we were very close when I lost her at the tender age of 26. Folks thought I was going to lose my mind, especially her Friends who also feared I would starve to death. Didn't cook or do laundry then, Don't cook and can barely do laundry now... (smile) SOMEBODY brought me dinner almost every night for weeks. I think partly to feed me, partly to see how I was doing. Thank you Village...
I knew I would be alright and I am pretty sure my Mom did too. Reminding myself to live in such a way that would make her proud, sustained and kept me going... My advice to those who still have parents is to treasure and do right by parents who treasured, sacrificed and did right by you. When they pass, you will only miss them. You will not suffer from regrets and guilt about what you coulda', shoulda' said or done... Make sure they know that you love them while they are here. You will find comfort in your selfless deeds and acts/expressions of love when they are gone. Trust me, to look back and know that your parent will say, "job well done son/daughter", will make a world of difference and console you greatly in your time of grief.
However, I do understand the overwhelming void Bobbi Kristina must feel. Immediately after the loss of my Mother is the ONLY time in life I was sure I wanted a child. Thankfully, I realized very quickly that it was not a child that I wanted as much as I wanted to have my Mother back. I wanted to replace the relationship. While I am sure motherhood is rewarding in its own right, I came to understand and appreciate that there is no replacing a Mother's love and I have never regretted not having children. Lesson: Don't make life decisions in the face of pain and uncertainty...
Bobbi Kristina was much younger and less rooted than I was when we lost our Mothers, 18 as compared to 26. I remember often thinking of a family in our neighborhood where the children had lost both of their parents at such a young age that the baby child called his big Sister, who was no older than me, "Mommy", which became her nickname. I thought of them and how little time they had to spend with their parents to console and give me strength in those times when I was feeling especially sorry for myself. It's all relative however when we are dealing with our own grief and pain. We all cope in different ways and we should never let others tell us how or how long to grieve or how to deal with our pain and NEVER let them tell you not to talk about your loved one. That person was a very intricate part of your life, of course you should talk about them and do whatever you can to keep their memory and love alive in your soul, in your mind, in your heart... Grief is a very personal state of mind. It is one of those times in life when we have license to self diagnose and counsel ourselves through what can be the greatest pain we will ever know. You can only do it your way and in your time... Family and True Friends will respect and support that...
Perhaps Bobbi Kristina did not have [or open up to] the village around her to make sure she was nourished, both mentally and physically. Perhaps she was not quite ready to grasp the concept that in time, things would get better, her pain would lighten and she would adjust. Perhaps she was just too young and too inexperienced in life...  Who knows? I just know that I feel her pain and hope that by the grace of God, she pulls through. Prayers...

Saturday, January 31, 2015

First Lady Sets Another Trend...

Remember early on when the First Lady upset the tea kettle by showing her arms in February? Oh My!!! How incensed they were. Well, true to form seems the First Lady set a trend. Has anyone noticed all the bare arms on TV no matter the season? What does strike me as odd however, is the weather lady clad in summer attire, sleeveless dress, summer sandals and all, while reporting on subzero temperatures and cutting away to another reporter who is outside the studio dressed like an Eskimo! Now that's comical!!!  

Here is what the original haters had to say about the First Lady being sleeveless in Feb 2009: "'Does the lady not understand that these Big Speech Events are serious and important? Not a cocktail party?'" wrote one Chicago Tribune reader. "''The season is winter. The occasion is business. Dress was wrong place and time.'"

And Glamour magazine editor wrote;  “Oh my god,” Cindi Leive, the editor of Glamour magazine, exclaimed while watching the address, she said via email. “The First Lady has bare arms in Congress, in February, at night!”

The blogger who shared this story also pondered; "In a few years, will she still look as confident as she did last night, or will she reach for cover?" I'd say given the recent clamor about her fashion statement in Saudi Arabia and all that she has endured with her head STILL held high, YEAH she's as confident now as she was in 2009! Love The First Lady!!! But still I don't get the weather lady! LOL!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Re-post on Bill Cosby...

So many opinions out there on Bill Cosby. Here is one worth considering. Check it out...

THE PR CAMPAIGN… Against Bill Cosby

CosbyTemple

Click on the link above... Thoughts? 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wondering, A Birthday Tribute to My Mother...

Today would have been my Mom's 73rd birthday....
I wonder...
I wonder what she would look like...
Would she have aged gracefully?
Would she finally have the salt and pepper hair she so desperately wanted?
Would she still have the contagious smile and still be one of the nicest & kindest persons one could ever know?
Would she be a "fly" senior citizen?
Would she still enjoy sneaking away to Atlantic City to play the slots?
Would she still be afraid of heights, therefore afraid of flying, or would she be jet setting around the world with Miss Higgi?
Would she still love to garden and take much pride in a lovely yard?
On a cold, snowy night would she still open the curtains, pour a glass of wine, light a candle and watch the snow fall while relaxing and listening to some good background music?
Would she have found happiness and love?
Would she still talk incessantly and proudly about her children and now her grandchildren to anyone who would listen?
Would she???
Happy Birthday Mommy. I miss you so...

Please listen to this song; Eric Clapton, Tears In Heaven. It is so lovely and so meaningful to anyone who has lost someone..

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Post Ferguson Non-Decision Thoughts

I have heard the non-decision of the not so grand "grand" jury of darren wilson's peers because surely they feel no kinship to, identity with or compassion for the defenseless young man who was murdered and left to die in the street. Obviously they don't even see him, his Family or our community as human, forget 3/5. This rings of old when racist whites openly killed, raped, lynched & terrorized Black folks, admitted it, went before a jury of their peers and laughed all the way right out the front door of the court house... The hate that has reared its ugly head of late is beyond sickening. It is becoming physically sickening...
As much as I hate to admit it, it is at times like these that I am really upset with Tavis Smiley. He allowed his ego and greed to get in the way and destroy a very powerful and effective platform he was building. He had a captive audience, he was keeping us informed and teaching us to utilize and respect the power of our unified voice, the power of our dollar. All it took was for him to tell his audience to inundate a business with calls and people did it, jammed up the switchboard until we were heard... If he threatened that Black folks would boycott a product or service, the tides changed and the corporate big whigs were begging to come on the TJMS radio show to apologize, to explain, to respond to our collective voice. Tavis had the perfect platform to empower, educate and inform the Black community and he threw it away...
Tavis was on his way. He had commanded respect and tremendous credibility and possessed a different appeal because he did not have the baggage that Jesse & Al have. Respect them both but their ships have sailed.... Brotha' Al compromised his effectiveness as soon as he took a high paying position with a major network. How can he possibly criticize and hold accountable the very hand that feeds him? Not going to happen. Brotha' Jesse, for whose accomplishments I have deep respect, has just lost his appeal and sadly groomed no one to pick up the mantle.. Shame... I surmise that because Tavis was becoming so effective, therefore threatening, he was lured away with TV shows and such. Oldest play in the book, Can't shut them up or control them?, then put them on your team... Works every time and sadly Tavis fell for it leaving the Black community hanging... No one since has so effectively galvanized our community...
As my Friend Vincent Collaso constantly reminds us regarding what should be our response to the Ferguson non-decision, this is a time for new strategies. Not to knock at all the hard work of our predecessors, they gave us the foundation, but those old strategies are predictable. Mainstream America expects us to get angry, burn up our own shit, call them whitie, cracker or some other derogatory name all the while keep voting them into office, all the while spending our hard earned money in communities other than our own, with persons who don't look like us or have our best interests at heart... Of course too they will throw us a bone putting a few folks in the limelight to make some of us feel good, making sure we all see it and keep in line...
As much as I wish that I did, I don't have the answer. My heart hurts too but something has got to give. We have got to have a new strategy and it has got to be all about organizing US and making decisions in our collective best interest, decisions that preserve our dignity and keep our dollars in our communities being spent on our goods and services, like pre-integration... It frightens me that Black America is becoming more and more peripheral in America as we sit silently waiting/hoping to be accepted, waiting/hoping to be thrown a crumb, satisfied that a few of us have "made it" while the rest suffer...
As Vincent Collaso, Maggie Anderson and many others are constantly preaching, its about economics folks!!! Turn off the boob tube and get involved! Conceive It, Believe It, Achieve It...
Again, it is at moments like this that I am truly disheartened that Tavis dropped the ball  and that no one, as per usual in our leaders, was in place or groomed to pick it up... He was on to something...
Believing In Us!!! Forever & Ever!!!
Just My Thoughts... Who will pick up the baton and get us running?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Apartheid in the Caribbean ~ BOYCOTT DOMINICAN REPUBLIC!!!‏

Dominicans of Haitian descent protesting the ruling that has stripped them of their rights and made them stateless. Photo credit: Reconoci.do

This is so despicable!!!  Dominican Republic is denying and/or revoking citizenship to Dominicans of Haitian descent dating back to 1929, in other words Black folks!!!  

" In September 2013, the Dominican Republic’s constitutional court passed a judgment revoking the citizenship of Dominicans of Haitian parentage born after 1929. People who had known no other home were suddenly stripped of their rights and made officially stateless."

While Dominicans of illegal status are joining in the demand for citizenship in the US, their country has deemed persons born and raised in DR and who have worked, achieved and contributed to the building of the country, as persons of no longer worthy of citizen status.  

“Many Dominicans of Haitian descent are finding it impossible to access even the most basic of services such as health and education. They can’t send their children to school as they are unable to register them as Dominican citizens. They can’t work, vote or live a respectable and dignified existence. They are trapped in legal limbo, a form of ‘social suicide’ that is keeping them as second-class non-citizens. On a day-to-day basis even the most basic of tasks become insurmountable hurdles.

A few years ago while celebrating my 50th birthday in DR, I was appalled to see that Haitians were virtually treated like Slaves. Of course the Dominicans denied this. It did not occur to me at that time that some of those persons being treated so cruelly were Dominicans of Haitian descent. It did not occur to me that they would treat their own people so horribly! This government action confirms my observation. 

One image that has haunted me is that captured on the attached photos. My heart stopped as I observed what looked like a scene straight out of American slavery; June 2010!!! It was shocking and appalling to see. While there I was highly critical of how Haitians were treated. These photos definitively illustrate my point. And now this..  

"Yet Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian ancestry, who make up some 12% of the population (same as Blacks in the US), have often been said to be the drivers of the Dominican economy, providing cheap labour in droves. The Dominican Republic’s GDP in 2013 was almost eight times Haiti’s. The economic growth that the Dominican Republic has enjoyed has been built on the back of what was already an underclass. A poor, often black underclass denied most of the rights of lighter-skinned citizens. Toiling on building sites or on farms with little bargaining power or recognition. Sound familiar? South Africa?"



I will not visit Dominican Republic again until and unless they reverse this blatantly racist and inhumane decision. I hope that others will follow suit. Hit them where it hurts. Their economy depends on tourism. Make a statement. BOYCOTT DOMINICAN REPUBLIC!!!



June 2010; Dominican Republic









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