Celebrate YOU!!!

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









Pass it on...

Friday, October 31, 2014

Affordable Healthcare, Not Part of the American Dream...

What is wrong in America that anything remotely related to medical care is so damn expensive and why are we as consumers buying into the nonsense that somehow it is because what we get is "superior"?
I am in Panama. A few days ago I saw an Internal Medicine doctor without an appointment, no long wait and he was not rushing to get me out of his office. He took his time and answered every question I had and charged me a whopping $15 for the office visit!!! I needed lab work, which was done on site, for another $106; FOUR tests!!! I had the results by end of day... The medicine he prescribed cost $3.83!!!
Yesterday I went for a mammogram. It did not require a prescription, I had no appointment and it included an ultrasound, a much more thorough exam which I have never had done in the states! It cost me a whopping $40!!! It was so reasonable, I paid for my Friend's exam as well as a belated birthday gift! We barely waited, the staff was nice and only because there is a holiday upon us, Panama's Independence, we will wait one week for our results. INcredible!!!
We left from the radiologists, had a hearty lunch for two for less than $6.00 and then off I went to the dentist. Again, I paid a whopping $44 for a cleaning which was done by the DENTIST not a hygienist and had x-rays, a basic initial visit in the states for $44! I will return to have major work done that will cost me $6,000 in the states but will cost less than $2,200 here! Seems a no brainer!!!
Something is very wrong with the U.S. Medical system. It has become a racket. That explains why there is a huge fight against President Obama's push for affordable and accessible health care. Can't have that, too many people and industries stand to lose money. To hell with healthy American citizens!
What other explanation is available to make sense of why the same services we receive in the states for HIGH dollar are so affordable, accessible, simplistic and encouraged in Panama and other places? NOTHING about the medical industry in the states is any of those things where we pay $1,000 for an aspirin in the hospital, $4,000 for an ambulance ride around the corner, and a host of inflated charges for medicine and nonsense "medical" procedures.
I met a Canadian man the other day who could very well go home and get free treatment for his wife who needs a serious heart operation. In the states there are only 3 hospitals that perform the type of operation she needs. The cheapest of the three will charge $183,000. They opted to have the surgery here in Panama for $40,000. The Family has no insurance here in Panama. If he did, if I did, if we were residents or citizens, our minuscule bills would be even less. There was another American at the doctors office while I was there. He paid a whopping $7.00 for his visit. My dentist told me a mammogram for her would cost only $28!
Something is very wrong in America. I will get as much done as I can while I am here. ENT, GYN and Colonoscopy. TMI, I know but I want to impress upon you that there is another way. Open your mind to understand that America is not always the best! The pharmaceutical companies that rip us off in the states, sell the same damn medication in other countries at affordable prices. It is horrible!!! I will return to the states with a clear mind medically and still have a few bucks in my pocket. Works for me and it is money and time well spent!!!
Take care of yourself folks and/or do your homework, choose a place to visit that has good and affordable medical services (Cuba is a good choice!) get on an airplane, enjoy your vacation and get your doctors appointments out of the way at the same time! Not a bad deal. Kill two very important birds with one stone. IJS...  the medical industry in the United States? 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Ebola and Good Timing!

Timing is everything. It seems had I stayed in Ghana another week or so, it might not have been so easy getting back in the US. As Ghana so far, is not one of the affected countries, no one asked me a thing coming through Customs. Nothing. Although I had expected at least a question about how I was feeling or where I might have traveled while there... Honestly, I had considered visiting a few African countries while on the continent before coming home but decided against it. I felt it wiser not to complicate the matter. Ghana was on the safe list and I decided not to roll the dice. Good decision...
Since coming home I have had two experiences where medical professionals were leery of being in my presence. One was a doctor who literally tried to diagnose me for bronchitis or pneumonia from across the room. I said to her, so the nurse has obviously told you that I was in Africa so now you think you can diagnose me from across the room? She turned beet red and then gave me a BS exam. I reported her and was asked to return to see a real doctor who examined me to see why in fact my chest was feeling so heavy. He did not guess. He listened to me breathe and took an x-ray!!
I have been home for 18 days. I have absolutely NONE of the symptoms of Ebola and the incubation period is 21 days. I am no more in the woods than are those who are reading this post. I complained that it was her type of "medical" response that allowed the situation in Texas to escalate. The deceased went to the hospital as soon as he felt the symptoms, fully disclosed his circumstances and was sent home in a highly contagious state. Who knows why the nurse turned him away but if it was due to fear and a desire to just get him out of the hospital, that has proven to have been a HUGE mistake. Granted I understand the need for precaution but if our medical professionals are afraid, we all need to be damn worried!
I compare Ebola to HIV & AIDS in that as long as it was restricted to Africa, as was HIV & AIDS to the gay community, it was not "our" (mainstream America) problem. The lesson is that we live in a global society without borders. Nothing is restricted to any one class or place. We ARE our Brother's Keepers.
Be Well Everyone and live wisely. Wash your hands regularly, don't shake hands with others and think as well as behave with good hygiene sense where ever possible. Wipe down gym equipment BEFORE & AFTER use. While we can control with whom we swap saliva, blood, urine, feces, vomit, semen and some other body fluids, swapping sweat with strangers can pose a very real, unknown risk. This thing is getting crazier by the day...
Glad to be home albeit only briefly. Panama & South America this time... Looking forward to it!
¡Ten Cuidado Mis Amigos!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Black, White & Blue...

Over the past few days, I have watched this video several times as it makes its way around the internet. It captured a White woman preventing the arrest of an innocent Black man in her neighborhood. I admire and applaud this woman for her courage and that she cared enough to intervene and come to the aid of another less capable of defending himself.

I am struck however by two things;

(1) Black officers, in the nation's capital no less, harassing an innocent Black victim for simply being present in the "wrong" neighborhood, an indication of their distorted view of themselves and that blue blood runs DEEP! and 

(2) I wonder if me, as a Black female attorney, could so forcibly assert myself by intervening in police activity and achieve the same result. Would I warrant the same level of respect or would I be sitting on the curb next to the accused under arrest for obstruction of justice? Did this woman even have to indicate that she was an attorney or was being White enough to command total compliance and damn near an apology from these Black officers? What would have been the response, to her much less to me, if the officers were White? Acquiescence? Hmmm, Just Wondering...

Happy for the outcome but the background music is not so melodic to my ears. Conversely, it is deeply disturbing no matter the radio station. Officers are in such denial of their inherent bias, which is so ingrained in rank and file from top to bottom, that it renders them incapable of being objective and therefore incapable of doing their job effectively. I am pessimistic that their prejudice can ever be fixed or reversed. So now what?


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Lights Out in Ghana!


Ghana still has issues with its infrastructure. Supplying electricity is a huge problem. Roving outages are scheduled, usually for 12 hour periods in various parts of town. While one area is out, some other area is going full blast. If you don't have a generator and lots of people don't, you endure the outage in pure darkness. And let me tell you some areas are pitch black! They manage. Guess they are just used to it. Like that bucket, you had better have some alternative light source if you are planning to live in Ghana! Keep the cell phone charged, save all data when working on the computer and keep a modem (air card) because with the electricity goes your internet router! You must live to plan for outages... Crazy in 2014. I know...

Well, this a first. Our lights went out somewhere around 6am yesterday morning. It is almost 6am again, still no lights... Thankfully we have a generator but it runs on diesel fuel and as you can imagine, pumping it for 24 hours can get quite pricey. We turned it off for some portion of the day and overnight. I thought for sure when I returned last night, certainly when I awoke this morning, that the lights would be back on. Not! Oh Ghana...

Be thankful for the little things folks! We take so much for granted.

This is one Ghana-Ism that I will not miss...