Brother and Sisters hear me when I say As a people, we must never allow ourselves to be defined by others. As a people, we must never allow ourselves to be dependent on the resolve of others who fight on our behalf, sometimes because they believe we can simply not achieve greatness on our own. As a people, we must stand up and demand that the time is now for society to remove any and all roadblocks that still exist in our paths and denounce those who inherently want us to fail. As a people, we must grow and nurture our communities. We must transform them from wastelands devoid of opportunities, where those of us who succeed run from, into an oasis filled with promise where not only would we not run, we would move toward. As a people, we must return to the days when we built upon the family, helping one another, being positive role models to our children, and creating foundations that will make each successive generation stronger. As a people, we must challenge our young to achieve. We must not coddle them, we must not provide them with excuses, we must not be satisfied with mediocrity, and we must not fear greatness. From the moment they take their first breath, we must instill within them that excellence is to be strived for, excellence is expected, excellence is the norm. As a people, we must insist that we honor our past and remember the sacrifices of those that came before us so that we can march forward toward excellence. As a people, we must realize that only when we look inward, only when we summon the courage to be great, will we ever indeed be free as a people.
The Olive Garden is not real Italian food; Red Lobster is not real seafood; Golden Krust is not real Jamaican food; Almost every corner Chinese take out place is not real Chinese food, ever notice the food they’re eating in the back is never on the menu; Just because it’s called a fish filet doesn’t mean it’s fish: The McRib is tasty as all out but come on it’s not really a rib; If it’s not breakfast, never order anything but a burger and fries from a diner; If busloads of tourists eat there now, the Soul Food has probably lost its soul; If you can get it off the dollar menu you probably shouldn’t be eating if; IHOP is totally inferior to the Waffle House. Blimpies (remember them) was always better than Subway And one bonus for you White Castle secretly makes the best fast food breakfast bar none
They thought because they had money, they were better than everyone. Always rude, always mean, they carried themselves in such an arrogant manner it was nauseating. Then one day, they looked me dead in the eye and asked. Do you think you’re better than me? I replied, come on, you know me, I would never set my bar so low. Of course, I’m better than you.
I wake every morning, look in the mirror, and marvel at my beautiful black skin. My skin tells the world who I am. It announces that I am part of a unique group of people. Oppressed for centuries, our souls were never shackled, our spirits were never broke. The fire that burns within each of us was never extinguished. The sun shines upon this earth, giving all of us life, but it is my black skin that absorbs its energy and radiates with beauty. My skin is but one shade of a grand mosaic that is black; be it pecan, caramel, milk chocolate, or cacao, one thing is certain, they are all beautiful. Each day I look to the heavens and thank the Lord for my black skin because it declares openly to the world that I am special, I am strong, I am unique; I am black and I am beautiful.
Do not deny who you are. Our understanding of who we are prevents others from defining us and allows us to identify those areas in our life that need improvement. We may not always like what we discover through self-assessment, but it is a fundamental aspect of growth.
Embrace fear it is the only way to overcome it. In improving ourselves we will undoubtedly encounter twists and turns. If we are fearful of what is around the next turn, we risk letting opportunity pass us by.
Remember we will never stop growing if we know who we are and embrace out fears.
None of us is born with our future decided. We all begin with a blank canvass waiting for us to take hold of a pen and draw our destiny. It is vital for our growth to remember that none of us has to accept what is because others have told us we are not meant to rise above it. We’ll never know what our future could genuinely be unless we take hold of that pen and draw our own destiny.
The tragic events unfolding in Texas are another example of how close most Americans are to disaster. According to reports, Texas officials knew winter storms could leave the state’s power grid vulnerable. Still, they left the choice to prepare for harsh weather up to the power companies — many of which opted against the costly upgrades. That, plus a deregulated energy market largely isolated from the rest of the country’s power grid, left the state alone to deal with the crisis. As always, the decisions that led to the failure of the Texas grid came down to money. Money that the wealthy pocketed at the expense of their constituents and consumer’s well-being. Unfortunately, this is not an anomaly in America, where a tiny percentage of wealthy control the vast majority of income and routinely make decisions to increase that wealth with no regard to the needs of the many or the well-being of the planet itself.
I’ve spent most of my adult life working with NYC’s neediest population, the last nine years exclusively with the homeless population. Every day I see hard-working men and women, many with multiple jobs who, after 16 hour days, have to go home to a shelter because the cost of living far outweighs the wages they are paid. All of this, while a tiny segment of society controls most of the wealth, ensures Congress continues to give them tax breaks, and live in luxury off their employees’ sweat. The COVID 19 pandemic is a perfect example. Big corporations got bailed out, Millionaires and Billionaires got wealthier, and most Americans were told here’s 600 dollars make that work. It is disgraceful, and America must address its income inequality issues and stop with the pull yourself up by the bootstraps; we’re not a socialist country mantra and recognize that no nation can prosper forever when the majority of its citizens are one paycheck away from disaster
I’ve got an early morning meeting today, so I’m up before the sun. As I quietly move around the bedroom so as not to wake you, I stop for a second to take in your beauty as you sleep. Now, this wasn’t some movie scene. Your hair was a mess, and I’m pretty sure there was a bit of drool on your pillow, yet all I could think as I stood there was how beautiful you were. Your beauty was only a piece of the complex puzzle that was you. Your mind, your intelligence, wow, so exciting. When we first met at the office, I remember going back and forth across the table at meetings; this woman is on point, I would think to myself; she makes me see things in a way I would never have thought possible. The fire you put into everything in your life pushes me and has made me a better man. Your compassion and how you instinctively know what to say or do when I am going through a rough patch; your words and actions remind me that I never have to fight the battle alone because you will always be by my side. I bend down and kiss your forehead and whisper, I love you and you through your sleep whisper back I love you too, and I smile, knowing it’s going to be a good day because no matter what happens when I come home, I’m coming home to you.
You’re away on business and I check my phone every few minutes for your text. I listen to songs that remind me of you. I close my eyes, and I see your smile. You awaken my soul. You give me strength. You open my heart to the joy of true love. You bring me true happiness. I count the minutes until I see you again. I can’t wait for when I can hold you again. You are my everything, and I love you.