Category Archives: African-American Experience

2020 Maybe just maybe America is turning that corner

In 2008 I was transfixed to my television screen with tears in my eyes as Barack Obama and his family celebrated his historic victory, becoming the first African American President of the United States of America in Chicago’s Grant Park.

Here was a moment I never believed I would live to see.
Here was a man that looked like me
Here was a family that looked like mine.
Here was a family that was now the FIRST family.

It was a moment that I will always remember. It said to me that maybe just maybe, America has turned a corner. Maybe people of color will finally be afforded the respect that they have always deserved. Maybe America was finally going to live up to the words on which it was founded that all people are created equal. Maybe Doctor Martin Luther King Jr’s dream that we will be judged by the content of our character and not the color of our skin was finally on the cusp of becoming a reality.

But then came 2016, and even though, for eight years, President Obama and his entire family were the personifications of grace and dignity, America elected a man who was the polar opposite. A man who campaigned on division and tactically embraced racism. Maybe I thought to myself, America hasn’t turned that corner.

But as miserable as 2020 has been, something special was happening. 2020 saw the rise of the Coalition of the Righteous. A coalition of varying ethnic and religious groups, gender and sexual orientations, young and old, and they were ready to rebuke Donald Trump’s message of racism and bigotry.

Today the hope I had in 2008 is building in my heart again. On Saturday night, I beamed with happiness as I watch Senator Kamala Harris. a woman of color, address our country as the first female Vice President-Elect. It was an emotional moment as I thought to myself, for 400 years, they have tried to silence us, but here Senator Harris stood, and as she spoke, you could almost hear the wind whispering in the background saying:

WE ARE STILL HERE, AND WE ARE EXTRAORDINARY!
SAY IT LOUD I’M BLACK AND I’M PROUD!

My Son

As I held him for the very first time, I looked into his eyes awash with emotions. My son! Was this true was I actually holding in my arms, my son.  I had dreamed of this moment for as long as I could remember, and I knew that nothing would ever be the same.  My life, the choices I’d make were no longer for me.  Every decision I would make would be made with this beautiful young child I held in my arms in mind in mind, and I would have it no other way.  I would go to war to protect this child; I would let no one or nothing hurt him physically, mentally, or spiritually. Despite my happiness, there was still a small part of me that wondered was it fair to bring him into this world.  A world that will not look upon his beautiful bronze skin for the magnificence It represented. Instead, they will look at it as a threat.  He will be a target, and each day he leaves the house, I will have to worry if he will return. He will have to work twice as hard to be considered an equal of those less talented than him.  They will question him at every step.  Was it fair to bring such innocence, such beauty into such an ugly world?  Was it selfish on my part? Will I be able to protect my son? These are the thoughts that run through my mind in what should be a moment of unbridled joy.  This sadly is the reality of being a black man in America

They’re scared of our Voice

Brother and sisters, Donald Trump, is scared. Scared of your voice. Scared of your voice at the voting booth. Scared of the power that voice carries. So scared he is doing any and everything to silence your voice.

Remember, brother and sisters, the right to vote wasn’t always available to us, and when it was, some tried as the GOP and Trump try to do today to silence it. They passed laws such as Louisiana in 1896 when it passed the “grandfather clauses” to keep former slaves and their descendants from voting. As a result, registered black voters drops from 44.8% in 1896 to 4.0% four years later. Mississippi, South Carolina, Alabama, and Virginia follow Louisiana’s lead by enacting their grandfather clauses.

They tried to intimidate us, and the blood of our ancestors was shed at their hands such as in 1965 when John Lewis and more than 500 non-violent civil rights marchers were attacked by law enforcement officers while attempting to march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama to demand the need for African American voting rights.
Make no mistake; brother and sisters, this election is not only for our country’s soul but also for protecting all we have fought for. Rights that should have been ours without a fight but required one nevertheless. Rights that GOP, through federal judicial appointments, are looking to dismantle brick by brick. We can not afford to sit on our vote, to mute our voice. It is what they want; it is what they are actively trying to accomplish. They are scared, brothers, and sisters of our voice. So let them hear our voice as it scream this November – no more your time is done!

We Keep Moving Forward

The movie character Rocky Balboa said It’s not about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward.

You have hit us hard.

Shackled us in the chains of bondage

Lynched us under cover of night

Brutalized us for the color of our skin

Beat us when we demanded to be treated as equals

Oppressed us economically

Marginalized us socially

Devalued our lives

But we keep moving forward.

Does that surprise you? It shouldn’t. We are a unique people; our indomitable spirit keeps us moving forward in the face of all things done against us. It is a spirit that not only keeps us moving forward; it has protected and strengthened us. It is a spirit that screams WE ARE BLACK EXCELLENCE!

Why We Say Black Lives Matter

The echo of gunshots filled the air.
And the young man’s lifeless body fell to the ground.

The cries of I can’t breathe filled the air.
And the young man’s lifeless body fell to the ground.

The howls of disbelief filled the courtroom.
And the defendant walked free once more.

The sound of silence filled the halls of the city, state, and nation’s capitals.
And those in power did nothing yet again.

For centuries, our lives have been devalued by those who see only the color of our skin. 

Have we not helped build this nation?
Have we not fought for this nation?
Have we not shown time after time our love for this nation?
Have we not been every bit the American that you believe yourself to be?

Because of your hatred, your racism we must scream for the world to hear that Black Lives Matter because, for 400 years, you have demonstrated that to you it doesn’t. It isn’t a logical mentality, but it is true.

That which is truly ours can never be broken

The chains of bondage could not break us.
The whips could not break us.
The burning crosses could not break us.
The dogs and fires hoses could not break us.
The knee on our necks could not break us.

From the moment you saw us, you have tried to break us.

Why?

Maybe it’s because the moment you saw us, you knew we didn’t walk, we didn’t run, we soared. You knew we would never get caught in the rain because we soared high above the clouds, and there was nothing we couldn’t accomplish.

Did you fear that?
Did you think your hatred and violence would make you better than us?
Did you think we would simply go away?

Have you not seen that we are a people of extraordinary character?
Have you not recognized that after centuries of trying to break us, we are only getting stronger?
Have you not realized that our hearts, minds, and souls, that which is truly ours, can never be taken from us, can never be broken?

Do you not see
We are Black and
We are beautiful.

HOW DARE YOU!

How dare you believe that you can question our patriotism when we kneel to bring light to the killing of our people. When we have fought, bled, and given our life in EVERY war, this nation has seen.  Only to return home and be treated as a second class citizen. 

How dare you suppose that you can tell us it’s not Black Lives that Matter; it’s that All Lives Matter when you have shown a disregard for our lives for over four hundred years.

How dare you assume that you can tell us how I should protest when yet another person of color has been struck down while you dress up in paramilitary outfits with automatic weapons and storm state capitols to protest a lockdown designed to slow the spread of a deadly virus so that you can get a haircut or go to Starbucks.

How dare you think you can infer we are anarchists when you applaud a 17-year-old boy with an automatic weapon roaming the streets and call white nationalists very fine people.

How dare you presume you can say anything when for over for 400 years you have benefited from our oppression

You cannot begin to know the extent of our sorrow, pain, and anger due to the systematic racism you have cultivated for four hundred years.

How dare you!