Tag Archives: Community

Ignorance and selfishness is indivisible,

Target employee has arm broken for asking a customer to wear a mask

Supermarket workers physically assaulted for asking customers to wear a mask

Health care workers threatened and called communist for supporting the wearing of masks

State Governors receiving death threats for trying to protect their constituents with stay at home orders

To paraphrase the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Ignorance and selfishness is indivisible, ignorance and selfishness anywhere is a threat to intelligence and community everywhere

We Are The Coalition Of The Righteous

GOP politicians are lining up to defend Trump’s racist tweets some going as far as too call them patriotic and informing us that we should just move on from this and get back to the business of governing. 

REALLY? Just move on from it? So now You’re going to tell US what is racist and what isn’t. Is this the same logic you used when you told us Slavery wasn’t racist, segregation wasn’t fine as long as it was separate but “equal”, red lining wasn’t racist. the shooting of unarmed black men of color were justified. 

No we can not simply move on from it.

Now more than ever we have a difficult time ahead of us. But we must shed our fear of it.

Why?

Because we are not here because of the path that lies before us but because of the path that lies behind us. Four hundred years we have endured slavery, racism, sexism, homophobia and the denial of basic human rights and with each step forward we take, with each of our achievement we accomplish it produces fear among those among who still preach hate, who look to divide, do not believe in the brotherhood of all but would rather hold onto the old ways of subjugation and bondage.

But we are rising up now, together as one, race, color, religion, creed, gender and national origin .  We are a coalition of the righteous and we are gathering momentum each and every day. We are going to create a world where color, gender, religious belief and country of origin doesn’t matter. A world without conflicts and killings. A world without borders and boundaries. A world united not divided, ruled by love not hate. A world where anything is possible.

Today we send a message to those who still cling to the past, those who still preach hatred, those who still wish to divide this great nation not on the content of our character but on the the color of our skin. Today we take OUR country back from the racist and bigoted. Today we tremble these amber waves of grain and purple mountain majesties from sea to shining sea. Today we remember, this is America where we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men and all women regardless of color are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of happiness.

Today we make them remember we are still here

An Angel Walks in a Room

An angel walks in a room with a Christian who celebrates Christmas. A Jew who celebrates Hanukkah and a African American who celebrates Kwanza. The angel quickly looks around and says Happy Holidays to everyone. At that moment an individual in the corner sighs loudly. The angel turns to the man and asks is  there a problem sir?  To which the man responded well since you asked there is.  I’m  so tired of you liberals and your war on Christmas. What wrong with just saying Merry Christmas like we did in the good old days. The angel looked at the man and laughed and then politely said sir it would seem it is you and not me who is waging war on Christmas. Me? Responded the man shockingly. Yes you said the angel for on the day Jesus was born an angel like myself told all those in the manger I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. He did not identify only a selection of people to wish great joy he wished it to all. We are all God’s children and he wishes that as his children we love each other and respect each other faiths. If you choose to turn a cold shoulder to or belittle those who wish happiness to all then it is you who are soiling the true meaning of Christmas.

Black is Beautiful

Drug dealers, gang bangers, fatherless, welfare dependent, prisoners are some of the images that the media bombard us with. When faced with these images on a daily basis many of us begin to accept them and have lower life expectations of ourselves. In essence we are letting the stereotypes of others define who we are rather than defining ourselves. The positive images of African Americans is often that of athletes and hip hop stars implying that their are limited roads to success within the African-American community. Protest against social injustice by African Americans stars is spun as unpatriotic  and done by individuals who are fortunate that society has given them so much. Notice I said given not earned because for many the thought of the African American working hard and earning their position in society is a foreign concept. As Cater G. Woodson said to handicap a student by teaching him that his black face is a curse and that his struggle to change his condition is hopeless is the worst sort of lynching.”

1984 brought us the Cosby Show centered on the lives of the fictional Huxtables obstetrician Cliff his lawyer wife Claire, and their children Sondra, Denise, Vanessa and Rudy, and son Theo. The show was unique in that not only did it depict an upper middle class African American family, we had seen that before on shows such as the Jeffersons, but one that was led by not one but two professionals. They were portrayed as simply a family residing in Brooklyn, not a African American family simply a family. They were not the exception to the rule rather they were just another successful family.  The Huxtables showed us that African Americans can achieve, can be successful, can be a mother and a father who have children who attend college because isn’t that what all kids do when they graduate high school. They were the embodiment of what all American families white and black strive to be.

2008 brought us Barack Obama who against all odds became America’s first African American President. Something many of believed we would never live to see. He was a highly educated man of color and a dedicated husband and father.  While in office some media outlets looked to marginalize his accomplishments, question his citizenship and disintegrate his character but thanks to his magnetic personality and superior oratory skills President Obama was able to overcome media attempts to downplay or mischaracterize him. He represented himself with a class and dignity rarely seen by a politician and won respect and admiration not only from Americans but world wide. His wife Michelle  a strong, educated, beautiful woman of color, so much so that the thought of her running for President today does not seem out of the realm of possibility, was also at times a victim of certain media outlets attempt to paint the Obama’s in a poor light. But like her husband she too possessed a magnetic personality and superior oratory skills which easily allowed her to deflect any negativity aimed at her. The Obamas represented what is possible for all African Americans. No longer was it a fantasy to tell your child they could grow up to be President because it has been accomplished and with accomplished with dignity and class.

2018 brought us the hugely success Marvel movie Black Panther. Movie theaters were packed with people of color young and old, men and women, some who hadn’t been to a movies in years. They left the theater not only entertained by the movie itself but with a pride of their culture. Wakanda after all was undeniably African. Its citizens highly educated, its women depicted as strong and beautiful, its men strong and dedicated to family. Wakanda forever became a calling card of many because the imaged world of Wakanda represented a look at what African Americans could be. That we could fly above the clouds and achieve greatness.

One cannot quantify the impact the positive images of these fictional and non fictional African Americans have had on the African American community as a whole but it has no doubt allowed some of us to dream of possibilities to consider what we can accomplish regardless of the color of our skin.  This begs the question as to what is the responsibility of successful African Americans in giving back to their community. For many successful African Americans success is often measured by moving out of their community into a predominantly white community.  Leaving behind many of those they used to associate with in exchange for new friends who are predominantly white. Rejecting much of the culture they were raised in to better fit their new surroundings. They reject African American businesses citing their supposed inferiority to that of businesses run by others. It as Cater G Woodson said “Negro banks, as a rule, have failed because the people, taught that their own pioneers in business cannot function in this sphere, 

It is ironic that Harlem one of the bastions of African America culture has in recent years seen a renaissance not as the result of successful African Americans returning but to an influx of white people. Unfortunately as this great community strengthens African Americans are pushed out

So is it truly the responsibility of the successful African American to as Lebron James said in his 2017 ESPY awards speech “go back to our communities, invest our time, our resources, help rebuild them, help strengthen them, help change them.” In this writers opinion the answer is an unequivocal yes. As each successful generation serves as positive role models and mentors, invests in the building of a strong and prosperous infrastructure that employs those in the community and affords the children of those adults the opportunity to attain a quality education the foundation is put in place where success is not seen as the exception but the norm. The perception of the African American image within ourselves changes from one that is not worthy and of limited possibilities to one who is exceptional and has unlimited opportunities before them. As Fredrick Douglas said The soul that is within me no man can degrade”

The building of this thought process will not come easy as Carole Mosley-Braun so pointedly put it  “Defining myself, as opposed to being defined by others, is one of the most difficult challenges I face” and as Malcolm X once said “Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you’re a man, you take it.”  Simply put the African American can not wait for others to “save” us, to build up our communities, to employ our men and women, to educate our children and most importantly to pass down the history of our many accomplishments. The African American must act from within to achieve these goals. We must set the groundwork so that. each succeeding generation grows up with the belief as the 1970’s slogan said Black is Beautiful. That they shout from the mountain tops what James Brown once sang I’m black and I’m proud. That they define themselves and not let others define them.

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Today our difference divide us – Perhaps tomorrow they will be our strength.

I am pleased to see that we have differences.
May we together become greater than the sum of both of us.

-Surak of Vulcan

I am the child of Charles and Frances Cooke two African-Americans born in the early 1900s in the southern part of the United States. As such I have always identified myself as African-American and from time to time was reminded of this by society. From being chased out of a park while being called a nigger when I was 10, having a police officer point a gun at my head when I was 15 simply because I made the mistake of tossing a football around the yard of a white friend who lived in the suburbs, to being pulled over numerous times in my early 20s despite not fitting the “profile” because as kind of a nerd I normally had on penny loafers with argyle socks and matching sweater but my skin color was still the wrong shade.

While my self identification is the result of being raised, loved, and natured by two exceptional individuals who themselves were also African-American I am also adopted, a fact that was kept hidden from me until my late 30s. I know nothing of my biological father other than the fact that he wasn’t African-American. Recently I completed one of those DNA test and found out I was in fact 54.6% Sub-Saharan African and 43.9% European. Interesting I thought as I looked at my results how many of those Europeans had looked at me and seen just the color of my skin and thought of me as inferior? How many of them don’t look like me but have a similar ancestry? Does it really matter what my ancestry is? Does it define how I should live my life?

Our ancestry defines our culture and to a large extend our culture is a leading factor in defining who we are. But while it is a leading factor it does not change the fact that we are all human. Humans with differences but humans nevertheless. It is our differences that If embraced instead of feared would in fact make us stronger as a species. The sun, Earth’s primary source of energy, emits white light but that white light is actually a composite of all of the visible frequencies of light. Without the differences all the colors bring there would be no light at all. So is the case with the human species? Where would we be without our many differences? How would we advance and grow without the varied contributions of so many cultures?

The question before us now is how do we begin to embrace our differences as a species when our entire existence shows we let those differences divide us. Seemingly there is no answer to that. Man has always fostered a sense of loyalty rooted in group identity. We pit race against race, religion against religion, prejudice against prejudice. Divide and conquer has always been mankind’s rallying call. I am pessimistic about our ability to overcome the us versus them mentality in the short term. However I am optimistic that the human is a very promising species and as Captain Jean Luc Picard once said “inside you is the potential to make yourself better…and that is what it is to be human. To make yourself more than you are.” Today our difference divide us perhaps tomorrow we will be better and our differences will be our strength.

A Dollar and a Dream

I saw a statistic that 1 Billion People used Facebook today, meaning that one out of every seven people on the planet today used Facebook. One out of every seven humans! That is indeed an impressive statistic except when you relate it to hunger, then it’s a sobering statistic at best. Sobering because tonight one out of every seven people in the world will go to bed hungry.

According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, created by the United Nations in 1948 to provide a global understanding of how to treat individuals. We have 30 basic human rights. Article 25 states:

Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the one billion people who used Facebook today, myself included, gave just one dollar to help feed the hungry, to make Article 25 a reality.

Think about it a single dollar, less than your daily paper or morning cup of coffee. A small contribution but a contribution that would help someone go to bed tonight with a little something in their belly.

Wouldn’t that make us a better world?

Yeah that would make us a better world.

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E-Mail from on high

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If we could get an e-mail from on high today I imagine it would read something like this

There has been some confusion of late so I just wanted to check in to state what I thought with the intelligence I have blessed you with should be obvious but apparently is not.

If you would see a child, one of my most vulnerable, go to sleep hungry or without a roof over their head simply because they were born into poverty or on the wrong side of an imaginary line you have drawn in the earth you can not say you are one of my children.

If you would think to call yourself superior to another one simply because of the color of your skin, ethnic background, religious group or sexual orientation you can not say you are one of my children.

If you would protect the wealth of those with an abundance at the expense of providing the bare necessities to those without you can not say you are one of my children.

If you would look to harm or worst kill another using my name as your justification you can not say you are one of my children.

For it is only in the heart of my children that the concept of unconditional love and compassion resides.

I hope that has cleared it up you. You may carry on.

They are trying to change the narrative…Don’t let them

They are trying to change the narrative to marginalize the message and divide the masses don’t let them.

They will point to those killed in the line of duty as if we don’t care about their lives and those they leave behind. They will act is as if this is a game of one-upmanship. We certainly do and it is not.

They will point to the number of blacks killed by blacks and say we should be gravely concerned about that. They will say we should turn a blind eye to other injustices and concentrate on that problem and that problem alone because surely we can not focus on multiple issues at one time. We clearly are and we most definitely can.

They will say our protests are about hatred of the police and not with ensuring that justice is meted out equally and fairly for all people. But it never was about that and it most certainly is.

They will call those who speak out race baiters while it is they who try to divide by making this strictly an issue of black versus white all the while ignoring the rainbow of colors who stand for and cry out for justice.

They are trying to change the narrative to marginalize the message and divide the masses don’t let them.

Why Are The Humans Hungry?

Alien #1: Really, looking at the humans again? What’s so interesting this time?

Alien #2: Well if you must know there is a very intriguing event going on right now. Thousands of people in the country they call the United States of America are standing on-line for what in their measurement of time would be days for a communication device they refer to as an iPhone.

Alien #1: A communication device? I hardly would call it that. Really they can’t even make a simple phone call to their International space station and that thing is only in orbit around their planet.

Alien #2: Yes, yes we all know how you like to make fun of the human technology. However, what is interesting to me is that when scanning that particular country I see similar lines forming all the time for food.

Alien #1: Interesting, if I were to compare this to how things operate on our world I would assume that both their communication devices and their food sources are in short supply.

Alien #2: You would think that. But in neither case does that appear to be true. The demand for the communication device appears to be driven by the human’s desire to be part of a group. To be the first in that group to own something apparently increases what humans call their social status and that appears to be a big thing.

Alien #1: Intriguing, yet I’m still confused how does this fit in with their food supply?

Alien #2: In the case of their food supply it appears that it is not a desire to be part of a group or that it is in short supply in the United States. I found this article while scanning their internet.

Alien #1: Their internet I would…

Alien #2: Stop it. We all know you would hardly call it an internet. Never the less I found this regarding their food supply. As much as 40% of food goes uneaten in the U.S., according to estimates from the Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency. Americans are, in other words, throwing out the equivalent of $165 billion in wasted food every year, a separate analysis by the NRDC found. In fact, one study estimates, just 15% of all this wasted food would be enough to feed more than 25 million Americans every year. And one in six Americans currently lacks a secure supply of food,

Alien #1: Are you sure that information is correct? Because to be perfectly honest with you that makes no sense; how could they simultaneously waste food yet have people go hungry.

Alien #2: How indeed? Here’s where it gets really complicated apparently in the United States as in other parts of the Earth humans have put a monetary value on food.

Alien #1: Really?

Alien #2: Yes, can you believe it? By placing a monetary value on food it means that those who do not have the significant monetary resources, as measured by humans, simply cannot afford to eat. In some cases the situation is so severe that again according to information I found on their internet their own United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates 15.8 million children under 18 in the United States live in households where they are unable to consistently access enough nutritious food necessary for a healthy life. Although food insecurity is harmful to any individual, it can be particularly devastating among children due to their increased vulnerability and the potential for long-term consequences.

Alien #1: Fascinating, Then how is that so many of the humans line up to purchase a communication device if money is in such short demand? Surely being able to sustain a healthy existence is far greater than owning the newest communication device.

Alien #2: It is not that money is in short supply it is simply in the way that the wealth is distributed from country to country and with-in countries. You do remember those artificial lines we have talked about that the humans draw to separate themselves and hold so dear.

Alien #1: Indeed I do. However, what stumps me is that even on our world we struggle with the issue of wealth disparity yet we never allowed it to stop us from ensuring that all of our species have what is required to live and sustain a healthy existence.

Alien #2: Yes, but as we have remarked before the humans have not come to the most basic of understanding, that they are one.

Alien #1: And that is what remains so sad about their existence

Alien #2: Yes my friend it does, that it does.

It’s Time!

Rightfully so there are concerns regarding the number of young men of color who are living their lives behind bars. Yet as we walk through our own communities we cannot escape the reality that many of us choose to voluntarily live our own lives behind bars, barricading our homes and ourselves from both the real and perceived dangers of our own communities. It is time for this to change.

It is time that we look inward for solutions to address the issues that plague our communities.
It is time we pull together to uplift our communities spiritually, socially and emotionally.
It is time we work together to increase the financial viability of our communities and those who reside in them.
It is time we strive to turn our communities around, from a place we look to escape to one we want to return to.
It is time!