Intimate Conversation with Author and Wealth Coach Deborah Owens

Intimate Conversation with Author and Wealth Coach Deborah Owens

Deborah Owens’ passion is helping people of all incomes build wealth. She is a sought after speaker and expert on the topic of entrepreneurship and financial empowerment.

Deborah is the Wealth Coach on My Generation TV which airs nationally in 30 million homes. She is author of “Confident Investing: A Wealth Building Guide For Women” and “Nickel and Dime Your Way to Wealth”. Her new book “A Purse Of Your Own” is scheduled for publication by Simon and Schuster in 2009.

Deborah is host and executive producer of “Wealthy Lifestyle Radio” a personal finance talk show that airs on the NPR affiliate WEAA 88.9 FM in Baltimore, Md.

She is sought after speaker and has toured nationally with B.E.S.T. featuring Bishop T.D. Jakes and Magic Johnson, God’s Leading Ladies, Working Women Events and The NASD Office of Individual Investors. Deborah is President of Owens Media Group LLC, which creates financial empowerment programs for companies and organizations.

• INTRODUCE US TO YOUR BOOK:
A Purse of Your Own is a book that shares how women can create wealth. This books shares the attitudes and behaviors of financially successful women.

• WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
I was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan and have lived in the Baltimore Washington DC metropolitan area for the past 17 years. I have spent more than twenty years in the financial services industry and am a former vice president and regional sales and marketing manager with a global mutual fund company.

• WHY WAS THIS BOOK SO IMPORTANT TO CREATE?
This book is part of my larger vision which is “The Power of the Purse Campaign” to engage, enlighten and equip one million women to become financially empowered. Although women have made great strides and earning more income far too many of us are not achieving financial independence. We must change our mindset from earning income to building wealth. My true passion is sharing that society can build wealth on any income.

• HOW WILL YOUR BOOK IMPACT RELATIONSHIPS?
This book encourages women to make sure they put aside funds for the long term. It will require making their financial future a priority. This is a distinct change in societal norms which encourages women to sacrifice for others. This book implores women to create a purse of their own.

• WHAT WOULD YOU SAY HAS BEEN YOUR MOST SIGNIFICANT ACHIEVEMENT WITH THIS BOOK?
My most significant achievement has been the reviews that the book has garnered and its’ reception by women who are embracing the concept of forming Purse Groups to provide support and accountability on the path to financial freedom.

• SHARE WITH US YOUR LATEST NEWS OR AWARDS:
We have had very favorable book reviews. The first from Publishers Weekly which said, “sensible advice…a plethora of resource listings and sound suggestions make this a winner for women looking to gain financial freedom. Book Page said, Owens turns the purse metaphor into a wealth philosophy and provides tips, action steps and “purseonality profiles” for her seven must-have wealthy habits. It starts with cleaning out that purse to cultivate a Wealthy Outlook that allows you to dream big again. Some of the best advice comes at the end as Owens details how to start your own Purse Club and covers nine “pursessentials.” To that end, we have built a community at http://www.apurseofyourown.ning.com where women can obtain information on how to get started, communicate with one another and get support.

Purchase A Purse of Your Own today at Barnes and Noble
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/A-Purse-of-Your-Own/Deborah-Owens/e/9781416570813

Author: Deborah Owens
Book: A Purse of Your Own
ISBN-10: 1416570810
ISBN-13: 9781416570813
Website: http://www.deborahowens.com

My Page In History

shelia06I cannot explain the thrill of victory that I’m experiencing inside. A new day has arrived and history beyond my finite comprehension has and is being made. President Barack Obama! I’m not calling him President-Elect.

 He is President Barack Obama. Wow, what an amazing feeling. The First African American First Family. To describe the depth of this tremendous day, election, event, and historical moment in time, there are no mere words worthy to say but, Yes God Can.

Yes God Can should ring from hear on out, over every mountaintop, and every valley low. Yes God Can should ring from the hillsides to the hood, from the ghetto to the neighborhood of MTV Cribs. Not only African American children, but all children who have felt that reaching and achieving great things in life isn’t possible – now look at how the impossible just became possible!! To adults, young and old, who have all but given up on accomplishing their dreams, no matter how big or small. If it’s important to you, and it brings positive value to you, then it is worth saying “Yes God Can.”

For me, It’s Yes God Can to our people, to my people to all of those who have dreams but have come up on rough times. Hold on and don’t give up. God desires for His people to live abundant lives. He desires for us to do more than strive, God wants us to thrive.
There are times when life gets hard, the struggles get rough, the dream seems impossible, the way seems like we’ve reached a dead end. But if we place our trust in God, then His word does prevail. I am a living witness of that.

There is a blog I recently read by author, Iris Celeste. I didn’t send her a comment on it at the time because reading it made memories of what happened to me some eleven years ago resurface. It talked about the tragic death of someone she loved. Her story, believe me, is identical to mine. I became dead, lifeless, a zombie with no hope when my fiance was brutally murdered back in 1997. In the year 1999 the words I had posted in a journal came forth and transformed into my first self published book novel titled, Always, Now and Forever, which was released in 2000. That novel, though I wasn’t an experienced writer at the time, renewed me and brought me back to life again. It revealed my true purpose in life. Much like Iris, I realized that I was destined to be a writer. Two years later in 2002 I published a nonfiction book called A Christian’s Perspective -Journey Through Grief which provided further healing for me. I use it now to minister to others. In 2005 I was signed by a traditional publisher and have since published three novels with several more in the works.

I never knew from all of the pain, the heartache, the tears, the downfalls, and the spiritual battles, that I would one day make my own page in history, but God ordained that it would be so. No, I may not end up on the pages of history like the wonderful, oh so eloquent, people oriented, sincere and trustworthy man like our new President Barack Obama, who I am so extremely proud of and grateful to God for. But I have my own pages in history because the words God has placed in my spirit to write in books will never die. Somewhere, after I am long gone from this earth, I know there will be someone who will pick up a novel and the author’s name will be, Shelia E. Lipsey.

Are dreams possible? Yes. Is the impossible attainable? Yes. Can greatness be birthed from adversity? Yes. Go forth now with the sincere belief in your dreams and your purpose in life by remembering, Yes God Can!

Happy Holidays from EDC

 


Happy Holidays!


EDC Creations, The Sankofa Literary Society and The Black Authors Network announced the launch of their 2008-2009 Give the Gift of Knowledge Campaign, bringing readers and authors together to help improve literacy. In 2004, during the Christmas holidays, Ella Curry, the founder of EDC Creations, reached out to women’s groups and literary organizations to help promote early literacy by giving new books to children from low income homes. Today, the “Give the Gift of Knowledge Campaign,” seeks to expand even further by giving the Gift of Knowledge daily!


Based on the “each one teach one model” our goal is to help people introduce reading and new books to their family and friends. Instead of giving expensive gifts that don’t shape lives—-let’s “Give the Gift of Knowledge” and help to strengthen our future generations!


Each year thousands of people — educators, concerned parents, community leaders, authors, poets and publishers — devote their time and resources to presenting the reader with great books! However, too many outstanding books do not get the attention and reader support that they deserve. It is our mission to connect readers with these hidden gems and bring them books that will change their lives.


Each week EDC Creations will sponsor bookclub chats, live readings from authors, podcast presentations, seminars, community relations discussions, and radio shows that deliver the best our writers have to offer. All we ask is that the readers of the world spread the word. Please share this email with 10 people in your network.


 
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EDC Creations has a new eMagazine  that we would like you to check out. This holiday season Give the Gift of Knowledge. Send a love one a book that could change their lives! Enter the special magazine by clicking here.


Give the Gift of Knowledge. Want to make a difference in someone else’s life this holiday season? Donate an a book to a child, senior or your co-workers for the holidays. EDC Creations has brought the best in today’s literature in our new magazine. Explore new book releases, audio book previews, poems, short stories and written interviews with bookclubs and community leaders by following our EDC Creations eMagazine Blog.  Click here to enter magazine



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EDC Creations 2009 Literary Weekends
It is our mission to help new authors gain exposure for their books. In the New Year, we will host weekly workshops and live readings in DC area hotels. Each session will be videotaped by Botts & Associates, there will be a theme for most genres and refreshments will be served. Please follow our blog closely to find out all the details. If you are an author or bookclub in the Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia, and East Coast area, reach out to us to be included in these weekly presentations. Please follow our blog closely to find out all the details.


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Holiday Book Promotions
For the month of November only, EDC Creations is offering full promotions on the main EDC Creations site and the new EDC eMagazine  for $75.00. That’s right, you can advertise on either site, on the page you select for $75.00.


However, there will only be 5 books showcased on the front pages, these are based on first come, first served basis. We are offering our eblast services for $75.00 as well. All EDC Creations advertisements are $75.00 for November. Email Ella to get started promoting your book today: elladcurry@edc-creations.com



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Every Author Needs a Website–A Control Center
MySpace is a good social network for promoting your books. It is not like having your own control center, a virtual office if you will, authors need websites. If you want to appear industry savvy and to be taken seriously in your efforts, you need a place to represent you and your books in style! EDC Creations will start offering free consulations on this subject.


In order to help new authors represent themselves in the best light, EDC Creations will now offer starter websites for $399.00, complete with the bells and whistles. Contact Ella today to start your new year off right! We will only create 5 sites per month. If you would like a new website before the new year arrives, email Ella today.


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The Black Authors Network Talk Show is looking for authors and poets to read Christmas, Kwanzaa and holiday material on the radio show. If you would like to write a short story or poem to be read on air, please email Ella Curry, the producer at: elladcurry@edc-creations.com.  Each night in December 2008, we will host a speaker reading their work live! This is a community celebration, you are all welcome to create something special and give it as a gift to the world. We would also like to host children reading their poems too!


Black Authors Network Talk Show
www.blogtalkradio.com/Black-Author-Network
Meet us at:  8pm-10pm EST  Mon., Wed., and Friday nights
Authors dial-in number:  (646) 200-0402


Chat live with the guests in our chat room during the show
www.blogtalkradio.com/Black-Author-Network



Warmest regards,


Ella Curry, President/CEO EDC Creations
Black Author Network Radio-Founder
Sankofa Literary Society-Founder
A Good Book-Marketing Director
Xpress Yourself Publishing-Publicist
WoMEN-NPower (DC Chapter) Member
EDC Creations is on  The Black Men in America blog!

To everything there is a season(the Bible)

In the book of Ecclesiastes, chapter 3- it states, “There is a time for everything, a time and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build…”
I say now is the time to tear down and rebuild.  During this historic election, it is time we as a nation, as a people under God, as a people who have power and authority, as God’s children, to take a stand for our beliefs.  It is time we stop talking about rocking the vote, but it’s time that we actually do rock the vote!

I can’t and won’t even attempt to tell you who to cast your vote for.  All I ask is that you get up, get out and exercise your rights to vote, to choose, to decide, to help make a change.  We cannot continue to live, or ever think to thrive rather than merely survive if we don’t do something to stop the madness of the last eight years.  I know that there are some of you who say that your vote doesn’t count or that the presidential election is not decided by the people but instead by the electoral college.  Excuses, excuses, excuses.  God doee not want us to be slothful in anything.  In all things we should be who He has called us to be.  That means that He has blessed each of us with talents, with gifts with power and a sound mind.  We must not rest on our laurels. 
I proudly announce my support of Barack Obama as President of the United States. Is it because Barack has skin like mine that I’m voting for him?  YES that’s one reason.  Is it because Barack Obama stands for change?  YES that’s another reason.  Is it because Barack seems to identify with people of all classes, races, socioeconomic status and religion?  YES that’s still another reason.  Is it because Barack and Michelle look like the perfect couple who supports one another?  YES, that’s a reason for me too.  Is it because he is a Harvard Graduate, a Community Organizer, a people person, a man of many colors, races, and one who has had to wear many hats?  An Astounding YES.  Is it because he is a man who exemplifies what it means to be a true leader?  Oh Yes, Yes, and Yes again.
There may be some who read this blog and disagree with my choice for president of the United States.  That’s fine.  That’s the beauty of living in a world such as this.  That’s the reason it is of utmost importance for you, and you, and you, and me to go to the polls whether it’s raining, sleeting or snowing.  Whether the sun is shining or the clouds are hanging low that day.  Go to the polls whether your stomach aches or your head hurts.  Go, be obediet to the law of the land – Vote.  One person CAN change the world.  My Jesus Christ did it.  Now go forth and make a difference in the world.

Award winning NY Times Bestselling Author
Shelia E Lipsey
www.shelialipey.com
http://twitter.com/shelialipsey

October is an important Awareness Month

The month October touches on two very important issues. October is Domestic Violence Awareness and also National Breast Cancer Awareness. Domestic Violence is represented by the purple ribbon and Breast Cancer is represented by the pink ribbon. Are you or someone you loved affected by either?

 

Breast Cancer

2.3 million women in the United States are living with a breast cancer diagnosis. It’s a scary thing. Anyone regardless of age or race can be affected. It’s important to have regular annual checkouts and more if you have a relative or family member who’s been affected by breast Cancer. Early detective is so important.

 

Reach out to your family and friends for support and get the facts. Surround yourself by people who love you and reach out to cancer survivors.  

 

RESOURCES:
National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
www.nbcam.org

 

American Cancer Society
Resource Link:
http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/content/CRI_2_6x_National_Breast_Cancer_Awareness_Month.asp 


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Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence shouldn’t happen to anyone. Don’t settle and never feel you are not worthy of a violence-free environment. Domestic violence goes undetected behind closed doors way too often. Usually the woman or man is embarrassed that it is taken place, they are scared, and they believe or at least hope everything will get better. 

 

Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime.”

Nearly one-third of American women (31 percent) report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives.”

 

Both statistics were taken from http://endabuse.org/resources/facts/

 

Know that you have options and there are support groups. Don’t allow yourself and your children to continue to live in an unsafe environment. You are worthy of a better life – we all are.

 

RESOURCES:

Domestic Violence

http://www.domesticviolence.org/

 

The National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-7233 (Call within any 50 states. Help is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year)
http://www.ndvh.org/

 

Article written by Author, Writer and Poet.
Tinisha Nicole Johnson
Visit the author at her site to learn more:
www.TinishaNicoleJohnson.com

The Super Women of the World by Tinisha Nicole Johnson


Many have several thoughts on Sarah Palin. I personally admire the woman for a few reasons. She’s married with five children, the youngest of which is challenged, but yet is able to maintain a high profile career. She’s also family focused with a good head on her shoulder, and could possibly be this country’s next Vice President.

 

However, I do want to note that there are a lot of hard working women holding down the family, some single and some married or in a relationship. So I definitely want to give due credit to ALL the women in this country who are confident, working mothers, and still have to take care of the family, and still cook and clean and help the kids with their homework.

 

Women should be celebrated in this country. They are truly Super Women. And I do not like the media or whomever questioned her capabilities on how she’s taking care of her kids. Women do what we have to do. And we certainly can’t allow other people’s opinion, the media, naysayers or critics stop us. Okay, enough on that, that sort of hit me personally, but I don’t want to go on a rampage.

 

Nevertheless, I do on the other hand think John McCain picked Sarah Palin primarily because she’s a women. I also think he wanted to make history on the Republican side, as Barrack Obama has on the Democratic side. He wanted to gain more attention to himself, because he was envy of all the attention Obama has been getting. It’s evident in his commercials when he kept calling Obama a celebrity. That wasn’t negative at all. In fact, it had me thinking, “Wow, Obama’s a celebrity?”

 

Back to Palin. From what I’ve researched on my own so far, I believe Sarah Palin is very much so a business woman with Executive experience, but I can’t help but to wonder if she was the all around top choice for a VP pick. Now Hillary Clinton – definitely yes, but then again, she’s not a Republican and that’s a different story altogether. But the reason I say this is because when she’s quoted making statements like, “I’ve been so focused on state government. I haven’t really focused much on the war in Iraq,” that makes me wonder. She was quoted saying this March 2007 when Alaska Business Monthly interviewed her. Read the entire interview: http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-30645076_ITM If she wasn’t focused then, I assume she better get focused, if she is the next VP.

 

In conclusion, women in this country have come such a long way. However, by Sarah Palin becoming the first VP Republican nominee, it still shows there is improvement on women advancing in this world.  But regardless who wins the presidential race, although I know who I’m voting for, I hope women’s opportunity for advancement continues, and I hope there will be vast progression and improvement within healthcare, the current economic state, and the high price of gas.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Tinisha Nicole Johnson is an author, writer and a poet. She resides in Denver, Colorado with her husband and two children. She also hosts political telconferences. Learn more about the author at her website: www.tinishanicolejohnson.com Tinisha Nicole Johnson

Author, Writer and Poet
http://www.tinishanicolejohnson.com

Writing for the World to Read – Forever!

Sinful revelations only a loving God can make right!

My Son's Wife -Sinful revelations only a loving God can make right!

The world of writing is opening doors that have never been opened.  I am one who has been blessed to walk through the literary door and claim my place on the podium alongside literary giants.  I see myself as a giant in a huge world where there are tens of thousands of people who wear the label ‘author.’  Yet, it is not a competitive spirit that I have when I hear this or read the statistics about new writers releasing books every day.  Instead, I know that no one can write quite like me.  Just as the word of God says, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”  I am a unique creation and there is no one in all the rest of humanity that is like me.  Therefore, the words that God gives me to place from pen to paper are unique.  My story can only be written by me.  Knowing that I am one of a kind and uniquely created gives me a sebse of greatness and gratefulness. I am humble yet I boldly step forward with the best of the best and claim my space. A space in time that only God can give, and only God himself can ever take away. I am thankful by the very fact that God chose me to write and tell stories that pour out from Him, through my spirit and then the finished product is printed for all the world to read!  I sit among the best of the literary divas.  I fulfill a purpose that no one else can fulfill. I stand toe to toe with Morrison, Angelou, Sheldon and Cooper, MacMillan and Harris. I believe that there is a calling on my life to write, to speak, to share, to reach, to tell and to spread the words in the form of books.  A book never dies.  Though our human body decays, books, like our souls, live on. Somewhere, long after I have shed this earthly shell, my words will resonate in someone’s life. And even now, today, and on into our tomorrow, while I still wear this human shell, someone, somewhere will be moved, touched and enticed to read my books. I know it in my spirit. I have the calm assurance from the one and only one I believe is sovereign. Though bookstores and publishers say the shelf life of a new book is basically 3 months before it fades out and new  books take its place, I thank God that I have read books that are hundreds of years old.  One day, I believe that someone, somewhere will pick up one or more of my novels.  They will read stories perfectly written and executed about imperfect people like me and you, and you, and you.  They will find hope, acceptance, joy, peace.  They will find that God truly is love and that crooked paths can be made straight again.  One day, I believe that someone, somewhere will pick up a book by Shelia E. Lipsey and the answers to problems and situations in life will be answered.  One day the world will see and read.  New dimensions and being reached in the world of reading.  A new path is being paved.  A new road is being laid.  And I am totally grateful to God for choosing me as one of his servants to carry out His purpose.

www.shelialipsey.com
shelialipsey@yahoo.com
lipseyshelia@yahoo.com
http://www.myspace.com/shelialipsey
MY SON’S WIFE AVAILABLE WHEREVER BOOKS ARE SOLD – OCTOBER 1, 2008 (CLICK BOOK COVER TO PREORDER)

Walt’s Latest Inductee to the Princess Franchise

 Growing up in the pre-Disney video era, I never had much fascination with Mickey Mouse, his crew or his creator. In fact, I had practically missed the Mickey frenzy until I moved to the West coast. In the meantime, I was more interested in my dolls. I had at least eight Barbie dolls a few that looked like me and most that did not. It took time to amass my Barbie collection, the first one appropriately titled, ‘My First Barbie’.  She wore a yellow bathing suit with blue trim. I was seven when she became my favorite playmate.  Three years later, I received my first black Barbie. She was a Day to Night Barbie. During the day, she wore corporate attire, but her clothes could be reversed to make her presentable for an evening at the theatre.  She was the first and only Barbie I named. I called her Valine and she quickly replaced the My First Barbie as my favorite. Not only was she beautiful but she looked like someone I could grow up to be.

 

  This is what Walt Disney has deprived little black girls of for decades. Finally deciding to rectify this deliberate oversight, or seeing an opportunity to pad their pockets with a segment of the population that is steadily growing more and more middle class, Disney will release its first princess movie featuring an African American girl in the most desirable role to be bestowed on an animated character. She will be Princess Tiana. While many of the details are unclear, her story will be told within the 1920’s jazz era of New Orleans. There has been buzz of her being a chambermaid, but those speaking out against it have sent Walt’s crew back to the drawing board. Confusion also existed over the nationality of her prince, as the little information that has leaked out suggests, he will not be African American. At first, he was to be Caucasian, however, the most recent reports state he will be Middle Eastern. The tale will not run short of the snobby rich white debutante and the rich white mogul. There was even talk of a black male villain, but that’s up for revision too. Beyond that, Disney is being quite tight-lipped, probably in an attempt to give the skeptics as little ammo as possible.

 

 In a society of political correctness, Disney has received a lot of negative attention, at least within the African American community. Many wonder why it has taken Disney so long to release an animated movie with black leads who were not villains or animals. One important possibility exists in the fact that minorities do support non-ethnic media while most of the Caucasian market does not. It all comes down to availability. With plentiful media aimed at Caucasian dollars, very little reason exists for Whites to crossover to the ethnic market. On the other side, with significantly less or in some cases no options in the ethnic market, minorities had no choice but to support what was mainstream.

 

  While they could not know the release of the movie might find our country months into the first African American presidency, the timing could not be better. Although the release of the movie entitled “The Princess and the Frog” is set for late 2009, the project was announced in late 2006 putting the search for Princess Tiana’s voice in full swing. Disney granted the honor to Anika Noni Rose, supposedly beating out the likes of Tyra Banks, Jennifer Hudson, and Alicia Keyes. Rose has such movie projects to her credit as Dream Girls and Just Add Water.

 

    With their Asian Mulan, and Middle Eastern Jasmine, the company’s attempts at inclusion have still fell short until now. Many will stand in wait to judge how Walt’s crew will pull off this long overdue addition to the Disney Princess Sorority, knowing that this is about more than just a movie. If handled like the princess inductees before her, Princess Tiana will become a franchise unto herself, with the possibility of dolls, video games and other toys. With critics picking apart the very few details that have been released, Disney will have to scrutinize every decision regarding this film.

 

  Though many question the validity of animated characters as childhood role models, none can deny the extent to which animated movies influence children. They generally teach life lessons and encourage kids to dream. Additionally, they provide them with their own viewing material, when not much else is suitable.

 

  Regardless of the details surrounding why little black girls are finally getting their Disney princess, this is a great opportunity to change the associations of black versus white and good versus evil. Black girls will have the opportunity to look at the movie screen and think, “That could be me.”  

 

A Black Nation’s Hope and Promise on His Shoulders

As one talented African American man makes history in winning the Democratic nomination, so does another in the realm of African American activism.

 

On Saturday, June 7th, 2008, 35-year-old Benjamin Todd Jealous became the youngest person elected president of the 99-year old activist organization, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People also referred to as the NAACP. Jealous is one of the few elected to this high-ranking position without the having a professional background in politics or the ministry.

 

Having started his activism at the age of 14 with his participation in a voter registration drive, Jealous, a California native, earned a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and a master’s in social policy from Oxford University. Professionally, Jealous continued to support black activism through his role as a community organizer for the NAACP,  and an executive director for the National Newspaper Publishers Association, which boasts to be the country’s largest community of black newspapers. Most recently, Jealous was president of the Rosenberg Foundation, an institution in the private sector supporting human rights and civil rights advocacy.

 

As the NAACP nears its centennial, it chose a new direction to regain its fading financial support. It is their hope that Jealous is the answer to many young black critics who accuse the organization of not recognizing the current challenges of young black supporters. With this new appointment, many hope the new leadership will address issues facing younger African Americans that emerged since desegregation. 

 

Just like Obama’s presidential nomination suggests a promise of new hope and fresh ideas, so does the appointment of Benjamin Todd Jealous as President of the NAACP. Both men have a lot to live up to but they each possess the passion and the intelligence to make it happen.

 

Sources:

http://www.blacknews.com/news/naacp_ben_jealous101.shtml

http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/05/17/naacp.president/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/17/AR2008051702320.html

 

Multiculturalism: It is Not Just Black and White

Following a dream is not always easy, but for the courageous, it is a necessity. Pursuing a dream often requires paring down the extraneous details and focusing on the root of the desired result. Such was the case with WNBA star Becky Hammon, a girl from South Dakota with dreams of playing basketball on the U.S. Olympic team. A blonde-haired person with a beautiful smile and a strong belief in God, Hammon set out to make her dreams come true. She played ball throughout high school and college resulting in many honors. She played for the WNBA New York Liberty and most recently the San Antonio Silver Stars. 

 

After eight years of professional play, at the age of 31, Hammon knew her chance to realize her childhood dream was dwindling. When she found herself absent from the 23 names listed on the National Olympic team pool, Hammon responded when Russia called. She signed a contract to play with team CSKA Moscow with the chance to go to the Olympics. After signing that contract and becoming a naturalized Russian citizen, Hammon will play on the Olympic basketball team for Russia.  

 

Some view this as a betrayal of our country, citing that Hammon has no Russian ancestry and no other ties to Russia, therefore having no legitimate reason for making this decision. However, Hammon contends that her pride in America is unwavering and no matter whose jersey she wears, she will always be an American. It is through this choice that Hammon will live out her dream and possibly change the perceptions Americans and Russians have of each other.  

 

Sometimes the path to our dreams does not present themselves in the way that we expect. As a result, it becomes necessary to see beyond the norm in order to realize our dreams. 

 

While not generally the type of multicultural story I write, it spoke to me on the same level. Thanks to the Internet and the global economy, the pursuit of our dreams and personal acceptance is not limited to the country in which we live. Regardless of our backgrounds, we are people. True multiculturalism is more than just race; it is religion, ancestry, orientation, generational and gender.  

 

In order to have a true multicultural platform, we must explore it all. That exploration brings us a step closer to understanding the world’s people.

Similarities For Convenience

Being an information junkie, I constantly search for interesting news stories both online and off. This morning I came across an article comparing and contrasting the first ladies of the presidential nominees. The article painted a rich picture of both Cindy McCain and Michelle Obama, for their style and grace. It attempted balanced reporting by mentioning Michele’s criticism of her husband and her country on the democratic side, while revealing Cindy’s battle with addiction and her reluctance toward full financial disclosure.
Despite being a Arizona resident, I began reading this article knowing very little background about Cindy. This fact could be due to the relentless campaign for the democratic nomination, or it could be the result of Cindy McCain’s aptitude for being the quiet doting wife of a presidential candidate. Certainly, having a wife who is heir to a wealthy beer distributorship would not bolster John McCain’s campaign, especially during our current economic times.
It wasn’t until I read the second half of the article that my writer fury erupted. The context was in reference to the infamous statement Michele Obama made about having pride in her country for the first time. The article reported Cindy’s rebuttal which suggested her staunch unwavering pride in her country.
Pride stems from actions and experience. If you’ve done nothing, then you have nothing to be proud of. If you have not created positive opportunities and experiences despite the obstacles then again you have nothing to be proud of.
Being part of the African American community and being female, I can understand why Michele may not have always been proud of her country. If I were a rich member of society’s majority, I might not ever recall a time I lacked pride for my country. However, any human being who has witnessed prejudice and oppression or even recognizes it as part of American history cannot truly proclaim ever-existing pride in the actions and experiences in which this country participates.

Is Cindy proud of the Iraq war and the lies that caused it?
Is Cindy proud of racially motivated brutality that still happens in America today?

It’s interesting how we can put race aside when it suits our argument. The article made sure to inform us that Cindy is a rich, blond, blue-eyed Rodeo queen who knows when to speak and when to keep quiet. I would have had more respect if Cindy could have sympathized with Michele’s comment since not everyone’s American experience is Cindy’s rich privileged experience. I don’t want a meek first lady who can’t recognize experiences different from her own.

Patriotism is more complicated than being proud or not being proud of your country. Pride is a barometer that adjusts with each act and experience. American patriotism exists in recognizing the flaws and taking action to make a difference, thus creating a country everyone can be proud of regardless of their past experiences.

Resource:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080610/pl_nm/usa_politics_wives_dc 

Rejection Applies To Only One Opportunity

Mamie \"Peanut\" JohnsonOften rejection seems to be the final answer. In reality, it is just a temporary response. Such was the case in the baseball career of Mamie “Peanut” Johnson. Born in the mid-1930’s South, Johnson developed a love for baseball that prejudice could not extinguish.

At the age of 17, Mamie confronted the obstacles to playing the sport she loved at a time when professional and minor league sports practiced segregation. Since the White Female Baseball League declined Johnson the chance to try out and no Black female equivalent existed, Mamie found her place in the men’s Negro Baseball League. This being the first time Johnson experienced racial ignorance directly, she fondly looks back on its outcome instead of dwelling on the experience itself. She was quoted in an article honoring her contribution to baseball and South Carolina’s Black history, ” If I had played with white girls, I would have been just another player, but now I am somebody who has done something that no other woman has done.”

Johnson’s career lasted from 1953 to 1955, as one of three women who played in the Negro League. She won 33 games and only lost eight. “Peanut” became her nickname when an opponent doubted her pitching abilities because she “…was no bigger than a peanut”. She swiftly struck him out. While her playtime took place shortly after Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier, Peanut’s career quickly evaporated as females regardless of race were not included in major league play.

Mamie went on to earn a nursing degree from NYU and embarked on a 30-year career of helping others at their weakest. Although her baseball career may have ended after only three short years, Peanut Johnson maintained her link to America’s favorite pastime by managing the Negro Baseball League Memorabilia Shop in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

Even though Peanut played ball in an era that did not appreciate her talent on a large scale due to her race and her gender, on June 5th, 2008, Mamie “Peanut” Johnson joined 29 surviving members of the Negro Baseball League in Orlando, Florida where several Major League Baseball teams drafted the former players in an honorary pre-draft ceremony.

Thanks to Dave Winfield and others who respect and appreciate the Negro League’s contribution, rejection was temporary and acceptance is eternal.

Sources:

http://www.minorleaguenews.com/mlnkids/articles2003/072403.html

http://www.scafricanamericanhistory.com/currenthonoree.asp?month=6&year=2001

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1164167

http://www.nlbpa.com/johnson_mamie.html

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=ti-winfield060408&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

2008 Prom Pictures-Are You Laughing or Crying

Here’s my opinion. We (parents and the adult society) accepted the rules of those who didn’t have or never had children years ago. Today we are reaping what we’ve sown. I by all means do not agree that we all fit into this category but enough of us do. Bear with my thought. There was a time when schools held account to everything that went on with our children in school including attendance and discipline. Yes, there were cases of abuse reported and for that we allowed the court system to make the rules that governed not only discipline in the schools but in the home, the church and just about everywhere. Children are literally hands off. Today due to years of this type ruling there are no rules for them to abide to. They say anything, wear anything, and do anything to everyone. The parents can’t control them in the homes, they don’t control them in the school and we don’t let them and church is a fairy tale in the homes where there is more fear of the system then fear of losing the child.<br style=”display:none”/><br />
You might ask yourself what am I saying. When we as parents neglect to monitor our children in the home we assist in the failure of their growth and productivity. This is what these prom pictures present. What parent monitored them in the home? I knew what my daughter’s gown was going to look like. I paid for it so of course I knew what was being made. When we as parents don’t monitor them in the schools we assist in the failure of their growth and productivity. When we go to the school and threaten to beat, cuss, and abuse the very people that are hired to educate and monitor our children. Threaten them with violence. The same violence our children display. Why would we expect them to stop them from wearing the gowns or outfits we let them leave from home in. We want everyone else to be responsible for the children we are the parents of. As a teacher why should they look out for our children when we neglect to look out for them. Yes they look like they’re going to a pimp’s ball. What do they look up to in the video’s? What are the women wearing, how are the men treating them, and what do they see in the movies, the streets and in some of their homes.<br style=”display:none”/><br />

You reap what you sow!!!! What’s your comment?

Nanette M. Buchanan
Author, Family Secrets….Lies & Alibi’s

Celebrate Beautiful Black Men: PassionScape by Hazel Mills

Wondering why I’m a little late posting for June? Okay, I’ll tell you. With all that is going on in the world of politics, I have been on edge because whatever the outcome, groundbreaking history was inevitable with the possibility of either a woman or a African American man as the Democratic Nominee for the 2008 Presidential Election.

 

After what was a sometimes heated race, Senator Barack Obama triumphed as the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party. On Tuesday night, I shed a tear as I reflected on the wealth of pride our ancestors must feel as they enjoy the view from heaven. I wondered what Harriett Tudman or Malcolm X would say if they were asked to share their thoughts on this great milestone. When I learned that Senator Obama is slated to accept the nomination for President of the United States on August 28, forty-five years to the day after our most notable Civil Rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and delivered what is perhaps the most famous speech in American History, I couldn’t have been more proud.

PassionScape is usually dedicated to romance and erotica but it is also about the passions that fuel our everyday lives. During the month of June, we will celebrate Father’s Day. In light of the enormity of recent events, I will spend the month celebrating all Black men. Not only will I uplift and celebrate my own husband, father and sons but I will also contemplate the entrepreneurial spirit of the brother hustling on the corner, trying to make ends meet for his family or the young man imprisoned and discarded by society for a crime he may or may not have committed.

Will you join me? How will you celebrate Black men this month? Who will you pay tribute to?

I want to hear from you. Feel free to share your thoughts and comments on the coming election and on our beautiful Black men.

 

Hazel Mills, author

Bare Necessities: Sensuous Tales of Passion

www.hazelmillsstories.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Someone Called Him “Nigga”

Someone called him “Nigga”, they yelled it from the door.

His grandmother heard it in her bedroom, the pet name ripped her to the core.

“Hold up”, he yelled from the window, “Need to tell Grams, I leaving.”

He approached his grandmother quietly, tears were flowing, he thought she was grieving.

“Gram, are you okay?  What has upset you so?”

She looked in her grandson’s face only hoping he could see their souls.

The souls of the heritage she knew, her raising was from the deep south,

The souls that would cringe from the pain they suffered from the whips and chains, as the Masta’s spit the name “Nigga'” from their mouths.

“Gram, why are you crying so?  Are you hurt, what can I get for you?”

The souls that took it all, in spite of it all, those who stood tall so you can do what you do.

“Gram, nod your head please speak to me, tell me what you need.”

The words of her grandson hit her heart he was a part of their seed.

She patted her face with her tattered dress, calming herself to speak.

He waited patiently, as the name “Nigga, yo Nigga” was spoken as tough it was a beat.

His grandmother shook her head and wept again, her grandsons feelings were touched.

The love his grandmother had for him had been destroyed in one word, her teachings crushed.

She taught him from the time he was able to walk he was the descendant of warriors and kings.

If he answered to the call of “Nigga” or “boy” what did her teachings mean.

She taught him that although his father and uncles were not what they were deemed to be.

God would see her in the grave before she would let the streets take  another from the family tree.

“Nigga you comin’ or what? What you want me to do”

Her grandson spoke ever so softly, “Gram you know I love you.”

“Go head man and don’t yell no more……by the way my name is Raheem.”

He returned to his grandmother and opened his arms.

“Gram, tell me more about those kings.”

The Development of Political Controversy

 

 During an election year, a potential candidate’s perceived flaws and strengths are put on display for all to see. The public scrutiny is not limited to the candidate alone, but is broadened to include the people closest to the contenders. It reinforces the meaning of the old proverb, “Birds of a Feather Flock Together.”

 

 Throughout this long election campaign, many are interested in the types of birds that flock with our candidates. Hilary is constantly haunted by the professional and personal misdeeds of her husband, former President Bill Clinton, while Barack was called to justify his friendship and respect for militant preacher Jeremiah Wright until that very friendship was fractured under the pressure.

 

 The search for controversy has no statute of limitations as even the bachelor’s thesis of Michelle Obama, which examines the changing attitudes of middle and upper class blacks in Ivy League white academia toward lower class blacks and the black community during various stages of academic attendance, was a target for ridicule and judgment. Understanding the political climate and the inevitable existence of dirt digging and mud slinging, Michelle attempted to reduce the potential impact of her racial research from 23 years ago. It is not unreasonable to investigate to whom the presidential candidates are coupled and Michelle knew her words could have an impact on her husband’s campaign. It is an example of another old saying, “you are  judged by the company you keep”. As a result, it has been reported that she requested her thesis be removed from the Princeton library until after the election in November 2008.

 

 In a respected move, the Obama campaign quickly released the thesis upon request of media outlets. Some judged this act as Obama’s attempt to capitalize on the the controversy surrounding the dated words of his wife, the very words she was trying to keep private for the benefit of his campaign.   

 

 Upon reading her thesis firsthand, I had trouble detecting the controversy. It became apparent that the point of contention rested in what the thesis might say instead of what it actually said, which explains why the Obama campaign released it. The speculation is always worse than the reality. Once it was made available, some of the silliest remarks were made regarding its validity and its ability to convey Michelle’s findings. I read comments like, “well there are no white history classes” and “that thesis was full of grammatical errors”.  I found humor in these meaningless judgments. My first thought was, there’s no white history classes because nearly all history is white history. It makes sense that at a predominantly white academic institution of the 1980s the majority of classes, clubs, and activities would spotlight white culture, placing all other cultures in the dark.

 

 What Michelle’s thesis really focused on is the attitudes of middle class and upper middle class blacks toward the black community and the white community prior to, during and after attending a predominantly white affluent Ivy League institution like Princeton. The sample was compiled of 400 names of black Princeton alumni collected by choosing every fourth name in a list of 1200 obtained from Princeton’s Alumni office. A survey of 18 questions yielded a 22% response rate or 89 respondents, which consisted of 60% males and 40% females. Ms. Obama delved into the lifestyles and the perceptions of these undergraduate alumni, considering their dating and religious practices, their friendships, as well as their comfort level with whites and other blacks. Their economic and educational backgrounds prior to admission to Princeton was also considered. She wanted to discover the following:

·  Attitudes of black undergraduate alumni and the intentions between blacks and whites.

·  The Ivy League Black’s feeling of obligation to help lower class blacks

·  Interaction with white students on campus

·  How experience at Princeton changed personal values

·  How the obligation to give back to the black community was affected by social practices while attending Princeton 

 Her research revealed that a black alumni’s loyalty to the black community had a lot to do with whether integration and assimilation took place while attending Princeton. Those from lower class families and neighborhoods felt more comfortable with other blacks and were more likely to participate in separatism, thereby not interacting with whites by choice. As far as giving back to the black community, Michelle determined that benefiting a given group had a lot to do with the time invested in getting to know that group. Those who integrated and assimilated into white culture were more likely to give back to the community of whites and blacks as a whole rather than focus on black society specifically.

Other theories such as the need to band together within the black culture before integrating into white society were discussed. In the introduction, Michelle wrote about her experience as being on the fringes of Princeton academic society but not being welcomed to embrace it. 

This study analyzed the affects of the white upper middle class academic experience on blacks and how that experience shaped their evolving views of black culture, the black community and their obligation to contribute to that facet of society during various stages of the academic experience. In the end, Ms. Obama had to derive several new hypothesis models that spoke to the general social climate between blacks and whites which were in effect regardless of economic class.

Finally, social research studies such as this are designed to encourage analysis of society, it’s effectiveness and one’s place in the evolving entity that is our environment. As with any research study, Ms. Obama posed a question that spoke to her own experiences and curiosities while attending a upper middle class Ivy League school as a black woman in the 1980’s and determined based on the responses that her hypothesis had to be adjusted as the outcome was not solely based on each person’s social history or economic status. In fact, Michele Obama’s thesis and the social scrutiny of the presidential candidates demonstrates how a person’s character and value go beyond those in their current inner circle by taking into account their past and present social environments.

Cultural loyalty is affected by the overall social climate of the period. Much is the same in our current political climate, as each candidate’s potential to successfully carry the presidency must be analyzed by their intelligence, a commitment to their values and their ability to convey and personify a sincere message of hope for all those involved both within the United States and around the world.

 ___________________________________

Reference:

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0208/8642.html

http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/02/23/michelle-obamas-princeton-thesis-reveals-doubts-about-her-own-integration/

 

 

The Education of the Negro

        

 

 This month marks the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. The recognition of this dark event in history is remembered amidst a series of potential political firsts. Both sides speak to the transformation King’s fight has created which brings us to this juncture. Only Rev. King had the foresight to believe that Blacks, Whites, men, women, young and old would be working toward a common good. In today’s political climate each category previously mentioned is represented in three candidates: Barrack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain.

 

  Each of these candidates speaks to the influences of MLK and Ronald Reagan. Although political and social activism was marked by the assassinations of JFK, Malcolm X, and Medgar Evans, not until MLK was gunned down and much later when The Gipper lost his senses, have we looked to resurrect a leader to carry on those values. Undeniably, every legacy is sustained in how it is remembered.

 

  Reagan is remembered for his tough stance on drugs and his conservative political theory. While MLK is remembered for his utopian view of society’s future where we as a people would be respected for our differences and united by our longer list of similarities.

 

  Getting there requires the honest education of society and all of its members, not a candy-coated education that makes history easier to swallow, but an unbiased history reflecting every participant’s strengths and weaknesses.

 

 I can recall the uneasiness in the eyes of my Caucasian high school social studies teacher when he spotted the Autobiography of Malcolm X on my desk. Or later, the curiosity of my Caucasian coworkers during a lunch break when I pulled out a book entitled Martin, Malcolm & America: A Dream or a Nightmare which compared and contrasted the doctrines of Dr. King and Malcolm X. Education is so powerful, that a search to educate oneself about his or her own culture and the contributions from members of that culture raises the eyebrow of the collective majority. Shouldn’t the minority just accept what is said about them and their culture by the white majority?

 

  If so, what this amounts to is a lot of rosy colored reflections about history and about some of our most respected leaders. It is easier to remember MLK for his eloquent speeches and his nonviolent protests. It’s interesting how the most referenced words of Dr. King come from his “I Have Dream” and his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speeches. Little reference is made about the disappointment MLK felt toward America for its involvement in the Vietnam War as expressed in his “Beyond Vietnam” speech. King’s nonviolent stance was not restricted to the black community’s response to racial oppression. King recognized the hypocrisy of fighting oppression and violence with more oppression and violence. No disappointment could exist where there was not once pride.

 

  King’s legacy, much like history, should not be picked apart and misquoted to suit the purpose for the moment. To carry on the vision is to understand the whole man behind that vision. Not doing so is to leave very little hope in sustaining a successor for the cause. Who would dare take the charge of the demigod we have created. One that is selfless and without flaws. No one could succeed by that standard. The history of one and his contributions must be remembered in its entirety in order to do the most good. 

 

The Big Bad Editor

  Who’s afraid of the big bad editor? Every writer with the dream of having their stories read by the masses must first play joker to royalty’s throne. In this case, royalty is the elusive editors and agents we try to impress with our ideas.

  Earlier this month I attended a local writers’ conference, where I sat in luncheons, dinners and mixers with published and wanna-be published writers. In that creative crowd lurked the editors and agents from popular publishing houses and literary agencies looking to discover the next literary money-maker.

  Having already sold my first work, Mismatched, I only had a rough outline and pitch for my next novel. Much advice was given that weekend. Tips such as:

  -Don’t stalk your dream editor or agent during the conference.

  – Don’t waste their time if you don’t have a finished work to pitch.

  – Don’t corner them in the restroom with a copy of your manuscript.

  -Don’t be nervous even though these demi-gods hold the future of your literary career in their grasp.

  – Do expect editors and agents to find any reason to say no, because they are busy people.

  – Do your research and be professional.

  While I admit, I did hold fast to most of these rules, I must note that this list is not all inclusive of the rhetoric that was flowing that weekend.

  I half-heartily prepared my pitch  while I watched other writers fret over their upcoming appointments. Since it was my first conference, I attended workshops and just set out to enjoy the experience. I went to an editor/agent panel where I was finally able to put an editor’s name with her face. It was another hour of writer do’s and don’ts in prep for the upcoming appointments.

  After another series of workshops it was time for lunch, where the nearly 250 attendees were seated according to their interests in various genres. 

  I joined the table for Women’s Fiction which only had two seats left and began to stuff myself with resort quality food. Once my plate was clean, I turned my chair around to listen to the keynote speaker, romance novelist Carly Phillips. A short time later, I felt a presence fill the seat next to me. It was one of the editors, not just any editor, but the editor I was to meet later in the day.

  I sat back and watched the other table mates bombard her with questions while her lunch just sat there barely eaten. I waited while the lady who sat on the other side of the editor went on and on about how smart she was for drinking from a reusable water bottle instead of the disposable water bottle I was using. I wasn’t sure if that was the most marketable trait for a writer, I let her babble without interruption. When it was time for her to leave, I was the last one sitting with the editor. Instead of bowling her over with the premise of my story I asked her questions about herself. Then I informed her that I had an appointment with her later but for that moment I would leave her to finish  her lunch in peace. She seemed surprised and grateful for the chance at a little solitude.

  At a writers’ conference, it is the editors, agents and renowned published authors who are the celebrities, because they are where we dream to be or they are the ticket to get us there .

  Having the opportunity to practice my networking skills and chat with the editor ahead of time really took the edge off when it was time for my appointment.

  Twenty minutes before, I fine-tuned my pitch and watched while the others studied their notes and paced. When it was time, we entered the meeting room which was set-up like a speed-dating session.

  I had ten minutes to sell my idea and find out what the editor was looking for. I talked so fast, I had time left and that gave the editor a chance to ask questions. We had a good exchange and by the time the bell signaled that the appointment was over, I had  a request for a sample.

  Later that night, I found out many who had appointments received valuable feedback and/or requests for writing samples. The proof of how successful these appointments were will be in how many actually follow-up and send the requests and how many of those will be offered a publishing contract if any.

  The one thing I’ve learned in this experience that can be useful in any endeavor is the importance of increasing the opportunities that support your dreams.

  In the end, it’s not one single shot that can make or break your dreams, but the culmination of chances and how we use them that help us transform our dreams into reality.

C&B Books Distribution

C&B BOOKS, was started in 1995, by Carol Rogers & Brenda Piper.The motivation behind this book business, was the lack of affordable books written by black authors.  We decided to become an asset to our Youth and the African American community in a whole.  We offer our books for less then the major stores, we knew this would provide our readers with a wider variety of reading material. We have, titles for all ages in all catagories, fiction, non-fiction, spiritual, inspirational, educational etc.

www.cbbooksdistribution.com

is sponsoring the 4th Annual

Starting in just three years after its launch, C&B Books Distribution has developed a well anticipated event in its Annual Book Fair. This year they proudly present the Fourth Annual Book & Health Fair which promises to be better than ever.

 C&B Books Distribution

THE JAMAICA MARKET’S
HARVEST ROOM
90-40 160th. Street Jamaica NY 11432
August 30, 2008 12 Noon – 7 PM


C&B Books Distribution
Web:
www.cbbooksdistribution.com
Email:cbbookdist@aol.com


Web:
www.queensbookfair.com
Email: queensbookfair@aol.com

“Each One Teach One”

Monica Carter Tagore: ‘Hope’ Press Release

Knowledge Wealth Series
P. O. Box 52482, Shreveport, LA 71135; (318) 364-8413

Contact: A. Tagore
(318) 364-8413
a@knowledgewealthseries.com

monicactagoretiny.jpg      March 28, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

‘Hope’, ‘change’ have impact beyond presidential stump speeches
Author gives strategies for Americans to deal with their own personal woes

SHREVEPORT, LA – “Hope” and “change” dominate the campaign trail these days, as candidates debate whether the words are about substance or just show, but these are actually two important words that are essential for this country’s growth as well as the growth of individuals and families, said author Monica Carter Tagore.

 “‘Hope’ and ‘change’ may be bandied about quite a bit thanks to this campaign season, but these words are actually key to any progress we are to make – whether on a national or global level, or on an individual level,” said Tagore, newspaper columnist and author of Zoom Power: Your Key to Hitting Your Personal, Business and Financial Targets. “And right now, a lot of people desperately need hope, if their lives are to see any real change.”
 Tagore points to a worsening of family finances, rising foreclosure rate and a high divorce rate as social elements that can be affected to some degree by hope. “If more people had hope, we’d not be in the state we are.”

Many people give up on their circumstances because they see no possibility they can become better. Hope, though, Tagore said, inspires people to find ways to change their own circumstances, rather than wait for others to do it.

“Many of these people suffer more than necessary because they truly do not have any hope that things will get better. But when we can help them see the possibilities of change, then we can inspire them to make strides to create those changes. Those strides can include seeking better jobs, completing their education, launching businesses – anything to change the status quo.”

  Presidential candidate Barack Obama has given new prominence to the words “hope” and “change,” and has inspired millions of people across the country to participate in the political process, some for the first time. “Obama has touched on something that is essential to the progress of the human condition, and that is ‘hope.'”

 Many skeptics discount the importance of hope, or decry its efficacy beyond a first blush of optimism, but Tagore said those who discount hope miss the point. “Hope isn’t about an unreasoned, naïve guess that things could somehow be different,” she said. “Instead, hope is about seeing the possibility of an opportunity – and then moving to take the opportunity.”

 It is the taking of the opportunity that creates the change, Tagore said. “Hope is our first glimpse that things can be different. Change is the manifestation of our belief. What happens between hope and change is our action, and that is essential.”

 Tagore helps people turn hopes into goals and goals into plans, in her book, Zoom Power: Your Key to Hitting Your Personal, Business and Financial Targets. She said it’s not that most people do not want a better life; it’s that they do not know how to create that better life.

 Hope is the number one ingredient to success – no matter how large or small the task. It also is the start of changing the lives of millions of Americans. “From first helping people to see hope in their situations, we can then help people educate themselves about the means they can take to make the changes they dream of making.”
 
 Tagore gives five ways individuals can take hope beyond rhetoric to make it a part of real change in their lives:

1. Examine the benefit of making the change you now see possible.
2.  Seek information to help you move toward realizing the hope-inspired goal.
3. Seek allies who can help you accomplish your goal.
4. Work on your own deficiencies – things you see as weaknesses — that stand between you and your goal.
5. Put into place a plan to use the information, allies and resources to create the change you seek.

To interview Monica Carter Tagore, call (318) 364-8413 or e-mail a@knowledgewealthseries.com.

For more information on her work or her book, visit www.knowledgewealthseries.com.

###

Perception of Image: The LeBron James Controversy

The interpretation of images is as varied as the people exposed to them. Perception of an image’s intent is often based on the individual’s experience and the analysis of that experience. I came face to face with this notion this week while watching the morning news. The newscaster’s teaser implored me to “stay tuned” to find out why many in the media and African American society were upset with the basketball star, LeBron James.
Certainly I was intrigued as I could not imagine where this scenario was headed. After the newsbreak, the April 2008 cover of Vogue magazine was splashed on the screen. LeBron James and supermodel Gisele Bundchen were front and center. Gisele was long and shapely in a green evening gown, while LeBron was wearing a blue sleeve-less athletic shirt and matching warm-up shorts. The supermodel had a look of sheer glee while LeBron, who was dribbling a basketball and palming Gisele’s waist, displayed a powerful snarl. Opponents of the cover argued that the image perpetuated the stereotype of aggressive and dangerous black manhood. Many likened it’s symbolism to the 1930’s King Kong, where a huge black ape grips a fair maiden in one hand while growling and swatting at her would-be rescuers.
Admittedly an ape, or more specifically King Kong, was one of the first thoughts that crossed my mind when I saw this cover. However, I was not offended. I marveled at how striking LeBron looked. In addition, there was something sexy about that image. After years of all the oppressive images of black people in general, I never want to see a black man in a position of subordination. Being a long-time spectator of basketball, I am well aware of the raw facial expressions these athletes make while driving to the hoop. To me, LeBron’s expression was nothing more than that. I was far more impressed by the image of power and aggression he displayed. When looking at this cover, it is LeBron who grabs your attention. Gisele is a mere after thought; a beautiful after thought, but an after thought nonetheless.
Opponents argue that there were many other shots Vogue could have used for its cover, many fine shots which are displayed inside the magazine. However, if one of those shots would have been used, would we all be discussing this issue? The cover’s image also took away from another surprising fact. LeBron James is the first African American man to grace Vogue’s cover after over 90 years in circulation. While Sean “Puffy” Combs and Naomi Campbell appeared on UK’s Vogue in October of 2001, I could not find an instance of an African American man appearing on the cover of the U.S. version. Over the decades the covers ranged from abstract art often with only objects depicted to tarot card-like images to silly carefree snapshots and finally to glam-goddesses in every branch of the media/entertainment arena.
There is an underlying objection to April’s cover that has less to do with the pose LeBron chose and more to do with what Gisele and LeBron represent together. Many on both sides of the racial coin are still uncomfortable with seeing a white woman and a black man together. Unlike the damsel in King Kong, Gisele looks elated with her partner, not terrified despite LeBron’s exaggerated snarl. Some feel it plays to the myths about the dangerous criminal minded black man and his desire to possess the white man’s woman. Interestingly enough the contrast between Gisele’s fair skin and LeBron’s ebony beauty was evident throughout many of the other pictures as well. Pictures of Gisele’s curvy five foot eleven frame dressed in white and LeBron’s towering six foot nine inch body dressed in black on the inside pages of the magazine played up their biggest differences. The contrast would have been more interesting if LeBron had been wearing white and Gisele the dark garb. Maybe the images would have then played upon the integration and perceived intimacy instead of drawing stark differences.
Once I was able to look past the controversy of the ape stance and the interracial coupling, I became more intrigued as to why LeBron was the first African American male to be immortalized on Vogue’s cover in the first place. Nothing against LeBron, but certainly there were more debonair African American men that would have kept with Vogue’s fabulous fashion image. Names like Denzel Washington, Muhammad Ali, and Michael Jordan come to mind.
This issue not only demonstrated our continuing struggle with cultural image and interracial intimacy, it also speaks to the conflict of gender identity. Gisele and LeBron are no doubt excellent representatives of their gender but does a woman always want to be depicted as a possession and the man as predator?
Vogue has brought to light many conflicting ideals with a simple picture. Isn’t that what we expect from art?
References:

http://www.usatoday.com/life/people/2008-03-24-vogue-controversy_N.htm
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/678805/vogues_lebron_james_cover_evokes_negative.html
http://www.nationalcenter.org/P21PR-LeBron_James_Gisele_Bundchen032808.html
http://canadianpress.google.com/article/ALeqM5gWaMDbRUCgZF2-v1DAiHnJ-lrdig

Transcript of Obama’s March 2008 speech

Transcript of Obama’s speech

What are your thoughts on this speech? Share with us how this makes you feel.

The following is a transcript of Sen. Barack Obama’s speech, as provided by Obama’s campaign.

We the people, in order to form a more perfect union.
Sen. Barack Obama has said the controversy over his ex-pastor’s remarks has been “a distraction” to the campaign.

Two hundred and twenty one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America’s improbable experiment in democracy.
Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their declaration of independence at a Philadelphia convention that lasted through the spring of 1787.

The document they produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nation’s original sin of slavery, a question that divided the colonies and brought the convention to a stalemate until the founders chose to allow the slave trade to continue for at least 20 more years, and to leave any final resolution to future generations.

Of course, the answer to the slavery question was already embedded within our Constitution — a Constitution that had at its very core the ideal of equal citizenship under the law; a Constitution that promised its people liberty, and justice, and a union that could be and should be perfected over time.

And yet words on a parchment would not be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights and obligations as citizens of the United States.

What would be needed were Americans in successive generations who were willing to do their part — through protests and struggle, on the streets and in the courts, through a civil war and civil disobedience and always at great risk — to narrow that gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time.

This was one of the tasks we set forth at the beginning of this campaign — to continue the long march of those who came before us, a march for a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America.

I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together — unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction — towards a better future for our children and our grandchildren.

This belief comes from my unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the American people. But it also comes from my own American story.

I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton’s Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas.

I’ve gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world’s poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners — an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters.

I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.

It’s a story that hasn’t made me the most conventional candidate. But it is a story that has seared into my genetic makeup the idea that this nation is more than the sum of its parts — that out of many, we are truly one.

Throughout the first year of this campaign, against all predictions to the contrary, we saw how hungry the American people were for this message of unity.

Despite the temptation to view my candidacy through a purely racial lens, we won commanding victories in states with some of the whitest populations in the country. In South Carolina, where the Confederate Flag still flies, we built a powerful coalition of African-Americans and white Americans.

This is not to say that race has not been an issue in the campaign. At various stages in the campaign, some commentators have deemed me either “too black” or “not black enough.”

We saw racial tensions bubble to the surface during the week before the South Carolina primary. The press has scoured every exit poll for the latest evidence of racial polarization, not just in terms of white and black, but black and brown as well.
And yet, it has only been in the last couple of weeks that the discussion of race in this campaign has taken a particularly divisive turn.
On one end of the spectrum, we’ve heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action, that it’s based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap.

On the other end, we’ve heard my former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation — that rightly offend white and black alike.

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Rev.Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain.

Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered ontroversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely — just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.

But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren’t simply controversial. They weren’t simply a religious leader’s effort to speak out against perceived injustice.

Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country — a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America, a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the
perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.

As such, Rev. Wright’s comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems — two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are
neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.

Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Rev. Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church?

And I confess that if all that I knew of Rev. Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and YouTube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way.

But the truth is, that isn’t all that I know of the man. The man I met more than 20 years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor.

He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine, who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God’s work here on Earth — by housing the homeless,ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

In my first book, “Dreams From My Father,” I described the experience of my first service at Trinity:”People began to shout, to rise from their seats and clap and cry out,
a forceful wind carrying the reverend’s voice up into the rafters….And in that single note — hope! — I heard something else; at the foot of that cross, inside the thousands of churches across the city, I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the
stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lion’s den, Ezekiel’s field of dry bones.

“Those stories — of survival, and freedom, and hope — became our story, my story; the blood that had spilled was our blood, the tears our tears; until this black church, on this bright day, seemed once more a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world.

“Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black; in chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a means to reclaim memories that we didn’t need to feel shame about…memories that all people might study and cherish — and with which we could start to rebuild.”

That has been my experience at Trinity. Like other predominantly black churches across the country, Trinity embodies the black community in its entirety — the doctor and the welfare mom, the model student and the former gang-banger.

Like other black churches, Trinity’s services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor. They are full of dancing, clapping,screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear.

The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes,the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up the black experience in America.

And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Rev. Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children.

Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions — the good and the bad — of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother — a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.

Some will see this as an attempt to justify or excuse comments that are simply inexcusable. I can assure you it is not. I suppose the politically safe thing would be to move on from this episode and just hope that it fades into the woodwork.

We can dismiss Rev. Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated racial bias.

But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. We would be making the same mistake that Rev. Wright made in his offending sermons about America — to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality.

The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we’ve never really worked through — a part of our union that we have yet to perfect.

And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American.

Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point. As William Faulkner once wrote, “The past isn’t dead and buried. In fact, it isn’t even past.” We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country.

But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist in the African-American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.

Segregated schools were, and are, inferior schools; we still haven’t fixed them, fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, and the inferior education they provided, then and now, helps explain the pervasive achievement gap between today’s black and white students.

Legalized discrimination — where blacks were prevented, often through violence, from owning property, or loans were not granted to African-American business owners, or black homeowners could not access FHA mortgages, or blacks were excluded from unions, or the police force, or fire departments — meant that black families could not amass
any meaningful wealth to bequeath to future generations.

That history helps explain the wealth and income gap between black and white, and the concentrated pockets of poverty that persists in so many of today’s urban and rural communities.

A lack of economic opportunity among black men, and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for one’s family, contributed to the erosion of black families — a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened.

And the lack of basic services in so many urban black neighborhoods — parks for kids to play in, police walking the beat, regular garbage pick-up and building code enforcement — all helped create a cycle of violence, blight and neglect that continue to haunt us.

This is the reality in which Rev. Wright and other African-Americans of his generation grew up. They came of age in the late fifties and early sixties, a time when segregation was still the law of the land and opportunity was systematically constricted.

What’s remarkable is not how many failed in the face of discrimination, but rather how many men and women overcame the odds; how many were able to make a way out of no way for those like me who would come after them.

But for all those who scratched and clawed their way to get a piece of the American Dream, there were many who didn’t make it — those who were ultimately defeated, in one way or another, by discrimination.

That legacy of defeat was passed on to future generations –those young men and, increasingly, young women who we see standing on street corners or languishing in our prisons, without hope or prospects for the future. Even for those blacks who did make it, questions of race, and racism, continue to define their worldview in fundamental ways.

For the men and women of Rev. Wright’s generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years.

That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table. At times, that anger is exploited by politicians, to gin up votes along racial lines, or to make up for a politician’s own failings.

And occasionally it finds voice in the church on Sunday morning, in the pulpit and in the pews. The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Rev. Wright’s sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning.

That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change.

But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.

In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community.

Most working- and middle-class white Americans don’t feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race.

Their experience is the immigrant experience — as far as they’re concerned, no one’s handed them anything, they’ve built it from scratch. They’ve worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime oflabor.

They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense.

So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African-American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they’re told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced,
resentment builds over time.

Like the anger within the black community, these resentments aren’t always expressed in polite company. But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation.

Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends. Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere
political correctness or reverse racism.

Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle-class squeeze — a corporate culture rife with inside dealing,questionable accounting practices and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that
favor the few over the many.

And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns — this too widens the racial divide, and blocks
the path to understanding.

This is where we are right now. It’s a racial stalemate we’ve been stuck in for years. Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naive as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy — particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.

But I have asserted a firm conviction — a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people — that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice if we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.

For the African-American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past. It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life.

But it also means binding our particular grievances — for better health care, and better schools, and better jobs — to the larger aspirations of all Americans, the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man whose been laid off, the immigrant trying to feed his family.

And it means taking full responsibility for own lives — by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their
own destiny.

Ironically, this quintessentially American — and yes, conservative — notion of self-help found frequent expression in Rev. Wright’s sermons.

But what my former pastor too often failed to understand is that embarking on a program of self-help also requires a belief that society can change.

The profound mistake of Rev. Wright’s sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It’s that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country — a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black, Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old — is still
irrevocably bound to a tragic past.

But what we know — what we have seen — is that America can change. That is the true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope — the audacity to hope — for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination — and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past — are real and must be addressed.

Not just with words, but with deeds — by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations.

It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper.

In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more, and nothing less,than what all the world’s great religions demand — that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us be our brother’s keeper, Scripture tells us. Let us be our sister’s keeper. Let us find
that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well.

For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle — as we did in the O.J. trial — or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina — or as fodder for the nightly
news.

We can play Rev. Wright’s sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words.

We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she’s playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

We can do that.

But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we’ll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, “Not this time.” This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children.

This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can’t learn; that those kids who don’t look like us are somebody else’s problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st Century economy. Not this time.

This time we want to talk about how the lines in the emergency room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care, who don’t have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.

This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region,every walk of life.

This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn’t look like you might take your job; it’s that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.

This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag.

We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should’ve been authorized and never should’ve been waged, and we want to talk about how we’ll show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.

I would not be running for president if I didn’t believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country. This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected.

And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation –the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election.

There is one story in particularly that I’d like to leave you with today — a story I told when I had the great honor of speaking on Dr.King’s birthday at his home church, Ebenezer Baptist, in Atlanta.

There is a young, 23-year-old white woman named Ashley Baia who organized for our campaign in Florence, South Carolina. She had been working to organize a mostly African-American community since the beginning of this campaign, and one day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there.

And Ashley said that when she was 9 years old, her mother got cancer. And because she had to miss days of work, she was let go and lost her health care. They had to file for bankruptcy, and that’s when Ashley decided that she had to do something to help her mom.

She knew that food was one of their most expensive costs, and so Ashley convinced her mother that what she really liked and really wanted to eat more than anything else was mustard and relish sandwiches. Because that was the cheapest way to eat.

She did this for a year until her mom got better, and she told everyone at the roundtable that the reason she joined our campaign was so that she could help the millions of other children in the country who want and need to help their parents, too.

Now Ashley might have made a different choice. Perhaps somebody told her along the way that the source of her mother’s problems were blacks who were on welfare and too lazy to work, or Hispanics who were coming into the country illegally. But she didn’t. She sought out allies in
her fight against injustice.

Anyway, Ashley finishes her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why they’re supporting the campaign. They all have different stories and reasons. Many bring up a specific issue. And finally they come to this elderly black man who’s been sitting there quietly the entire time.

And Ashley asks him why he’s there. And he does not bring up a specific issue. He does not say health care or the economy. He does not say education or the war. He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama. He simply says to everyone in the room, “I am here because of Ashley.”

“I’m here because of Ashley.” By itself, that single moment of recognition between that young white girl and that old black man is not enough. It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children.

But it is where we start. It is where our union grows stronger. And as so many generations have come to realize over the course of the two-hundred and twenty one years since a band of patriots signed that document in Philadelphia, that is where the perfection begins.

E-mail to a friend.

Minnie E Miller
The Rebel With Causes & Author

Wake up America

Draft Wake up America—The Game is now Dirty Politics! Even though I have always voted in all the state and national elections, I slept through the political process of elections. I discovered I was not alone and there are many who are still in the dream state.  It is not until this presidential election that I woke up. I credit my new awareness of politics to my daughter. We had many political discussions about the presidential campaign. Then I read Senator Obama’s books and listened to several of his speeches. They all resonated with my own sentiments about America and a time for change.   As Senator Obama often says, the change is about changing mindsets. I am a firm believer that if you change your consciousness, you change your life. The old paradigm of polarity, wars, and inequities that held us bondage is being dug up and tossed out by a young Senator with a purpose to change how we think about ourselves as individuals and as part of the human race. He is changing the consciousness of not only America but other countries as they too are closely following our electoral process and the speeches of Senator Obama calling for compassion, acceptance, equity, and unity for everyone.As a neophyte in politics, I am learning how dirty politics can be or I should say how dirty the Clinton campaign can be. Just before the Ohio and Texas primaries, Senator Clinton threw the kitchen sink and the garbage disposal at Senator Obama. Her campaigned lied and distorted the facts about his campaign’s involved with the Canadians and NAFTA* in order to win the Ohio and Texas primaries. They used a commercial ad that put fear in the minds and hearts of Americans. Just think how this played out overseas? You might say this is part of that dirty politics.  But why would we want someone who lies, cheats and do character assassinations to be commander-in-chief? Do you really think Senator Hillary Clinton would change once she is in the White House? She cares more about winning then about a better quality of life for Americans and others. I do not want a candidate that fights so dirty she forgets the basic principle of honoring one another.  Imagine what this person would do as commander-in-chief.  She would misuse power the same way her husband did when he stepped over the line and got involved with a young intern then lied about it.  We can’t allow this to happen. Together we can change the political system of America to unite all people by getting involved.  We can even forgive the Clintons!If you are not an Obama supporter, I urge you to take the time and find out about Senator Barack Obama. I strongly recommend that you read or listen to the audio version of his autobiography, Dreams From my Father.  You can also go to his website—www.BarackObama.com and read about his polices.  Become a supporter for truth, life and liberty. You can talk up Senator Barack Obama. Have conversations with your family, friends and co-workers. Send emails, write blogs, and donate your time and money.  The Clinton campaign has demonstrated that they twist and distort the truth.  They will continue to use these negative tactics. And oftentimes, the media will spin the negative. We can do a lot at the grass root level by dispelling these false accusations by the Clintons. As in the Matrix, we can take the red pill and wake up in our beds and live the same way we have for centuries or we can take the blue pill and become an awakener to truth and change for progress.     

 *You can read the truth about NAFTA at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lecia-shorter/clintons-nafta-attack-ag_b_89973.html

http://www.jjmichael.org

Interview with JJ Michael by Afrika Midnight Asha Abney

What is your name?

J.J. Michael

 Tell me something about yourself:  

I have a B.A. from Howard University and MLS from the University of Maryland. I worked as Head of the twenty-six branches of District of Columbia Library for a number of years. Now, I am an author of two contemporary spirituality/Christian fiction titles: Life is Never as Its Seems (2005) and It’s Not Over Yet (2007) published by Genesis Press. I am also an intuitive numerologist. I can actually look at a person’s name and birth date and tell you many things about their personality and destiny. This gift has allowed me to help many individual in their spiritual growth through my writing.

 What is your profession? 

I am a full time writer, intuitive numerologist, and Chios Master Teacher and Healer.

 What are your goals for your writing career? 

I am writing the third book in the Lindy Lee trilogy. I also write metaphysical non-fiction books. I self-published through iUniverse.com in 2000, Path to Truth: a Spiritual Guide to Higher Consciousness. This book provides an awareness and understanding of the seven spiritual laws and mysteries of the universe and how these teachings are applicable in today’s world. Readers can download the ebook version of Path to Truth at www.jjmichael.org. I also plan to do another ebook on the Law of Mind.

 Who are some of your favorite authors? 

I do a lot of research and read a lot of non-fiction books. Some of my favorite authors in this category are Gregg Braden, Elizabeth Gilbert, Drunvalo Melchizedek, the Oracle, and Osho. My favorite fiction writers are Bebe Moore Campbell, Sidney Shelton, Octavia Butler, Dan Brown, Francis Ray, Walter Mosley, Tananarive Due and James Patterson.

 How long have you been writing? 

I always wanted to be a writer. I remember writing my first story at the age of nine and sending it off to publishing houses. As I read books such as the Celestine Prophecy and the Alchemist, I knew that I wanted to write book that promote conscious awakening and spiritual empowerment. As I mentioned, I self-published my first book in 2000. However, I did technical writing for my job.

 What are some of your favorite books?

I love the Da Vinci Code, Celestine Prophecy, the Alchemist, The Truth, Eat, Pray, Love, Living Blood, and Parable of the Sower.

  What genre do you like reading the most?

 I love reading metaphysical, spirituality, religious, science fiction, and contemporary fiction.

 Tell us something about your most recent book?What inspired you to write your most recent book? 

My first fiction book, Life is Never as It Seems, tells the story of a young woman, Lindy Lee, coming of age in 1967, as she transforms through the complexities of love, spirituality and religion. The free-standing sequel, It’s Not Over Yet, (July 2007), takes place in the late seventies and Lindy Lee must choose either her family and their traditional religious beliefs or her new spiritual beliefs and the man she loves.

 What inspired you to write your most recent book?

Life is Never as It Seems ends in a cliff-hanger. I received lots of mail from my readers wanting to know what happens to the characters in the book. Of course, I couldn’t leave my readings hanging out there!

 After readers have read your book, what do you want them to walk away with?

Most of my readers have told me that even though my books are fiction, they find themselves underlining much of the information dealing with metaphysics. I want to promote self growth and self-realization.

 Who published your most recent book? What was it like working with them? 

Genesis-Press published by two fiction books and they are releasing Life is Never as It Seems in mass market paperback in March 2008. I have learned a great deal from both self-publishing and traditional publishing.

 Do you have a specific target audience for your most recent book? 

My books are for everyone. Since my first book, I do have people who follow my writing.

 Who designed your cover? 

Chris Ester (www.dibolmi.com) the artist for Genesis Press.

 Is there any advice that you can offer for new or emerging authors? 

Yes, write, write and write. Believe in yourself and your writing. Learn everything you can about the publishing and writing fields.

 Do you have any projects that you are working on? 

I am still promoting my books and as I previously mentioned, I am writing the third book in the series and a non-fiction book.

 Where can the readers find more about you and your work or projects? 

The readers can go to my website: www.jjmichael.org or visit me on myspace.com/jj_michael_author. They can sign up for my newsletter on either website.

 Where can interested prospective readers purchase your books? 

They can purchase them at all major bookstores, Genesis-Press, Karibu Bookstores, and online at Amazon.com, B&N. com. They can also download my ebook, Path to Truth, at http://www.jjmichael.org

Thank you and many blessings to you and your readers.

 

www.authorsden.com/afrikamaabney

www.jjmichael.org

www.pathtotruth.com

www.authorsden.com/jjmichael

Obama Ain’t Black Enough: Rhonica’s Notebook:By Rhonica Wesley

I was just casually scanning the internet for info on the 2008 campaign, when I ran across an article that said Barack Obama was not black enough. Of course I was shocked and at the same time thinking here we go again. Honestly the man did not choose his nationality, could they be speaking of that? Perhaps they meant his mannerism. I scanned around some more and saw “Obama white power with a black face.” That’s just horrible. Instead of shooting this man down we should admire what he is doing. instead we are finding fault in him early because he does not wear gators in different colors and have a press-n-curl. In this article that I read It said that other blacks who had run such as, the Revernd Al Sharpton were Black enough  Ok so by now you know that i’m not only laughing I’m really confused.

Don’t get me wrong Al sharpton Is great… when it’s time to march when such events occur like “Jena 6.” He has a way of getting things done, but do we really want him in the white house?  Running a country has a lot more to do with than color or mannerism. One false move from our leader and the world could end in a heart beat. being president is not a job to be taken lightly and given to someone who we think will be for “us”. Wake up, we can’t even control our neighborhoods just yet. To me both Mr. Obama and his wife don’t deserve the slandering. We as blacks have instilled in ourselves so long what is black and what is white until we forget that every one is different. You mean to tell me just because I speak correctly and may every once and a while enjoy classical music that I am not black enough. So i’m guessing these same people who are saying that Obama is not black enough will vote for Hilary Clinton.  Remember this, just because her husband was great in office does not mean she will do things like he did.

Half of us do not vote anymore anyways. We keep saying “Child I need to go to the courthouse and vote.” but we never make it. Then when things start to happen we want to get mad at work and start snapping at customers and co-workers. Martin Luther King went through a lot for us to be able to vote, and we don’t even do so. I think that it is sad that the generation before us had to fight and get fought just for us to have the privileges we have, and we don’t even use them.

Persoanally I wouldn’t care If mickey mouse got the job… just keep Bush and his drunken twins out.  Anyone who makes up words like recordify…does not need to be running a country, or for that fact a corner store.

*The humor in this article is just what it is humor…we know how some people like to burn peoples cds because they said something about BUSH… burn my books if you want it will only draw attention to me…..this is in no way a publicity stunt *smirk*

EDC Creations Literary News and Events

Please visit our archives to hear all the recordings from our 29-day Black History Month event. We want to celebrate Black History 365 days a year! Download and share with your community. Please leave your comments after listening.

Changing the face of our community through leadership

bspicbw.jpgUlysses “Butch” Slaughter is a cultural critic, lecturer and human development consultant with more than two decades of service focused on stabilizing Black communities. Born and raised on Chicago’s South Side, Butch Slaughter developed a passionate concern for Black families and Black children very early in life. Devastated at age 12 by the murder of his mother through the hands of his father, Mr. Slaughter traveled a long and difficult philosophical and psychological road toward resolution. Ultimately, he came to view his own salvation as inextricably linked to his service in the Black community.

A high school graduate of Chicago’s Quigley Seminary South, Mr. Slaughter pondered a future as a Catholic priest. Intrigued by existential theories and fate\free will concepts, he spent considerable time reflecting on the death of his mother and the role of a supreme being in the interactions of humankind. As fate would dictate, Mr. Slaughter would soon be introduced to the words of Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, Bobby Wright and Amos Wilson. More than religious doctrine alone, Slaughter now had more relevant context for his concerns, hopes and contributions.

Mr. Slaughter’s contribution to humankind is manifest through his dedication to developing innovative, sustainable social solutions to challenges facing the Black communities he serves.

In 1993, as a journalist and public affairs specialist with the United States Navy, Mr. Slaughter co-directed development of the National African-American Club, a non-profit social and civic organization committed to bridging the gap between Black military members and the communities they serve. It was and is his firm belief that Black military members must make serving and protecting Black communities the uncompromising priority.

Subsequent to separation from the Navy in 1995, Mr. Slaughter opted to remain in Philadelphia where he immersed himself in youth development projects focused on introducing Black youth to journalism and media. Among his major projects was the development of the non-profit agency Groundwork, a youth-focused media campaign dedicated to providing youth with a public platform for addressing social and political issues. In more than three years of operation, Groundwork served more than 250 youth ages 10 to 22.

A graduate of Lincoln University’s Master of Human Services Program, Butch Slaughter is creating and implementing innovative ideas in the interest of Beyond prescribing distant analysis of social specializing in youth whose analysis has film producer and a native of Chicago, Ill. In addition to his work as an adjunct professor, Butch has consulted for numerous youth-serving agencies and founded two Black non-profit agencies. He is a graduate of Chicago’s Quigley Seminary South, a veteran of the United States Navy and a graduate of Lincoln University’s Masters of Human Service Program. Butch is also the past publisher of Perspective Magazine in Chester, PA. producer and director of the documentary “A Chester Story” and author of the book “A nigga tragedy.” Excerpts from Butch’s work can be found www.dienigga.com.

In a recent interview with Mr. Slaughter, here is what he had to say about his most recent novel, what’s upcoming for him in the literary market and some issues as they relate to our community and our youths.

whyourchildrenhateus.jpg

 

DG: Butch, you have co-written a novel titled, Why Our Children Hate Us which discloses facts and issues pertaining to our youth and how they view adults and how black adults are betraying our black children. Can you explain why this title was chosen?

 

BS: I chose this title name because I sincerely believe Black children hate Black life as framed by Black adults. This hate I came to clearly recognize after years of intense interaction with Black children in various socialization environments including schools, churches and juvenile detention settings. While the upper administration of these facilities is usually composed of white males and females, the functionary staff is normally made up of Black men and women. The Black functionaries enforce the will (often ill will) – of the administration on the children and the children strongly resent this reality. For all intents and purposes, children see Black adults as older children in the scheme of racial politics. This compromises any respect Black adults think they should automatically receive just because they are adults. Children hate the idea that Black adults can’t change the reality and have decided that since they can’t beat the white establishment, they may as well join it.

DG: I read your book and you touched on some strong subjects, one in particular that caught my attention was “Our Lost Harvest.” You gave some great examples and pulled a verse from Toni Morrison‘s book, “Bluest Eyes.” Can you explain the paradigm between soil and seeds and how good soil and bad soil relate to our children from this view point?

 

BS: This is one of the sections written by co-author Eric Grimes. I, too, love this narrative. Essentially, what he is saying here is that through our love we brought our children – our fruit – into the world only to hand it over to a diabolical social structure. This speaks volumes about our historical disconnect as manifest through chattel slavery. In the absence of a “race first” – we first – social paradigm we continue to lose our harvest in public schools, prisons and even religious settings. Our soil, our spiritual foundation is dry and therefore our children are deficient and dying.

DG: I was also intrigued by these two stories in your book, The Sun Rises and The Sun Sets. What prompted these two stories?

BS: These two pieces are grounded in the social theater I’ve seen many times, nearly every day for years. I think anyone who takes the time to watch the daily death march of our children toward “school” will see this unfolding madness. It’s as if when the sun rises, our children are set on automatic zombie mode and obliged to pay homage to shrines of destruction. We act as if our children are actually on their way to get an education; they aren’t. They are being used and we are allowing this to happen.

The Sun Sets is based on true stories I’ve learned about a willingness of parents to prostitute their children. Parents will send their little girls on the streets to pawn their bodies as early as nine years old. Parents will send their little boys on the block to pass nickel bags as early as seven. I’ve seen it. Every day, the sun rises on our children’s demise and sets on their demise as well.

DG: Explain if you will, why our children hate us?

 

BS: Our children hate us because they know Black adults are wrong and willfully wrong. They have us because we have no courage or concern to change the world for them. They hate us because we think America is all there is. They know life should be better, not just for a few of them, but for all of them. As I said earlier, Black adults are like children themselves compared to White folks. And we have yet to be honest enough to admit it and brave enough to do something about it. We don’t deserve their love.

DG:. What is your next book title and what are some of the projects you are currently working on?

BS: I just released advanced copies of a book I call Dear Daddy, I hate you: letters to my mother’s killer. When I was 12 years old, my father killed my mother outside my bedroom door. My little brother and I had to step over her body to get out of the apartment. This book chronicles recent conversations I had with my father and letters I wrote to him in an attempt to free myself of three decades of frustration and pain. The theme of hate is very important to me obviously. Hate is not the opposite of love and does not have to be self destructive. Quite frankly anything you say about hate you can say about love. Most people would agree that love can be destructive. Is it then love when it becomes self-destructive? This is an important book for me because so many Blacks have suffered an arrested development of great proportions and have yet to grow up and be accountable. I think we must individually and collectively go back and retrieve that which will clarify where we should be going as a people. We must learn to hate those things that have acted to destroy us. Only then will we learn how to love ourselves and our children.

 

DG: Thank you Mr. Slaughter for sharing some conceptive and relatively informative facts on issues that matter. I hope your work will reach many and as well that your words will sink deep into the hearts of many. The future of our youth is something we should all be concerned about. Much success to you in the release of your next novel. I look forward to reading more from you.

 

 

 

Can Hiip Hop Be Holy?

A few weeks ago I spoke with Saideh Brown, author of “Can Hip Hop Be Holy?

Much to my surprise she was emphatic about the fact that Hip Hop can never be considered holy. It must be said that Saideh Brown came from a Hip Hop background. Not only did she make a career out of Hip Hop, but she is a native of New York which is where Hip Hop was born.

In my research for this particular show, I learned alot about what Hip Hop is and what it isn’t. Contrary to what I first believed, it is not a genre of music. Instead it is a cultural movement that was started by Afrika Bambaataa. It was his response to the ills of society that plagued African Americans that lived in poverty in the city of New York. It was merely an afterthought that rap, (a musical genre), became associated with the movement.

The Hip Hop movenent lifted up pimps, prostitutes, and drug dealers, as the people to whom one must aspire to become. Hip-Hop has changed the very appearance of its followers by creating a look, a way of governing yourself, and a language that should be spoken.

Now this movement is beginning to pop up in church services all over the country. The belief is that you can still walk the walk , talk the talk, and dress the dress of a Hip Hopper and still be holy.

The question that many in the church are asking is, “Where’s the change? Isn’t it when people see the change in others, that they see that change is possible for them?

The Bible says, “If any man be in Christ he is a new creature.” Why try to redeem something that was birthed out of lack, poverty, rebellion, and ethnocentricity? Why not allow God to gift you supernaturally to deal with the spirit in the youth that is pulling them to Hip-hop in the first place?

Should we allow a man that looks thugged-out, and gangstered-up, to get up and validate the Hip-hop lifestyle in church? Many of our youth cannot get decent jobs or even finish school because they refuse to change their look for our society. They want to look gangster and thugged-out like the Hip-hop artists they see, but those artists are paid for looking like that, and our kids can’t get ahead looking like them. And now, there are Christian versions of these thugs and gangsters? Shouldn’t we reach out to them with an example of how the power of God changes a person rather than how your insides can change, but it does not affect the outside?

Do effective youth ministries really need gimmicks? Are we diminishing, watering down, altering, and apologizing for the Words of God when we try to include Holy Hip Hop in today’s church? Are we saying that the church needs to become worldly in order to attract the attention of today’s youth?

Or is the opposite true? Is this really a viable way to reach our youth? Is it okay as long as we quote scripture and tell the good news?

I realize that this is probably one of the first unchurched generations. We need to find ways to reach them and bring them to the body of Christ. It is the hypocrisy that exists in some churches that has turned many of them away, but is Holy Hip Hop a viable solution? Some would argur that God would want us to be all things for all men.

What do you think?

Is it self defense or excessive force when you kill someone breaking into your neighbors home?

by: Cheryl Lacey Donovan
Joe Horn, a 61 year old caucasian resident of Pasadena, Texas, killed what he perceived to be two African American males that were breaking into his neighbors’ home.IT turneed out that the suspects were Columbian.
The problem, he was on the phone with 911 at the time. The dispatcher told him to stay away from the crime scene. The dispatcher repeatedly warned Mr. Horn to stay inside. Horn told the dispatcher that he was going to kill the two would be thieves and all of this was caught on tape.

Now, there are some who would have us believe that he was acting in self defense, even though there was no sign of any weapons and the suspects were shot in the back. There was also no indication that Mr. Horn or his property was in immediate danger.

Self defense or excessive force, what do you think?

The Dream Lives On! – Read Between the Sheets

HE HAD A DREAM
LIVE YOURS!

 

martin_luther_king_upperI have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today!