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!

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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. 

 

Word Choice

Being a writer and a lover of words, I was presented with another example of the importance of word choice. If you have ever used a thesaurus, you know that there are many different ways to communicate the same message. I am a little embarrassed to say that I did not pick up on poor word choice used in a story a fellow co-worker was relaying to me.
Still being a part of corporate world, I was invited to attend a spring training event between the Angels and the Colorado Rockies. Although baseball is not really that interesting to me, I took advantage of the opportunity to socialize with my co-workers and play hooky from work for the afternoon. My co-worker who is a 28 year old Caucasian (his mother is a quarter Hispanic), homosexual was sharing with me how my recent accomplishment of getting a book published had inspired him to consider starting a memoir of his own. He’s certified to teach three languages, plus he has lived and travelled overseas.
He was sharing with me some of his traveling experiences, including the absurd sense of entitlement many American exhibit when traveling abroad. We arrived at the topic regarding cultural diversity and he explained how he was in Utah during the month of February. He was well aware that February is Black History Month, however, he was appalled to witness it being referenced as Black Awareness month by a local Utah news station. I didn’t catch what he meant at first, until he explained, that we acknowledge Breast Cancer Awareness Month or AIDS Awareness month but not Black Awareness Month. I instantly saw the light. Those other awareness months focus on disease. Their purpose is to shed light on and education society about the affliction in the hope to save lives and spark preventative action.
Being Black is not a disease, although it may sometimes cause dis-ease to others. The month of February isn’t about being aware of Black people. It is about recognizing and appreciating our numerous contributions to society as a collective people. This gentleman was so insulted, he went as far as sending an email to the station to make them aware of their error. He did receive a reply, but the respondent did not comprehend the point my co-worker was trying to make. When he sent a follow-up email to more explicitly address the issue, no further acknowledgement was given.
Let’s look at the word “aware” more carefully. Aware is defined by thefreedictionary.com as follows:
1. Having knowledge or cognizance 2. Archaic Vigilant; watchful

It is defined at Merriam-Webster.com as:
1: archaic : watchful, wary 2: having or showing realization, perception, or knowledge
To be aware of Blacks during the month of February is definitely not the connotation we wish to have associated with accomplishments and contributions we’ve made to society. Black History exists to honor those shining examples within our culture and community as well as to appreciate the strides our ancestors have made in laying the foundation for our current freedoms. History encompasses the good and the bad since we can learn from both. In that news stations choice of words when discussing Black History Month, they were encouraging the dark period of our history to repeat itself.