In "Melanated" communities in this United States of America there exists an unspoken caste system. If we are to ever conquer this demon called racism, we must first look at ourselves in the mirror and accept that the first thing that needs to change is something that is within our control.
You have tried me, found me guilty and convicted me in your mind without ever having met me. Stop throwing daggers at your "Sista" because she dares to speak, act, worship and live differently than you perceive she should. You have a WWJD on your car but Jesus loved everyone unconditionally and he fed and healed anyone who came to him without discriminating. Practice what you preach Sista.
When you do the same thing the same way, you will get the same results. It's time to give this rioting thing a rest and revise your strategy. I have an idea...
We are all looking at the same tree for there is only one tree. Some of us, however, are standing in the sun, while others are standing in the shade.
Some of us are guilty of a crime that is not yet punishable by law,although it should be. Word have power and we can use them to hurt or heal. The choice is ours.
If we are created in the image of God, is it possible that we can be anything but perfect? Can we be ugly or flawed?
A Letter to The President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board:
We Are in a State of Emergency. Everybody Stop Talking for a minute and Listen…
I’ve made it- by nearly anyone’s standards. I completed my baccalaureate degree at a top university and I am a licensed white collar professional who can reside in any suburb without making the neighbors nervous. I dot my eyes and cross my t’s and live a pretty much ordinary textbook life. I, just like you, however are delusional or at least I was until just recently when life threw me a curve ball. See, just like a growing number of Americans who have had their sense of security blindsided; I was released from my position and had to join the ranks of the unemployed. This correspondence, however, is not about the high unemployment rate or about the flailing economy. This is an open letter to the American people about a problem -the real problem plaguing our society. The problem is Me-ism, which I define as the lack of compassion and responsibility we have for our fellow Americans, especially those who are disenfranchised and need our help the most. We have lost our sense of humanity and compassion for our fellow man, especially those less fortunate than ourselves. We simply do not care about the well-being of anyone but self and we have become blinded to our sense of responsibility to our society and anyone outside of our secure and sanitized communities. It takes an extended hand to heal a nation.
Growing up I was taught that If I worked hard in school and went to college that I could “make it” and one day achieve the American dream complete with a good job, a husband, a house, a car, 2.5 kids and a white picket fence. The truth, however, is that that is the reality of yesteryear. Statistically less and less people are getting and staying married and more and more people are forced into foreclosure and living below the poverty line. Jobs are being outsourced or relocating oversees so that production is more ‘cost effective’. The gap between the rich and the poor is growing ever wider and the middle-class is shrinking. Conservatives, Liberals and those on the fence all have fingers extended outward blaming and talking around the problem but no one REALLY wants to do the work necessary to eradicate what is REALLY strangling our society. They won’t even admit WHAT it is for fear that they may have to roll up their sleeves and get their manicured nails dirty.
Have you ever heard the saying “it takes a village to raise a child”? Well I am going to one up it. It takes an extended hand to heal a nation. Movies like Pay it Forward clearly demonstrate the importance of stepping outside of your small to do something bigger than you. Subscribing to the philosophy that we all swim or we all sink is imperative to the regeneration of this country. We, Americans, the USA, were once at the top of the world food chain in education, import/export, technology, military, etc. Today our children score lower on standardized tests than many lesser developed nations and we lag in educating those qualified enough to fill the growing demand for high-level technology, math, science and medical jobs. Why is this? We know why because even with our eyes closed we can see it clearly. We are leaving our poor, lower SES and shrinking middle class, the masses, behind in the pursuit of financial gain and we are missing an important lesson. A society, in order to function, must have a balance of management and labor- but in our effort to maximize the gap between the haves and the have-nots, we have created a nation in peril of becoming a third-world-country.
The Labor Force performs most efficiently, and progress is made, when one can make an honest living. An honest living means one is not struggling, one can get reasonably priced preventive medical care and one can, at a minimum, enjoy the fruits of his own labor. Contrary to economic forecasts of gloom and doom, our decline as a society has more to do with our lack of regard for our neighbor- or for “them” the poor than it has to do with any monetary mismanagement. As a society we have chosen the pursuit of excess and money, over humanity and we are reaping the fruits of our labor. Karma really is a bitch isn’t it?
In a depressed economy such as this where many have fallen beneath the cracks we, Americans, must supplement the lifestyle of those who are no longer viable. And yes it is as simple as that. It takes an extended hand to heal a nation. We are responsible for our brothers and sisters – like it or not. All that money that Mark Guttenberg gave to Newark, NJ is for naught if society doesn’t address the root of the problem which does not begin in the schools. It begins in my house, your house and in every house in America that has grown immune to the suffering of those NIMBY. We have surpassed being able to throw money at the problem. We are at the turning point in our history where if we are to survive as a superpower we all must roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty. I can recall only one time period in my entire lifetime where ALL of America was united. Following the events of 911 one thing stands out in my mind. We were One Nation. Indivisible and anywhere you went around the country we shared the same sentiment, the same purpose and had the same goal. We were vested in the preservation of our great country and in ALL of its people. We were Americans and proud to be one cohesive unit. For this short period of time we put aside our class, gender, sexual preference, racial and religious differences and we stood together arm and arm to fight that which threatened our well-being. This is the only time in my life I considered the USA to literally be the UNITED states and it took this unfortunate event to remind us that we were not greater than the sum of our parts. It takes an extended hand to heal a nation.
If we do not become a nation of service to one another we will definitely see unparalleled instances of unrest like we haven’t seen in decades. Read your history for what lessons one fails to learn one is destined to repeat. I don’t know who first made that statement but it is as true today as it was then. We all must reach out to someone in need and grab just one hand. I do realize that this is a depressed economy but everyone can do something to benefit his neighbor. Deeds, though they may seem small to you, immensely impact the life of another and the effect is contagious? Unemployment, minimum wage and public assistance do little more to sustain a family, they will never thrive. Everyone, I am sure, knows of someone who can benefit from an act of kindness, be it money, food, clothing, temporary shelter, babysitting, mentoring or a kind word a held door and a smile. Even in this economy we can all share something with someone less fortunate even if it is as simple as volunteering at the local charity of your choice. One can donate Time for free and Time is priceless, and necessary if we are to escape “the nothing” depicted in the movie The Never-ending Story that we as a nation are becoming.
I faithfully tithe my Time, my Talent and my Treasure because I understand that US here in the USA are interconnected and interwoven into one another’s story. We need to be in service to our fellow man/woman/children for the survival of US all. The riots of the 1960’s were an explosive result of the unrest taking place in America long before the incident that most believe was the catalyst. People were emotionally, financially and physically exhausted just as today and equally as fearful. Those emotions are a volatile combination- again check your history, these emotions inevitably lead to acts of physical aggression. Although inner cities were predominately affected in the riots of the 1960’s, the damage permeated the entire economic infrastructure of the country. Let’s learn from the past and commit to people, not things. Every American, in his own residence, with an income has at minimum:
· Clothing:we all have gently used coats and clothing collecting dust that can bless another human being. Face it you will never again wear your ‘thin’ clothes.
· Supplies:we all have a basement, garage, attic full of things we don’t want or have upgraded and can’t use. Use Freecycle to give them a home, Use Craig’s list to sell them cheaply or simply donate them to the Salvation Army or any of a number of charities or shelters. People in transitional housing or those rebuilding their lives appreciate good books, dishes etc. also.
· Resources: drive a carless person to appointments, allow someone to make phone calls, take a carless person to the supermarket, watch children occasionally , if it’s inclement weather offer someone you trust who doesn’t have a car a ride
· Mentor:we are positive role models, take time out from your life and commit to mentoring a neighborhood latch-key kid or volunteer at a big brother/big sister type program.
· Food: donate to a local food pantry; we all have cans of things we don’t eat in the cabinet that hungry people would enjoy; feed a child or young struggling mother sometimes. If you know your neighbor is struggling, share your casserole
· Shelter: If you have a relative or friend or other that you trust, offer temporary shelter if you have an extra room or sofa. There are a growing number of homeless families, they are just like you and they deserve a break. It is an American travesty to have a 5 bedroom home where only two people reside.
It is unfortunate that the ‘holiday season’ is the only time that the average American takes notice of the needs of the many. One needs to note that in this economy those that reside in the suburbs will not be immune to the crime committed by the desperate. Some of the fallen could have possibly been your neighbor recently! It is, therefore, in your best interest to ensure those less fortunate can retain a modicum of their lifestyle and dignity. There is truth in the statement “what goes around goes ALL the way around” It takes and extended hand to heal a nation. I have personally extended my hand to three homeless females, two of which are mothers and I personally provided monetary, resources, mentoring, shelter, food, clothing, babysitting and time. All three are now thriving and I personally commit to opening a Transitional Housing Facility in Essex County, NJ that is a safe haven for all of my American family in need. My goal is to reach as many people as possible and provide the services necessary to return them to self-sufficiency through a network of agencies and partnerships. In closing, I have stopped talking and I have and will continue to get my hands dirty but I can only effect change locally. You are an important part of the solution. Now are you still talking or are you rolling up your sleeves?
I wrote this commentary and sent it to President Barack Obama and those named in the beginning of the paper in 2011. Today this still holds true so I just thought that I'd post it.
I wake up in the morning running a race;
Go to bed at night wash off my face
Lie awake contemplating –
All that I must do and the time I must borrow
Expectations, deadlines, pulled this way and that by you
Disguises, masks and hats, do what the world expects me to
Punch the clock, collect my pay …Everyday
Buying time on credit I can never pay
A scattered memory…
never saw it coming…
Disappearing silhouette, semblance of what was true
I was a sentence… then a word… now I’m just a syllable
Shell of a woman… hollow… through
I run myself ragged I have too much to do
Here you go another piece of my soul
Disappearing woman, no longer whole
Gave myself to everyone, Everyone else
Nothing left for me.
Gave nothing to myself
Mother daughter sunlight water earth moon and sky
Everything to everybody,
Wife, worker, mother, friend, lover
Remove one hat, one role,
just to put on another
Scattered pieces of me all over the place…
I no longer recognize …
which one is my face?
BUT HE DON’T HIT ME
He doesn’t hit you?
You say he doesn’t hit you
O my Sista
He Pounds on your confidence
Pulverizes your self esteem
He Eviscerates your pride
Defecating on your hopes and dreams
He Puts his foot all up in yo aspirations
Making sure you don’t rise to the top
He Uses his words to cut you
And then cut you again every time the bleeding stops
He Stomps holes in your hope – full and turns them into hope less
He Relentlessly belittles and berates you so that just like him
You believe that you are worth less
His mission My Sista is to make sure that you Feel Small
And that you continue to accept Less than you deserve
That is why Every day he kicks your be-- your mind
See a beating can also come from words
So my Sista
Take a step back and an honest look
Because when you said “but he don’t hit me”, you lied
That man beats you every single day
But the bruises …
Are on the inside!
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