I like to challenge the localized thinking of individuals to make global change

Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Harsh Reality

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I hate to share this video, but this is the harsh reality…the stark contrast between these two incidences are astonishing! The contrast is not just because of the race of the people involved but because of the choices of the officers. Yes, they have choices! Being a police officer is a life and death job. Decisions have to be made constantly as to whether it’s your life or theirs. Sometimes those decisions warrant deadly force, other times those decisions warrant using the multitude of resources and training to handle the situation so everyone sees another day.

I wanted to share my thoughts in a video but my heart is so heavy I don’t think I would make it through. A friend posted this conversation on FB the other day:

My oldest son: What do I do if the police stop me and I haven’t done anything?

Me: ((speechless))ūüėĘ

My heart is so heavy as I am truly afraid for my two boys.

This is from a young man who isn’t even out of school yet, yet this is what he has on his mind. Not because he has done something wrong or is thinking about doing something wrong, but because he hears and sees what is happening and that his chances may not be the best.

The comments from people on her post was to tell him to “just do what he is told and he will be fine.” ¬†One person comments:¬†Look, Ive been in trouble many many times in my life..not once did I get abused, pushed, tazed, pepper sprayed, or anything out of the way!! Because you know what I did..exactly what the officer said do!! Now if I had resisted, what do you think would have happened!! Do exactly what is told!!
Well, bravo for you sir, but your numerous encounters with the law and not being abused, tased, pepper sprayed, etc. is clearly not because you are a model citizen, but because you encountered police officers who did their jobs without abusing their power. ¬†Some people are not resisting they are simply asking questions. ¬†You should not be dragged out of a vehicle, thrown to the ground, put in a choke hold, or SHOT for asking “What did I do wrong?” “Why are you pulling me over?” “What is the problem, officer?” ¬†A person has every right to ask questions and receive answers if they don’t know what is going on. ¬†If you are clearly breaking the law, then you won’t have to ask these questions and you have no reason to NOT do as you are told because you know what the HELL IS GOING ON!!
This isn’t about following or not following instructions; this isn’t about all police being bad; this isn’t about whether someone feels threatened or not; this is about people making choices about who they feel is worthy of life and who is not. This is about those who abuse their power. This is about people who feel so disgusted with their own lives (whether they have a badge or not) that they feel like they can make themselves feel better by taking another person’s life (murder/suicides). This is about those who haven’t learned that their are options to resolving conflict (man shoots two people after losing bet). ¬†This is about young men, going about their lives being gunned down in the street because of someone’s perception of who they are or what they might do. ¬†This is about those in law enforcement who murder someone not being held accountable. ¬†This is about men of color being considered a threat just because they are men of color. ¬†This is about the lives of our sons, daughters, fathers, brothers, family members who are not being heard but are being condemned and murdered in the streets and then being judged by public opinion about what they SHOULD have done! What they SHOULD have done is made it through the situation alive…incarcerated, if necessary…but ALIVE!!
My heart is heavy because my sons are about to take a well-deserved vacation together and travel to the West Coast. While I am excited for their opportunity to take this trip, I am doubly fearful that they may go to the wrong place, say the wrong thing, look the wrong way, walk the wrong walk, wear the wrong clothes, listen to the wrong music and be judged and convicted by the wrong person who is having a bad moment, day, life. That’s why my heart is heavy, not because I think they may commit a crime, but because I’m afraid they may be seen as a threat because they are brown men who carry themselves with confidence and are eager to experience the gift of travel, to explore new things, and share lived experiences. ¬†My heart is heavy because I love them and they are my life’s blood and while I want to keep them close and safe I know it’s out of my hands. ¬†So at the end of the day the only comfort I have is Prayer and Faith which gives me a peace that passes all understanding. ¬†So I will bid them a safe trip, pray while they are away and rejoice when they return!
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Don’t Let the Demons Win

The news of Black Lives Matter Activist MarShawn McCarrel taking his life deeply saddens me, but the statement that he left as his final words resonated deep within my soul. ¬†“My demons won today, I’m sorry.” ¬†As someone who fights their own demons daily, I can understand how the voice of those demons resonated louder than his message of¬†“Black Lives Matter.”¬†I can only imagine that the voice of those demons quickly drowned out his until he could no longer hear the positive message that would have propelled him to continue the fight of equality and respect.

The voice of those demons in the justice system who said it’s okay for an unarmed young black man to be gunned down in the street because the police officer “felt” threatened screamed that it was wrong for us to feel outrage.

The voice of those demons who want to cry foul and boycott an African American singer because she dared to use her talent and platform to bring to light the injustices of Hurricane Katrina and celebrate her culture and the strong black women are given more credibility than the message that was being conveyed.

The voice of those demons who stand proudly on political platforms and spew hatred for anything and anyone who doesn’t look like them, think like them, or agree with them are applauded for their divisive speeches while an activist for “Black Lives Matter” is struggling to hear his own voice over the roar of the crowd telling him to “Stand Down!”

MarShawn McCarrel took on a noble cause and expected his voice, his mission, his passion to be heard, but the demons silenced him as they will all of us who allow our voices to be silenced by the privileged majority. ¬†Black Lives do Matter! ¬†MarShawn McCarrel’s life mattered! ¬†And even though the demons won today, MarShawn’s life will continue to matter because he had a voice and it may be quieter now but it will never be silenced!

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Shows on My Face

“Why are you looking like that?” ¬†I have had this question asked of me more times than I can count. ¬†My facial expressions are difficult to control when coinciding with the thoughts in my mind. ¬†I would love to have a poker face where it’s hard to read my thoughts, but that is not the case. ¬†On the flip side, I hope that the expressions that show evoke some type of action on the part of the observer. ¬†That “look” that you see should cause one to pause and think about what they are saying or doing, continue on their course of action, back away slowly, run quickly, laugh heartily, show respect, love, or fear. I usually don’t intend to show my thoughts by the look on my face, but there have been more times than not that the situation has caused my face to react before my thoughts could tell my mouth what to say. ¬†I offer no apologies because this is who I am, what I am made up of, and how I express myself sometimes without words. ¬†There are times when my facial expressions are all I can rely on because the actual words may not express the depth of my emotions. ¬†So, if you happen to wonder “Why I’m looking like that?”; take a moment and reflect on what has transpired between us and you may find the answer within yourself because I’m sure it shows on my face.

“Ain’t it funny that the way you feel shows on your face and no matter how you try to hide it states your case” (EWF)

 

Love Is…

I dedicate this poem to all of the parents who have autistic children and love them unconditionally.  Realizing the blessing in the midst of the struggle is a great gift.

Love Is…Breath and Life

It needs to be planted, watered, and nurtured to help it grow and keep it alive

Love is…Giving and Sacrificing

Open your heart to experience its joy, open your arms to offer all you have and receive all in return

Love is…Pain and Sadness

It cuts deep and hurts the most because it is part of your soul

Love is…Mental, Physical, and Spiritual

It encompasses your entire being and makes you whole

Love is…

The music always playing, the dance never stopping, the sun always shining even when it rains

Love is…Everlasting and Eternal

Love is LIFE

We Were the Village

A week ago today I sat along with friends and family of Steve Johnson to say goodbye to a great friend. Following the funeral, I was talking to my son, Patrick and daughter, Tamiya about the “good ole days” at Ratcliffe Elementary School and I realized how fortunate I was to have such caring and compassionate people in the lives of my children who truly cared about them far beyond the job of education. Steve Johnson was the head custodian at the school for many years, but the students and staff saw him as so much more. My daughter told me how when she was a safety patrol in the 4th grade and had to get to school a lot earlier than other students, Steve would let her in the back door and then offer her a cup of coffee before she started her duties. Now offering a cup of coffee to my 4th grader may not have been the best judgement, but it let me know that he wanted to show her that he cared in the way he knew how. The children knew that it was Mr. Johnson’s job to take care of the school and keep it clean, but they also knew that Mr. Johnson was teaching them a valuable lesson on taking pride in whatever job you had and making others aware of being responsible for the building that we all called home for those hours of the school day. My son, Patrick and I further reflected on not only the influence of Mr. Johnson, but of all of the teachers and other staff members who collectively worked to nurture the whole child. Patrick talked about how the triple threat of Roberson, Grooms, and Brown would keep most kids on the straight and narrow. These teachers would send students from one classroom to the other if they messed up. They would have to perform “community service” instead of going straight to the office. The older kids would be sent to a younger classroom until they were ready to act like a 5th grader. They would be tasked with reading to the younger students or helping out in the classroom with projects. The younger students were sent to the older class to be mentored by an older student. As a parent, I was privileged with observing the interactions of these teachers with the students and then as a co-worker seeing a new perspective of the genuine compassion the teachers had for the children. It was such a family atmosphere and we were truly a village. No child would feel as if they were not important to someone in that school from the Principal to the Custodian there was always some adult showing love to some child at any moment. I applaud the educators that I had the privilege to work with and am so happy they were a part of my children’s lives. RIP Steve Johnson and enjoy that cup of coffee.

Thank You, Robin Williams

As another day dawned and the retched light began to shine through my bedroom window, I awoke with the same thought I went to bed with…Why did Robin Williams commit suicide? ¬†He always made me laugh with his rants and manic ways. ¬†I fell in love with him as Mork and I continued to love him in the countless roles he played on television and in the movies. ¬†I would be like a child at Christmas when I saw him appearing as a guest on any show. ¬†His face seemed to be molded into a never-ending grin and he looked like he was going to burst with joy whenever he appeared. ¬†Then I thought about how depression has now been in the forefront due to the death of Robin Williams and I thought this blog would be the easiest that I’ve ever written. ¬†The door had been opened for discussion and the world was listening to those of us who fight this awful disease everyday thanks to Robin Williams showing, in the most tragic and public way, how depression is a silent killer if you succumb to its will. ¬†I was certain that the words would just flow effortlessly once I opened this page and I would finally be free of the stigma and shame of depression. ¬†I would stand tall and speak boldly about my daily battle of just letting go of the bed covers, putting on appropriate clothes for public appearance, slap on my happy face and drudge through another day until I was utterly drained and could crawl back into the comfort and safety of my bed, pull the covers over my head, listen to a movie and pray for sleep to come. ¬†I was certain today would be the day! ¬†Yes, I will no longer pretend that my world is full of happiness and joy and that I find something to smile about everyday! ¬†I would come clean and the weight of my alternate persona would drop like a ton of bricks and I would feel whole, loved, happy. ¬†Thank You Robin Williams for letting people see that even though there is much laughter and happiness on the outside, there is a deep-seeded hatred of everything that we truly feel and the sadness is more than just a case of the blues or just being a little down, it is an albatross around our necks that cuts off the very air we breathe, it is the deep responsibility we feel to not make others uncomfortable around us by being sad so we over compensate with the gift of laughter. ¬†Millions of people have committed suicide over the years so why has Robin Williams become the poster child for depression? ¬†Is it because his face is not the face of depression? ¬†His face was the face of a clown whose mission in life was to bring joy and happiness and he did it effortlessly. ¬†He certainly didn’t look or act depressed. ¬†Depressed people look sad, don’t they? ¬†Depressed people stay to themselves and have no interest in doing things or being around others. ¬†Depressed people cry all the time and talk about hurting themselves, or do they? ¬†Thank You Robin Williams for letting people see that depression doesn’t shut down and stay in a hole. ¬†It lives and breathes, It dances and sings, It plays and laughs and skips, and It goes out everyday and pretends to be just like everybody else until it gets its victim alone and then it whispers and it hurts and it torments and it kills. ¬†May your soul now forever be at peace, Thank You Robin Williams!

Why I need to Retire My Cape

“It’s Handled has been my mantra long before Scandal and Pope and Associates became the latest and greatest television phenom and addiction. ¬†Whenever someone close to me fell into a situation, I entered my virtual phone booth changed into my superhero cape and came to the rescue. ¬†I wore the white hat. ¬†I had a compelling need to right the wrong, straighten the crooked, and strengthen the weak. ¬†Even if I didn’t have an immediate solution, I didn’t rest until every stone was turned and every option explored. ¬†I was the FIXER! ¬†And if it didn’t get solved or fixed it wasn’t due to lack of trying and commitment on my part. ¬†Commitment on MY part….don’t let that one get by you. ¬†You see the problem was, in most cases, I was the one who was committed to a solution. ¬†And, unlike Olivia Pope, my “clients” didn’t come to me. ¬†I made the decision that they needed fixing even when they didn’t think they were broken. ¬†I decided what the problem was and thereby had control over what the solution should be. ¬†I……are you noticing the trend here?! ¬†It was a “me” project and not really about the other person. ¬†I needed to fix someone else so I could feel whole. ¬†I needed to be the problem-solver so I would feel important and accomplished. ¬†I’m not saying the problems didn’t exist, I’m saying that they weren’t mine to solve. ¬†I was the one who made it my personal business once someone simply confided in me about their struggles, needs, frustrations, wishes, desires, dreams, to make it happen. ¬†Oh there were a few times when I was asked to intervene directly, but most of the time all I needed to see was the proverbial “Bat” sign in the sky and I came running.

So why retire my cape now? ¬†Well, after many years of sleepless nights, restless days, tears that shouldn’t have been mine, and coming of age wisdom, I have realized that the many battles that I fought and lost where not mine to begin with. ¬†Not only that, I was a rescuer in need of a rescue. ¬†My emotional load had become so heavy that the weight of it all landed me in a personal black hole. ¬†I cried out for help and silence was the answer. ¬†I began to question why, with all that I did, failure was the continued result. ¬†These became my failures. ¬†I was counting them at night like sheep but they weren’t lulling me to sleep. ¬†On the contrary, they were making me lose hair, gain weight, get angry because things just weren’t working out the way they were supposed to. ¬†Why were people not following my script?! ¬†Well, the answer to that became crystal clear one day when I sat back and realized that I had created the characters to perform in scenes that would produce a plot and tell a story but never asked anyone to read the script or audition for the parts. ¬†This had become my very own Play, Movie, Sitcom, Drama, and Reality Show. ¬†I was the only one who knew what was supposed to happen. ¬†I was the Writer, Producer, Director, and Star of my own delusions. ¬†I decided that once I became involved in the situation, everything would evolve into a happy ending. ¬†Well, guess what? ¬†When you work harder on someone else’s goals and dreams than they do, the result is never a happy ending.

So here I am with a completely different outlook. ¬†One that makes me the Writer, Producer, Director, and Star of my own Reality. ¬†An outlook that now gives me peace and helps me move forward from day to day. ¬†This outlook has brightened my days and lightened my load. ¬†I still own the cape and will never completely give up the white hat, but they are safely tucked away for a specific time and purpose. ¬†That time when the need is real and the outcome is truth. ¬†So if you don’t see me running to the rescue every time my “Spidey Sense” starts tingling, it’s not because I don’t care, it’s because I do care enough to stay out of the way of the real Super Heroes in life and be okay with it not being me.

LWG

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