The revolution is being televised?

The past few years has seen revolutions and uprisings all over the globe. From Cairo to Baltimore people are rising and rioting, in reaction to a trigger of some kind, police brutality, oppression by leaders. People are reacting! The 99% marched in reaction to the status quo. But then what? What has changed? What has improved? Revolutions cannot be sustained if they are reactionary, they have to be nurtured and purposeful. They have to be driven by goals and these specific objectives must be focused and deliberate otherwise after the fires stop burning, if they do, the resulting anarchy is often worse than what was displaced.  Sadly all over the globe folks are relearning this.  But then should people just sit and do nothing? Of course not, because if they do nothing the rage just simmers and grows and the riots are simply postponed. Ideally we would address the root causes of the problems and find solutions. Solutions that recognize that human lives are more important than property and $$$. But getting there will be difficult if we wait for elected leaders. Many of these elected leaders are too privileged to relate to the poor or even the middle class. They are clueless about the needs of the people they should serve and cannot comprehend the effect of their words. So in addition to marching, shouting and praying, register to vote. Field your own candidates that will change the status quo. Think before you act.  Remember if all you do is burn your own neighborhood, 20 years from now it may still stay burned. And no one will give a damn until the burning starts again.

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Along party lines

If you are deathly sick and need major surgery do you ask your doctor for his or her political affiliation? Common sense dictates that you chose the most qualified surgeon that you can afford. What if your car or house needs extensive repairs, do you choose an incompetent contractor because he or she shares your religious or political beliefs? So why do we continue to elect idiots by voting  along party lines? Why are we electing incompetent sheriffs, school board members, land commissioners, tax assessors, etc based on their political parties? A treasurer should have the ability to do the job and at the primaries does it matter how many guns he or she owns? How dare we empower illiterate  people who have demonstrated clearly through their utterances that they have no clue about history, education or even basic mathematics with the power to determine educational curriculum? Folks we need to stop electing idiots. People complain about problems but do not take the time to vote at the local level. Some of these elections are determined by less than 100 votes. Apathy is not the answer nor is voting along party lines, do your homework and prevent the continued erosion of the collective intelligence of the next generation. Let’s stop electing idiots and choose the best candidates for each task.

Know your rights, get out to vote:

http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/vot/intro/intro_b.php

Peace and change starts with me.

I sometimes wonder if humans ever learn. In the last 3 decades we have had genocide in almost every continent and we cannot seem to learn. There are countries where people under 30 have never seen peace and stability and their entire lives have been spent in a war zone. We create weapons capable of self destruction. We kill in the name of God. We spend more energy destroying, and criticizing than creating. There is hope though if each of us decides enough is enough and I have. This life is the only one I know I have and I will not be swayed by hate. I will create a cocoon of peace, harmony and joy with each breath and I will spread it to everyone I touch. Peace and change starts with me. Every little bit counts and each moment is an opportunity to change. I will not only imagine but I will act, write, dance, sing, cry and laugh.

Can you believe that this video is almost 30 years old?

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“Skin I’m In” 26 years later –

In 1988 as a second year college student in North America, I took a grey hound trip across the continent. Ok I first took a ferry from Vancouver British Columbia to Seattle Washington. Then I took the greyhound from Seattle to Schenectady New York. This was no express bus ride, it was a trip with multiple stops in several cities, where I learned more about myself and the country which I would eventually adopt as my own. On that trip I was proposition by many predators. I maintained my sanity by listening to music on my walkman, enjoying and discovering radio channels across the country. More than 25 years later, I still miss the David Sanborn show. Also the late night sounds of the “Quiet storm.” Driving through Minnesota meant coming close to the essence of the purple one.  After 3 days and 11 or 12 states depending on who’s counting, I had a full journal, from lack of sleep and knew all the words to several Cameo, Prince and Bob Marley songs.

One song that served as the part of my soundtrack for that trip as well as subsequent cross country trips was Cameo’s “Skin I’m In.” This song is not one of their most popular but is an anthem of self respect, consciousness and self determination. The lyrics are so powerful and I think the song was just too powerful, too thought provoking to be popular. As an immigrant discovering race for first time,  Cameo’s words cut deep:

“Who’s this face in the mirror that I see
Sometimes confused by the double standards of society
And maybe I’m wrong about the way I feel
But then will somebody tell me what is really real 

Now I respect myself
I respect you too, but in the end it’s got to be
Do unto me as I do to you”

Almost 30 years later with all the police brutality, neo-racism, prejudice, anger of 2014 the words of another verse seem to challenge our collective conscience if we even have one left:

Peaceful world just out to see,
basic respect humanity
I’m just trying to be realistic without becoming pessimistic
If we have hope we can survive
A damn good reason to stay alive
Is it immoral or a sin
It seems to be according to the skin I’m in
Skin I’m in”

So almost 30 years later, I mourn our continued refusal to see beyond the superficial. I also wonder why we as humans continue to stoke irrational fears and create monsters where there are none, while allowing the real bogey men to walk free.

More Dangerous than the Klan

Things were much simpler
when racists wore their badges,
and stood out in the open,
burning crosses in yards
and strange fruit on trees.

Things were much simpler
when people with a drop of color
knew whom to avoid, to survive
and the unfair rules
were clearly articulated.

Things were much simpler,
though more dangerous
as homes, churches, streets,
and towns were bombed
at the word of a single person.

Things were much simpler
when the color line was a barrier
etched in black and white
all the while drenched
in the blood of unholy sacrifices.

Things were much simpler
then as the sheriff evolved
from slave catcher to grand wizard,
all the while watching strange fruit burn,
sending the stench of human pain to silent heavens.

Today, they hide
in plain sight,
sometimes spewing anonymous bile,
other times singing
of reverse racism.

Things were much simpler
when mothers knew
they could mourn their murdered babies
because the killers did not give a damn
what their names were.

Today while bodies are still warm,
their names are defamed
as bylines to a narrative
that serves to prepare
for the next extrajudicial killing.

Today, so-called supporters
dismiss your pain / life / experience / death
while dictating how you
should feel / talk / act / react / mourn / live
yet sheltered by their unacknowledged privilege…

Today, so-called supporters
discredit your accomplishments
/ intelligence / knowledge / hard work
as products of affirmative action
or reverse racism.

Things were so simple
back when friends were friends
who listened / saw / heard /felt
and lived / died with you
regardless of skin color.

Things were so simple
when everyone knew
who the enemy was
and which boogeyman
lurked in which shadow.

Now I know why some folks
keep longing for the good old days.

Presumed dangerous – playing while black or brown

I drove by a park today. A typical park in Houston and little boys and girls were playing all sorts of games as kids do. I looked on enviously at their carefree youthful exuberance. Memories of childhood games rushed into my mind, toy guns, action figures, bikes and utter glee. The ability to play oblivious to time constraints.
The light changed and I continued on my way. One little boy sitting alone on the sidelines caught my attention and all I could think about was the video, of the little boy. The 12 year old playing with a toy gun like boys do, who was shot without warning. I was angry that the media portrayed him as guilty. I was angry that so many people said he should have known better. I was frustrated that the cops lied about the encounter, reframing their extrajudicial killing of a child as justified. I was sad that another mother had to bury her baby. Her baby who died not knowing why? A 12 year old kid who did not know that playing while black / brown is a capital offense in the USA.  RIP Tamir Rice. http://abcnews.go.com/US/cleveland-cops-recklessly-shot-boy-12-toy-gun/story?id=27402837

@Pharrell, is being #malignedbymedia who never read the #Ebony article. http://www.ebony.com/entertainment-culture/pharrell-williams-talks-race-black-women-and-social-justice-cover-story/2#axzz3KN6BStbe

We live in an era where information travels by tweets and texts so fast your 15 minutes of fame is gone in 15 nanoseconds. Ok that’s an exaggeration. But there is no excuse for so called reputable media to misquote @Pharrell (Pharrell Williams) when the Ebony article is available with a simple google search. While I expect this behavior from certain online tabloids, the fact that mainstream media have embraced the same nonsense is scary. I am not sure what they are gaining from twisting his words and I do not want to speculate because some folks will then misquote me and accuse me of something else. Instead, I am attaching a link to the original story for those who have a brain and choose to read for themselves and refuse to embrace the noise and gabbage and sound bite. Remember misinformation is more dangerous than ignorance #PeaceandStayHappy http://www.ebony.com/entertainment-culture/pharrell-williams-talks-race-black-women-and-social-justice-cover-story/2#axzz3KN6BStbe