Tag Archives: conscience

What Would Jesus Say?

It is safe to say that most people believe Jesus is coming back and/or think he is the savior of mankind. Whether you are a believer or not, as a result of the conditions of man might be the reason he has not returned. I’ll tell you that if I were him and see the sad state of affairs man has created, I would seek out a Noah and start all over again!

When I look at the senseless murders due to wars, be it in the streets or against nations or this divided nation whose views on feeding the homeless, the lack of healthcare, poverty, the murders and other acts against religious thinking proves civilization is in despair. Hippocrates use as justification their support of such evil by adding scripture in God’s name. My sense they believe their view is the natural order of things or maybe God’s plan for life. I cannot and will not speak for God, but I do not believe this is what God planned.

When it comes to the wretchedness of government and its leaders, it shameful to see the actions and hateful diatribes about race, the least of thee, and religion. As you know, all of these issues are commonly used by the right-wing nuts to vilify the poor. Admittedly, and shamefully, race is and has always been a stain on the soul of America. As I began to ponder just what kind of country we would have without a government that mandates laws for civilization to exist. What would Jesus or you higher power think!

More disturbing is that religion, God, and Jesus have become little more than instruments of the wicked. For example, on any given Sundays between the hours of 9 AM – 1 PM is the most-segregated hours in the country. I can’t speak to what is in the mind of others except for what they say, and some of the vitriol gives a good indication as to what’s in their hearts. I, in good conscience, rail against the racially charged political environment, and for sure the teabaggers designed declaration of “taking back their country.”

Finally, on the issue of justice and racial justice in particular; maybe understanding that Jesus came from that region of the world where his hue had to be of color could more likely be one of the reasons why he had to be crucified! Just as was the case with the murder of Jesus; there are people who are killing the messenger of truth now.

What I think Jesus would say, as his mission was for the salvation of the least of thee, I think he would say – “Thou shalt not Kill.” And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective.


Stand Your Ground Against Injustice

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History has proven there is only one way to get the attention of unmovable ideologies to achieve change. Matching and protests are strategies, which is nothing more than a good show for the cameras. For example, the March on Washington and the Million Man March produced little in terms of measurable results. On the other hand, BOYCOTT’s work – the Birmingham Bus Boycott and the Martin Luther King Holiday Boycott on the state of Arizona – WORKED! It is time to stop BS-ing and BOYCOTT INJUSTICE and the system that supports connected to it. We will then get change. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


Remembering Juneteeth

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We must never forget Juneteenth, the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that those enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – which had become official January 1, 1863.

The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance. Many attempts to explain the two and a half year delay in the receipt of this important news have yielded several versions that have been handed down through the years.

The story often told is of a messenger who was murdered on his way to Texas with the news of freedom. Another story is that the news was deliberately withheld by the enslavers to maintain the labor force on the plantations. Then there is yet another story that federal troops actually waited for the slave owners to reap the benefits of one last cotton harvest before going to Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation. All of which, or neither of these version, could be true. Certainly, for some, President Lincoln’s authority over the rebellious states was in question. Regardless, the conditions in Texas remained status quo well beyond what was statutory.

One of General Granger’s first orders of business was to read to the people of Texas, General Order Number 3 which began most significantly with:

“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer.”

The reactions to this profound news ranged from pure shock to immediate jubilation. While many lingered to learn of this new employer to employee relationship, many left before these offers were completely off the lips of their former ‘masters’ – attesting to the varying conditions on the plantations and the realization of freedom. Even with nowhere to go, many felt that leaving the plantation would be their first grasp of freedom.

North was a logical destination and for many it represented true freedom, while the desire to reach family members in neighboring states drove the some into Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Settling into these new areas as free men and women brought on new realities and the challenges of establishing a heretofore non-existent status for black people in America. Recounting the memories of that great day in June of 1865 and its festivities would serve as motivation as well as a release from the growing pressures encountered in their new territory. The celebration of June 19th was coined “Juneteenth” and grew with more participation from descendants.

The Juneteenth celebration was a time for reassuring each other, for praying and for gathering remaining family members. Juneteenth continued to be highly revered in Texas decades later, with many former slaves and descendants making an annual pilgrimage back to Galveston on this date. A range of activities were provided to entertain the masses, many of which continue in the tradition today. Juneteenth almost always focused on education and self improvement. Thus, often guest speakers are brought in, and the elders are called upon to recount the events of the past. Prayer services were also a major part of these celebrations.

The Civil Rights movement of the 50’s and 60’s yielded both positive and negative results for the Juneteenth celebrations. While it pulled many of the African American youth away and into the struggle for racial equality, many linked these struggles to the historical struggles of their ancestors. This was evidenced by student demonstrators involved in the Atlanta civil rights campaign in the early 1960’s, who wore Juneteenth freedom buttons. Again in 1968, Juneteenth received another strong resurgence through Poor Peoples March to Washington D.C. Rev. Ralph Abernathy’s call for people of all races, creeds, economic levels and professions to come to Washington to show support for the poor.

Juneteenth today, celebrates African American freedom and achievement, while encouraging continuous self-development and respect for all cultures. As it takes on a more national, symbolic and even global perspective, the events of 1865 in Texas are not forgotten, for all of the roots tie back to this fertile soil from which a national day of pride is growing.

The future of Juneteenth looks bright as the number of cities and states creating Juneteenth committees continues to increase. Respect and appreciation for all of our differences grow out of exposure and working together. Getting involved and supporting Juneteenth celebrations creates new bonds of friendship and understanding among us. This indeed brightens our future – and that is the Spirit of Juneteenth. So lest not forget!!! And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

http://johntwills.com


Stranger Than Fiction

2I’ve lived for more than a minute, and have seen and heard many things. I repeatedly say that we should be leery of the messenger and most media in general. Oh hell, I will be blunt – some of these nuts that appear on Fox and Fools who they try present as responsible are more in the relm of lunacy. I don’t have enough paper to name the long list of them, but we have seen how they promote and give airtime to people who are just “bat shit crazy”!

I was surfing the net the other day and came across an article, which contained  some of the most outlandish remarks I think I have every read from a so-called Christian!!! If you read my writings via this medium, you know I have spoken out against religion. It is not that I don’t believe in someone greater than I; rather it is to say that organized religion has become such a sham and some of the stuff the faithful say “In Jesus Name” is really going to have a problem on judgment day when they meet him. He is NOT going to be happy.

According to the Daily Currant, who reported and if you watch Fox you may have seen it. My favorite fool, Caribou Barbie, the onetime half governor and failed Vice Presidential candidate made the most ridiculous statement about the death penalty known to man. Palin claimed that Jesus Christ advocated for the death penalty his entire life until his final day on Earth. This was so outlandish that it even shocked Fox and Friends hosts when she said that her position is inspired by Jesus’ own stance in biblical times.

She repeated it again saying, “I know the liberals hate it when you start mentioning the Bible, but the truth is Jesus fought for the death penalty until the day he died. He was a tireless advocate of being tough on crime and making sure the criminals can’t be out there raping and murdering people… Unfortunately, Jesus’ ideas were never implemented and the Roman Empire fell as result. But here in America we’ve always followed Jesus’ advice on the death penalty, and that’s why we have the lowest crime rate in the world.”

Ok Boo-Boo, first there was no such thing as Christianity while Jesus lived and remember the Roman’s threw them to the lions for a few hundred years after the faith was born. Of course, facts appeared lost on Palin, however, who somehow did not see the irony in her assertion that history’s most famous capital punishment casualty was an advocate for the practice. One of the shows hosts, corrected her “Jesus never directly addressed capital punishment in the Bible…  and I have to say, since he himself was executed, I doubt he is really that big a fan of the death penalty.” Caribou Barbie replied, “What do you mean Jesus was executed I thought he was crucified?” I think this requires a Lord Jesus!!!

This is not the first time she has said insane remarks. Everyone knows Easter is a Christian holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after he was crucified by the Romans in the 1st century A.D. It is the most important holiday for Eastern and Orthodox Christians. When she said, Jesus celebrated Easter, again is outlandish because the holiday is celebrate because he died and rose from the grave.

According to Palin’s view, “Jesus would gather all the townspeople around and would listen to their stories about the meaning of Easter in their lives. Then he would teach them how to love one another, how to protest Roman abortion clinics and how to properly convert homosexuals. You can’t even do things like that these days without getting called out by some wacko left-wing human rights group. Christians had more freedom under Roman rule than we do now in our own country! We need to return Easter back to the way it was when Jesus was alive.”

She has also said, “If I were President waterboarding is how we’d Baptize Terrorists”. Palin took to her Facebook page to defend her comments. “Darn right I’d do whatever it takes to foil [terrorists’] murderous jihadist plots – including waterboarding,” she wrote. I can recall the first slave ship named the “Good Ship Jesus” beginning hundreds of years of misery, which fools like this claimed it was what Jesus wanted. Further, they also used the Bible and Christianity to sanction the most brutal and amoral crime the world has known.

Let me close by saying believe half of what you see and none of what you hear, as fools come in all manner of so-called Christian folk. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


“Damned Dirty Ape!” Politico Blasts Black MSNBC News Anchor Via Twitter

And you say racism is dead…


8th Annual Northwest Regional Fair Housing and Civil Rights Commission 2014

6On April 10 – 11 I had the good fortune of attending the 8th Annual Northwest Regional Fair Housing and Civil Rights Commission 2014 at the Springfield Marriott in Springfield, MA.

Featured speakers included Jacqueline A. Berrian, Chair, U.S. Equal Employment opportunity Commission, Charles Ogletree, Harvard Law School Jesse Clemenko Professor of Law, Carmen M. Ortiz, U.S. Attorney District of Massachusetts, Dick Gregory Author, Civil Rights Activist and Comedian, Ridney G. Hood, M.D. Managing Partner, Care View Medical Group and Lawrence Watson Historian and Artist, Berklee School of Music and Save Our Should production.

Jamie Williamson, Chair, MCAD introduced the speakers, John Fisher (HAP Housing), Meris Bergquist (MFHC) and the Springfield Mayor, Dominic Sarno and mentioned the advances in policy regarding a “Unifying Theme” and the need for “No new ideas but more solutions as Civil Rights went into various silos.”

The Conference included (25) workshops on an array of critical topics: Fair Housing, Civil Rights, Prison to Pipeline, Understanding Disability Discrimination, Lenders and Cultural Competence and many more.

We learned that Normal Rockwell had received death threats for his painting of Ruby Bridges titled, The Problem We Live With from Charles Walker, former Chairman MCAD and proceeded to examine some of the defining moments in the development of the Civil Rights Movement, re-discovering that the doors did not “magically swing open” to remember that Blacks could not eat anywhere or work anywhere and we must continually “expect and demand the arc of mindfulness from one another” as we work toward an even greater movement toward racial equality.

Racism is based upon dehumanization and our efforts to develop a strategic enforcement plan regarding social and racial justice is an absolute necessity as a speaker has stated we,

“Bend the Arc Toward Justice.”

Charles Ogltree spoke of Black Cultural Expression/Trans African, 1913 when the Civil Rights struggle was still in its infancy. Dick Gregory, who had run for President in 1968, shared his experiences within the movement and asked that we examine people in the entertainment industry and in sports, to see if their interest in racial justice matches our interest in them! Each panelist agreed that voter registration should be accompanied by voter education.

U.S. District Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz had created a Civil Rights Enforcement Team in criminal civil cases adding that MS gives harsher discipline/consequences to black students than white and there are disproportionate sentences, ie: 20 % larger Black male population serving longer time sin prison than white people who committed the same crime” adding that it is “disgraceful “asking us to, “Take stock of your challenges and move forward.”

For two days the attendees were deeply moved by the presenters and the workshops combined. The information, testimonials and conversations about the work that is taking place right in these times was reassuring. The renewed commitment to the work we were returning to in our communities was stirring. One could not help but believe that while the struggle continues we are indeed able to develop a unifying theme to do what must be done to reduce the unacceptable racial disparities, knowing that poverty has a racial caste to it.

I left the conference with a fresh sense of camaraderie, a reminder of my respect for all activists, an appreciation for the sense of community that remained a part of the conference from beginning to end, and, a clearer vision of the work I was returning to.

~ Kaolin, author Talking About Race: A Workbook About White People Fostering Racial Equality in Their Lives and Member of NOW National Task Force to Combat Racism and co-author with Mr. Henry White of Protocol: Welcome To Paradise, Watch Your Step to be launched in the Fall ’14.


Women’s History Month Featured Author

 
Get in Alignment
By Adrienna Turner

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We may be looking through tinted windows and afraid to see the beauty within us to shine for all to see. Although we have recognized our talents, abilities, and/or skills and put them to work, we still may not see who we truly are. God already knows who are you and where you’re going, but we either move too fast or too slow whereas we do not allow things to happen in its timing. We have to clearly understand that everything happens in its due timing (Eccl. 3).

Yet when we hear the Word or receive a revelation, we’re trying to rush and finish the race before God is in the running with us. Or we rather not receive it, ignore it, and forget that we’ve even heard it; so we do nothing. This nothing can last for years, or way longer than God ever intended it to be. A good example is the Israelites residing in the wilderness for forty years that could have taken only days.

However, I had a talk with God about being transparent and sharing a few of my talents with the world, but then wondering why I am in the wilderness. I’ve been in the literary arena for ten years and written ten published books in seven years. After this shift, I had to put projects on hold and even wanted to stop writing altogether. Behind the scenes, I sent out a few manuscripts to publishers that I’ve studied, connected with their authors, researched the literary industry and market, and even received rejection letters.

When I was at my breaking point, I received a literary award for “The Day Begins with Christ” for female author of the year and celebrated with the special ladies of my life at the event. I knew God was aligning me in position. I told God around midnight until I was able to finally around four AM that I put my heart and soul in these literary projects with His anointing to guide the pen as I was only the instrument to complete the finished craft.

But wondered why do you only give us a glimpse of these future realities? Despite the dreams, the visions, the revelations, and celebrating others breakthroughs in their crafts, my mind lingered on a statement made on UnSung with Phyllis Hyman. The statement was addressed that she was a musical genius but didn’t have the record-breaking sales like artists of her today.

Then I thought about my literary career as an author and contributing writer where I’ve volunteered at speaking events and given books for free, not yet to see the ground-breaking sales such as being on best-seller list. Or the royalty checks that reveal such effort, sweat, and those insomnia-restless nights while working on these literary pieces. But God keeps bringing certain people, dreams, visions, confirmations, or situations where I have to keep pressing through and believing that I will see the fruits of my labor.

Through my educational efforts, after seeing the economy fall, I had already experienced unemployment, lay-offs, and financial woes too many times, whereas I know how to weather the storms. Despite the speculators’ gossip, family and friends unbelief, I plan to pursue a law degree. Therefore, we have to keep hope alive because our dreams need to be showcased for someone else to stay inspired to pursue the dreams and gifts that also live within them.

We often talk about our talents and gifts, but fail to activate them when the opportunity presents itself because we allow every excuse to stand between our blessing and us (Wilson, My Business, His Way, paraphrased). Please do not let this be your downfall when aligning yourself in position. Believe and know that we are more than capable in completing our God-given assignment. Keep the faith and speak affirmations to keep pressing towards the goal (see Phil. 4:6-7). Moreover, do not let division stop the vision.

Then, I’ve done several virtual radio programs, TV appearances as a guest host locally, actress in a small stage play production for nearly two years, and appeared on other radio programs but others wonder why do you do it if you see no profitable results from it or lack of participants/listeners. I felt led to step out of the norm, my comfort zone, and venture to new avenues. After five years, four shows, I know that it’s aligning and preparing me for something much bigger.

These things are stepping stones and soon will see the top of the mountain of opportunities and to be financially secure. Ultimately, these things are meaningless without God in it. Moreover, we have to be ready when God tells us to go. Words of encouragement while getting in alignment: You are giving birth to your dreams whereas complications seem harder to PUSH this thing forth. But the more adversity, the more God’s protection and favor is coming your way! Press through the pain…heartaches…and hard times, because the miracles in the midst are worth it all! Don’t fall!

Overall, if we knew what would have happened then things would be different. We just need to change our mindset and believe the unbelievable, and get in alignment with the plans that God has for our lives.

This article was written by Adrienna Turner the award-winning author for female author of the year: The Day Begins with Christ, nonfiction. She is a graduate of a Masters Degree in Library Information Science with honors as magna cum laude and Bachelors Degree in Information Resources from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Websites: 

www.adriennaturner.webs.com
www.dream4more.org
http://dreamyourreality.webs.com


The Hollywood Illusion

22Everybody is talking about this year’s groundbreaking Oscar winning black artists, as if Oscar just realized black people were in the movies. Let me give prop’s to the winners first, and I suppose we should be proud, but in about one hundred years, so few African America’s have walked away with the prize, maybe we should not be over jubilant. In the case of the Best Supporting Actress, there have only been seven black women and in this case the role was a slave.

There was a time, believe it or not, when the only roles African Americans could get in Hollywood were the second class citizen’s rolls; you know the maids, servants, and the all too common Step-in Fetch-it kind of roles. Few blacks were on the screen, and fewer worked behind the screen. Then something interesting happened during the 1960s that was like a revolution. I don’t want to date anyone, but if you did not witness this cinematic transformation, I am going to try to capture the essence of the era.

Hollywood has never, from its conception, view or considered black people as a commodity. They expected all people to watch whatever movies they made and like it, as a result of the government mandated policy of segregation. African American’s in particular simply had no choice but to accept it. It was so extreme that in most cases black people, if they were allowed, had to sit in the balcony and had a separate entrance into the theater where the movie was shown. Hence, all of the hero’s we knew looked like whom they wanted us to emulate.

Now, as a result of the turbulent 1960s, the reflection or the realization of, the country changed. This was not due to Hollywood’s interpretation, rather as far as cinema was concerned, it actually began with a low budget independent film called “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song” in 1971, written, produced, scored, directed by, and starred Melvin Van Peebles. It tells the picaresque story of a poor African American man’s flight from the white authority. Van Peebles began to develop the film after being offered a three-picture contract for Columbia Pictures.

No studio would finance the film, so Van Peebles funded the film himself, shooting it independently over a period of 19 days, performing all of his own stunts and appearing in several unsimulated sex scenes. He received a $50,000 loan from Bill Cosby to complete the project. The film’s fast-paced montages and jump-cuts were unique features in American cinema at the time. The picture was censored in some markets and received mixed critical reviews.

Then came “Shaft” produced and directed by the Gordon Parks starring Richard Roundtree and was critically acclaimed. The film produced both the Grammy Award and Academy Award winning soundtrack recorded by Isaac Hayes. These were two huge steps in the evolution of black representation on the big screen. After the success of these two films, Hollywood saw that there was a spending black audience wanting to see people who looked like them on the screen, and they began to exploit the new genre even calling it – Blaxploitation.

This brings me to the third movie that I thought never got its just due, although it is a cult classic today. This movie was Super Fly! It was about a cocaine dealer who begins to realize that his life will soon end with either prison or his death. He decides to build an escape from the life by making his biggest deal yet, converting the coke to cash and running off to start a new life. The problem was that the Mob does not have a retirement plan and will give him a choice of staying and selling for them or dying if they find out his intentions.

The star was the late Ron O’Neal a Tall, lean, handsome veteran stage and classically trained actor, whose role as Priest – the long haired, stylishly dressed cocaine dealer in the seminal 1972 crime drama. The co-stars Sheila Frasier, Carl Lee, Julius Harris, and of course we all know Freddie – Charles McGregor; all producing stellar performances. I would be remised if I did not mention the great Curtis Mayfield, who wrote the hit score. I did a little research and found the back story that speaks to the tremendous efforts of the producers and all involved.

Most surprising was that the script was only 45 pages long, which explains why there are so many shots of people walking, driving, etc. The reason I wanted to share this story is because I recently rented the movie and got an entirely different impression of the film than I did thirty years ago.

The moral of the story; when the success of the aforementioned Blaxploitation films proved that money could be made off of blacks the movie market was flooded with an explosion of this genre. My guess is that as a result of 12 Years A Slave, which was done once before, we’re are about to see more slave movies than there were slaves. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…


The Right to Self Defense

STATEMENT TO THE PRESS
March 1, 2014

From:           Free Marissa Now Mobilization Campaign
FreeMarissaNow@gmail.com
www.freemarissanow.org

Angela Corey Aims to Increase Marissa Alexander Sentence to 60 Years; Outrageous Targeting of Alexander Impacts All Women. 

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Demonstrating a stunning abuse of power, Florida State Prosecutor, Angela Corey, announced that she aims to increase the prison sentence for Marissa Alexander from 20 to 60 years in the upcoming July 28th trial.  In 2012, Alexander – an African American mother of three in Jacksonville, Florida —  was sentenced to a mandatory minimum of 20 years for firing a warning shot upwards into a wall to defend her life from her abusive estranged husband.  She caused no injuries.  Alexander successfully appealed the unjust trial and was granted a new trial. In November 2013, after serving nearly three years in prison, she was released on bond to home detention until her new trial.

Yet as a consequence of winning the appeal to hopefully secure a more fair trial, Alexander now faces the alarming prospect that the original devastating sentence could be tripled in the new trial.  In the upcoming trial, Corey says she intends to seek three 20 year sentences for Alexander to be served consecutively rather than concurrently, tripling the mandatory minimum to 60 years.

Free Marissa Now member and victim’s advocate, Sumayya Fire, stated, “Remember that this entire case boils down to a woman defending her life from her husband who attacked her, strangled her, threatened to kill her, whose beatings have sent her to the hospital and likely caused her to have premature labor.  A husband who confirmed in a deposition that he beat her, that he was in a rage when he attacked her, and that he has beaten other women with whom he was involved.

Remember that when Marissa Alexander fired her warning shot to save her own life, she caused no injuries.  Now she’s facing the very real possibility of spending the rest of her life in prison for that act of self-defense.  That should send a chill down the back of every person in this country who believes that women who are attacked have the right to defend themselves.  Anyone who believes that domestic violence is unjust should be deeply shaken by Corey’s abusive prosecution of Marissa Alexander and should be advocating for Alexander’s freedom.”

Sumayya Fire and other members of Free Marissa Now believe that Angela Corey has launched a campaign of escalating punishment of Marissa Alexander to shield herself from charges of mishandling trials and failing to secure guilty verdicts for the murders of black teens, Jordan Davis and Trayvon Martin, in addition to various lawsuits targeting her office for misconduct, and criticism for a pattern of maliciously over-charging defendants in order to bully them into plea bargains. ”

Corey is on the defense and appears to be substituting vindictiveness for justice,” said Free Marissa Now member, Helen Gilbert. “If anyone still thought Angela Corey was seeking justice rather than making a political power-play, this latest news must erase all doubt. Corey is using the full power of the system to serve her own political ambitions, at the sake of one woman’s life and every woman’s safety.”

Despite Corey’s scare and smear tactics, the national Free Marissa Now Mobilization Campaign is resolved to fight for Marissa Alexander’s freedom, and for the lives and freedom of all victims of domestic violence.  The campaign calls on the Florida legislature to repeal all mandatory minimum laws, and ensure that judges have discretion over whether sentences can be served consecutively or concurrently.

Jacksonville activist and Free Marissa Now leader Aleta Alston-Toure’ adds, “We also call on all people who want to end domestic violence, who believe in the right to self-defense, and who want to end mass incarceration to support the Marissa Alexander Legal Defense Fund.  Alexander faces $250,000 in legal fees and $2,205 for the ankle monitor she is forced to wear while under house arrest. All these cost are waged against an innocent woman who needs everyone’s help.

A 60 year sentence for Marissa Alexander would not only be devastating for her, her children and family, and her community, it would be a decisive blow to the right to self defense for black women and all women.  Incarcerating Marissa Alexander will send a strong message to all survivors that violence against them will be ignored and they instead will be subject to prosecution if they defend their lives. It is up to us to make sure victims of domestic violence are not forced to choose between saving their lives and spending the rest of their lives in prison. Enough is enough!  Please join Free Marissa Now!”

Contributions to the Marissa Alexander Freedom Fund can be made at http://igg.me/at/freemarissa2. Free Marissa Now can be reached at www.freemarissanow.org, freemarissanow@gmail.com, and on facebooktwitter, and tumblr at “freemarissanow”.

The information in this post was taken from “The Free Marissa Now” webpage in support of the Mobilization Campaign, which is an international grassroots campaign led by a core of organizers representing the African American/Black Women’s Cultural Alliance, New Jim Crow Movement – Jacksonville, Radical Women, INCITE!, and the Pacific Northwest Alliance to Free Marissa Alexander.


Mr. David Ruffin

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I’ve been blessed to have lived during a time when the music of our culture reached center stage and changed the world. I have heard the voices of many great singers, but none has ever been greater the David Eli Ruffin. I know the Temptation story and not just from the movie.

To tell you the truth I’ve blessed to have had my life enhanced by their music sung by Mr. Ruffin. I have also been blessed to have met several of the group’s members over the years, and one of its lead singers was a good friend, whom I admired and miss dearly. I hear his voice almost daily in song. I wish that friend was Mr. Ruffin, but I am too young to have had that good fortune.

I simply want to pay homage to this man whose music was a huge influence upon my life, particularly my young life, to which I am grateful. I once watched a documentary where his son was interviewed and something he said struck in a profound way. He said, “My daddy wanted love, but he got fame”. We know from the many talented artists who have left us of late that there is a line between triumph and tragedy. That line is often thin and frequently ends sadly.

David Ruffin walked that line with tragic consequences. Ruffin will always be remembered as the mightiest of all the Temptations lead singers. He was one of “the voices” that made the Temptations a legacy and will live on in the depths of our souls. We will always remember that sexy, gritty voice, those trademark glasses, and that stage charisma that sums up the one and only David Ruffin, and even that little crack in his voice was ok, well it wasn’t ok, but that was David Ruffin.

His songs were like windows into his soul, exposing his greatest fears as a lover and a man. Even “happy” songs like “My Girl” brought out vulnerability in his voice. His relationship with the Temptations was a stormy one, but the marriage produced defining moments in 1960’s soul music explosion. His voice inspired just about every singer who sung to include the likes of Rod Stewart, George Michael, Daryl Hall, and Bruce Springsteen, just to name a few – his influence is everlasting. We’ll never know how good he might have been, but we can rejoice in what he left behind.

Born Davis Eli Ruffin, on January 18, 1941 in Whynot, Mississippi. A sickly child, inflicted with both rheumatic fever and asthma. His mother died in childbirth, and he was raised by his father, a Baptist Minister. He was a complex man and master vocalist with a gospel trained voice that would gain him the affection of several generations of listeners, but Ruffin had more than a voice – he had a persona.

In the best of his music, there was a dark, terrible, tragic, and a personal beauty. A good example would be in his self-penned composition “Statue of a Fool”, written when he was just 18 years old, in which he sees himself as a “man who lets love slip through his hands.”

My favorite line in that tune was “On his face, a gold tear should be placed to honor every tear he shed. And I think it would show, and everyone would know, concealed inside is a broken heart.” This was a powerful statement that spoke to the depth of his soul. However, as history would record he would share his most private pain in the Temptations’ biggest hits. Songs like “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” and “Since I Lost My Baby”, and the chilling “I Wish It Would Rain.

All of these songs were rooted in gospel where David first began singing in The Ruffin Family and The Spiritual Trying Four with his father, his sister Rita Mae, older brothers Jimmy and Quincy. David left home at 13 following his father’s footsteps to practice the ministry, but was sidetracked, singing in Memphis talent shows where he met a young Elvis Presley. He later sang with the gospel group The Dixie Nightingales out of Memphis, Tennessee, and toured with likes of The Womack Brothers, The Swan Silvertones, The Staple Singers, and the Dixie Hummingbirds.

It was with these gospel groups that Ruffin would develop his stage personality, dropping to his knees and doing splits, just like the late Jackie Wilson before him, and David’s show stopping performances within the group would be enough to get him noticed on the secular side.

Then in 1964, when problems arose between the Temptations and group member Elbridge Bryant, David would be invited to join the group. Shortly after David’s arrival, the group would record “The Way You Do The Things You Do”, a Smokey Robinson number with Eddie Kendricks on lead. Gone for a three-week gig in Saginaw, Michigan, the group would return home to find themselves with their first hit. It is said that when David saw the chart standings, he sat down on the long chaise lounge in the Motown lobby, took off his glasses, and cried like a baby.

Ruffin would turn out be an electrifying and dynamic force, when soon after he would bring them their first universal #1 hit, “My Girl”, recorded just before Christmas in 1964, a tune that would turn the group into a household word and legends. The group began turning out one hit after another, and when David took such up-tempo hits as “(I know), I’m Losing You”, to the stage, he became a magnetic field of charisma. His greatness would then shine, and his permanent mark on the pages of history was sealed.

It is reported that Pop Star Michael Jackson paid for his funeral, and numerous celebrities were in attendance at his home going service, including Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Martha Reeves, Mary Wilson, members of the Temptations, the Four Tops, and the Miracles. At the service, Stevie Wonder told the audience: “We’re confronted with a problem that touches every one of us. We’re confronted with the most devastating slave owner of all times.” Minister Louis Farrakhan, head of the Nation of Islam, who spoke told the mournful audience, “In David there is a lesson. We should not clap our hands and mourn, for he is out of trouble now. You are still in it.”

It is not my intent to rewrite history or to re-tell a story that we all know. Rather to simply say, thank you Mr. Ruffin and to say you are gone – but not forgotten? And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

 DAVID RUFFIN GETS PERSONAL


                                           

“Just a Season”

http://johntwills.com


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