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Political Theater

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Politics has been so ridicule lately that I have not found it worth the words to render a perspective. For example, congress wastes its time voting to repeal what they call Obamacare – again. Yesterday was the thirty-eighth attempt, as if this time would be the charm. Then there are the concocted scandals with talk of impeaching the president. The conservatives will take ever opportunity to attack the president, whether he has anything to do with it or not.

I read Ruth Marcus’ column this morning and this is what she calls the trifecta of scandals:

Benghazi. With the e-mail chain released, the chief takeaway should be this administration’s remarkable capacity to be its own worst enemy. It has managed to look as if it were executing a cover-up without having anything to cover up. The real scandal of Benghazi remains what previous inquiries concluded — that “systemic failures” of leadership resulted in “grossly inadequate” security.

Internal Revenue Service. With the Treasury Department inspector general’s report released, the chief takeaway should be the bureaucracy’s remarkable capacity for incompetence and stupidity. “My question is who’s going to jail over this scandal?” House Speaker John Boehner thundered Wednesday. Mr. Speaker, I hate to disappoint you, but no one. Unless we’ve criminalized idiocy, in which case, better start building more prisons.

Associated Press leak probe. This one hits close to home, and while the Justice Department insists that it subpoenaed the phone records only after exhausting other avenues of investigation, the net it cast — records from more than 20 phone lines used by about 100 journalists — remains incomprehensibly, chillingly broad. How nice for the president to now renew his call for a reporter’s shield law, having previously worked to water down the proposal. Talk about the horse and the barn.

She when on to say, “bad things happen in second-term presidencies, often in clumps. This is no coincidence; first-term chickens come home to roost in a second term. The inevitable arrogance bred by winning reelection never helps. But this bad run demands perspective.

I agree that after this some perspective is required. There have been real scandals by past presidents like Katrina, Monica Lewinsky, Iran-contra, or Water Gate. I might go further and say what Kennedy did not do while southern justice attacked African Americans for protesting peacefully. It is amazing when there is a GOP scandal they circle the wagon and call it the growing pains of democracy. No big deal when it’s them. For example, the selling of drugs connected to Iran-contra. No big deal.

More recently, the last administration lied to take us to war and wrecked the economy. Not to mention that this congress is the most ineffective congress ever, which they lead. Yet, they waist time with these matters instead of, say, closing GITMO, bring the troops home, filling presidential appointments, passing a jobs bill and I could go on and on.

The issue with Benghazi is that four Americans died, and my sympathy’s go to those families, but can the thousands who died in the wars that I say caused greater damage resulting from their lies in both cost and death. The last president was able to pass legislation with sweeping intrusions upon our freedom via the Patriot Act but when this president looks into AP leaks to protect the nation, he is chided.

Has President Obama done a good job – YES! He has faced opposition from the right at every turn unlike the last administration. They never mention how bad the republicans screwed up the country prior to him taking the office. Yet, they cry “the American people” at every opportunity. Maybe these folk should realize that their job is not to administer the politics of shame. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

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The One And Only

lenaLena Horne, the electrifying beauty and uncompromising performer, shattered racial boundaries by changing the way Hollywood presented black women for six-decades through a singing career on stage, television and in films.

She is best described in her own words saying “my identity was clear because I no longer have to be a ‘credit,’ I don’t have to be a ‘symbol’ to anybody. I don’t have to be a ‘first’ to anybody. I don’t have to be an imitation of a white woman that Hollywood sort of hoped I’d become. I’m me, and I’m like nobody else.”

Lena Mary Calhoun Horne was born June 30, 1917, in Brooklyn, N.Y. Her father was a civil servant and gambler who largely abandoned the family. Her mother, an actress, was largely absent from Ms. Horne’s early life because of work on the black theater circuit. Shifted at first among friends and relatives, Ms. Horne was raised mostly by her maternal grandmother, a stern social worker and suffragette in Bedford-Stuyvesant; then a middle-class Brooklyn neighborhood. Ms. Horne said she was influenced by her grandmother’s “polite ferocity.”

She was the first black woman to sign a meaningful long-term contract with a major studio, a contract that said she would never have to play a maid. This single act transformed the image of the African American woman in Hollywood. As film historian Donald Bogle said, “Movies are a powerful medium and always depicted African American women before Lena Horne as hefty, mammy-like maids who were ditzy and giggling… Lena Horne becomes the first one the studios begin to look at differently… Really just by being there, being composed and onscreen with her dignity intact paved the way for a new day” for black actresses.

Her reputation in Hollywood rested on a handful of classic musical films. Among the best were two all-black musicals from 1943: “Cabin in the Sky,” as a small-town temptress who pursues Eddie “Rochester” Anderson; and “Stormy Weather,” in which she played a career-obsessed singer opposite Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. She shared billing with hugely famous white entertainers such as Gene Kelly, Lucille Ball, Mickey Rooney and Red Skelton but was segregated onscreen so producers could clip out her singing when the movies ran in the South.

Metro Goldwyn Mayer studios featured Ms. Horne in movies and advertisements as glamorously as white beauties including Hedy Lamarr, Rita Hayworth and Betty Grable. James Gavin, who has written a biography of Ms. Horne, said: “Given the horrible restrictions of the time, MGM bent over backward to do everything they could. After MGM, she was an international star, and that made her later career possible, made her a superstar.”

Ms. Horne appeared on television and at major concerts halls in New York, London and Paris. She starred on Broadway twice, and her 1981 revue, “Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music,” set the standard for the one-person musical show, reviewers said. The performance also netted her a special Tony Award and two Grammy Awards. She was formidable and the first black cabaret star for white society.

As a songstress her repertoire consisted of sophisticated ballads of Cole Porter, George and Ira Gershwin, Frank Loesser and Billy Strayhorn. She loved the music but also said she liked surprising the white audience who expected black entertainers to sing hot jazz or blues and dance wildly. In her singing, Ms. Horne showed great range and could convincingly shift between jazz, blues and cabaret ballads. New Yorker jazz writer Whitney Balliett praised her “sense of dynamics that allowed her to whisper and wheedle and shout.”

In 1963, Ms. Horne appeared at the civil rights March on Washington with Harry Belafonte and Dick Gregory and was part of a group, which included authors James Baldwin and Lorraine Hansberry that met with Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy to urge a more active approach to desegregation.

Ms. Horne also used her celebrity to rally front-line civil rights activists in the South and was a fundraiser for civil right groups including the NAACP and the National Council of Negro Women. After the triumph of her 1981 Broadway show, she led an increasingly isolated life in her Manhattan apartment.

Over my lifetime I have seen and known giants who have illuminated the world. No star has shined brighter than “The Horne”. Ms. Horne as you take your rest among the ghost of the greats now belong to the ages. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

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Racism Is Alive

racimHave you asked yourself “What is Racism?” Webster says it is a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities, and racial differences that produce an inherent superiority of a particular race. This does not adequately explain or represent the reality of what we’re witnessing in today’s political and social environments. I believe racism is a misunderstood psychology, and yes there is a psychology to racism, which causes the confusion in the minds of many.

Today we see that racial prejudice or discrimination, which is a prejudicial outlook, action, or treatment is somehow believed to be directed toward people of the dominate race that they’re calling reverse discrimination. Yet, those same people enjoy the wealth built on the backs of those who were truly discriminated against as a result of racism. Case in point, every so many years the Voting Rights Act must be reauthorized so African Americans can have the right to vote. Shouldn’t it be permanent as the founding documents claim that “All men are created equal”!

The legacy of dependency, apathy, and entrenchment of the American social order from the beginning provides clear evidence of its diabolical intent to bankrupt the souls of African Americans based on an ideology of supremacy. We are the descendents of stolen souls who bear the burden of a system that perpetrated, in the name of God, the greatest crime known to man. Hence, from the beginning, people of African descent were intended to be a nation of people living within a nation without a nationality.

~ “Law and Order” music plays ~

I read an article, “When Racists Speak Their Unspoken Truths” by Anthony Asadullah Samad, Ph.D., who made a statement that speaks loudly to this issue. “It’s what racists claimed for 235 years that American society is about rights (mainly theirs, everybody else’s can be stepped on) and not about race. It’s why racists wore hoods and sheets in public, and why their powerful societies that controlled political and economic affairs were always secret. The less you know about what they think, the less you can respond to how they think, even though the social, political and economic outcomes will tell you what they think.” It seems that those who claim racism, or not, are active participants in the continuance of this ideology and (in their minds) think they are now subjected to it.

I think we should understand the sub-text of what we are seeing today, at least from a power and political perspective. Let look at, for example, the strategic effort to marginalize a black President, which is consistent with the Republican Party’s objective of marginalizing the Democratic Party because of its large minority support. Now just like back in the days of segregation, its staunchest supporters were Southerners, Mid-Westerners and poor whites, and those people of that mindset didn’t vote for President Obama anyway. They are probably in a state of shock because much of the country overcame their racial insensibilities to elect a black President in the first place. We see how far and deep racism is within certain elements of society as a result.

African American’s, and other minorities, must understand that many blacks still bear the scars of a despicable history and the untreated wounds of our forefather’s bondage. As you have traveled with me though my chronicles, my purpose is to simply offer explanations causing people to look at and understand the root cause of the asymptomatic behaviors, and that this is the result of conditioning by a system that never viewed us as equal.

This intolerance or behavior was never unlearned and have been passed down from generation to generation. Over my relatively short lifetime, I have been referred to as Colored, Negro, Afro-American, Black, African American, and worst. All were polite terms assigned to make known that people who of color were not American citizens. Remember the statement in the country’s blueprint that says clearly “3/5 a man” and did not mention women at all.

The concept of African Americans being slaves, physically or mentally, is as old as the nation itself, designed to deprive a people of its culture and knowledge through sustained policies of control. To include the age old practice, that has been very effective, “divide and conquer” because this form of thinking has one purpose; the system is designed to protect the system. Therefore, when you look at the facts of what we have experienced and what they imply relating to this new phenomenon is as far apart as the vastness of the universe.

As tenacious beings, we must understand that there is no such thing as an inferior mind unless you listen to the untruth. To overcome these indignities we must realize that education is the single most important ingredient necessary to neutralize the forces that breed poverty and despair. So I say it’s time for an awakening, if for no other reason than to honor those who sacrificed so much in order that we could live life in abundance. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

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Christians with Pervasive Issues

book coverAbout The Book

Even as a faithful Christian, there may be times when you feel that there is no hope of escaping issues and themes in your life that ensnare and trip you up time and time again. When a certain pattern of behavior or type of suffering has been following you all your life, it’s hard to believe that you can ever escape from it. Christians with Pervasive Issues shows us that every child of God can be delivered from issues that cause them to be a victim, rather than walking in victory. In compassionate, no-nonsense language, Annie Brown demonstrates that with genuine repentance, using God’s principles, and the right counseling/support, you can overcome anything. Christians with Pervasive Issues gives you the ray of hope you need in order to heal your life, and get closer to God.

About The Author

photoAnnie Brown is the mother of four adult children, five grandchildren, and one great grandchild. She is a licensed minister and social worker. As a social worker, Annie works the terminally ill, providing emotional support at the most critical time in an individual’s life. It is Annie’s desire that Christians work through their pervasive issues before the end of life, so that the transition between death and eternity can be smooth, and not cluttered with unresolved conflicts.

The Meaning of Pervasive Issues

I WAS GETTING ready for work and suddenly the words “Pervasive Issues” were dropped into my spirit. Can you imagine someone who is not normally a morning person having something so important to deal with? I could not even think of the meaning of “pervasive,” so I could not comprehend what was being said to me. I went on to work, but it did not leave me. I shared what had been dropped into my spirit with my co-worker who is an encourager. He gave me a push to pursue the message the Spirit was conveying, and to understand what God wanted me to write. I could not begin until I did some preliminary homework. I had to figure out what part of speech that “pervasive” was. “Pervasive” is an adjective, which served as a modifier to the noun (issue). Merriam-Webster Dictionary defined it as “spreading through every part.” If an issue is pervasive, it permeates the whole of something. Pervasive issues need to be dealt with within the Body of Christ.

Book Excerpt

A Remedy to Get to the Root of the Problem

WHAT IS NEEDED is that the people of God “must” clean out their secret compartments and confess that they need the Lord to deliver them. Confession is made unto salvation (deliverance). If we confess our faults, the Lord is faithful in forgiving us. You may ask, “Why do I have to confess if I was not responsible for what happened to me?”

The issue then becomes whether you have forgiven the person that caused me this harm. If there is no forgiveness, then you become a victim twice: a victim of circumstance, and a victim of bondage. This can be in some ways more dangerous than cancer. This will always be eating away at you. With cancer, at least you know what is going on in your body. Being a victim of circumstance and having an unforgiving heart bring torment. This torment becomes a part of you in such a way that it eats through your mind, destroys your inner peace, and puts your soul in jeopardy because it becomes a heart matter of sin.

Recognizing There Is a Need

EVERY INDIVIDUAL IN the Body of Christ has strengths and needs. Most times the two words strength and weakness are used to describe parts of your abilities to cope. I like the word needs instead of weakness, because weakness denotes that I just cannot help it.

However, the word need helps me to understand that I am insufficient within myself to furnish the supply. In other words, I don’t have what it takes to get this matter taken care of and I “need” help. Help, Lord! The Word of God has declared that God will supply all of our needs according to His riches in glory. Denying our helplessness and unwillingness to take the need to God only prolongs getting deliverance and healing. The Lord revealed that the Body of Christ was compared to harvest time when it is gone and the people are left in dire need.

Let us look at Jeremiah 8:20, which stated, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved [delivered].”

Connect with the Author

Email Address: aclara2002@yahoo.com
Website www.outskirtspress.com/christianswithpervasiveissues
Facebook link

Order a copy

Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Christians-with-Pervasive-Issues-ebook/dp/B005IAAPMK/ref=dp_kinw_strp_1

Outskirts Press: http://outskirtspress.com/webpage.php?ISBN=9781432775766

Tour Schedule: Write Now Literary Virtual Book Tour http://wnlbooktours.com/annie-brown/

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The Snake

sMy Granddaddy would tell me fascinating stories designed to develop and guide me into manhood. In fact, he would specifically use the phrase: “I raised you to be a man and as a man, you don’t know what you may have to do but when the time comes, you do it.” I heard this that even today it brings a warm smile – “when I have to do it”. He said it so often throughout my youth that to me it was more like a commandment.

I loved Granddaddy more than life itself. I knew, even then, his teachings were an inspired declaration of his celestial will or more simply put – his vision that shaped my destiny defining my purpose. Pop’s would teach me lessons, often times, like an Aesop Fables to make me think and it was my job to figure out the moral of the story.

This is my favorite:

The way the story was told to me, Granddaddy’s friend, Mr. Bob whose job was to offer a prayer every Sunday morning at church during the service prior to the preacher’s sermon, a job he had held for years. Sunday was a special day for the community, and for him to have a position where he would have the attention of everyone was a big deal. More accurately stated it was a platform for him to perform. He would have been a great entertainer.

Mr. Bob would walk to church every Sunday morning, rain or shine, from his home. The trip was several miles up and down hills and around curves, and he would be dressed in his best suit for the morning service. During the walk he would practice his part for the service, the prayer, with the intention of making it a show complete with screams and tears. This show would sometimes last thirty minutes. There were many Sundays one would wonder how one man could have so much to ask of the Lord and maybe say, please, let somebody else get a blessing.

On his way to church this particular Sunday, Mr. Bob came across an injured snake. In what he perceived as divine intervention, God said to him, help this poor creature. He realized he did not have a prayer for that day’s service, so he thought, wow, if I help the snake I can pray for us to have the strength to help all of God’s creatures. Since the snake is the lowliest of all creatures, this would really inspire the congregation and hopefully give them the encouragement to do the same at least until next Sunday’s message. So he picked up the badly injured snake and placed him in a safe place until he could return from church.

With great energy, and now inspired, Mr. Bob went on his way. He planned and practiced his prayer as he marched on to church. After he arrived and exchanged a few greetings, the service began with a joyful noise, as they say, meaning full of song. Then it was his turn to pray. He began to pray with a powerful tone, full of emotion. He asked God to give each person within the sound of his voice the strength to reach out and help all God’s creatures, from the loving dove to the lowly snake. His message had many in the tiny church standing with shouts of Amen. He felt he had done his job as he closed, asking God to bless the church and said Amen. In his usual style this took about a half hour.

To his surprise, the pastor also chose a sermon nearly identical to his message which took about another hour and a half, talking about helping all of God’s creatures. What a great day it was, Mr. Bob thought. Normally after the service ended everyone hung around and fellowshipped as it was one of the few chances they had to socialize. Mr. Bob would not hang around on this day – he had a mission and left church in a hurry. He rushed back to the spot where his injured snake was placed hoping it would still be there. He was very excited when he arrived to find it was where he left it. He put his snake in a burlap bag he had gotten from the church and took the snake home.

Over the next several weeks Mr. Bob cared for this creature, desperately trying to save the snake and nursing it back to health. About three weeks later he thought it was time to take his snake back to where he found it, thinking it was well enough to be set free. The following Sunday, he put on his best suit and started his journey to church with snake in hand. As he arrived at the spot where he had found it, he thought, what a wonderful thing he had done. He was sure to receive God’s blessing for this act of kindness.

He rubbed the snake gently and said goodbye. However, when he reached into the bag to grab it, suddenly the snake raised his head and bit him. Then bit him again and again. Mr. Bob cried out, “Why would you bite me after all I’ve done for you? My God why?” I guess he was expecting an answer from God, but none came. He repeated his cry once more. Then the snake stuck his head out of the bag and said, “I am a snake and that’s what we do.”After hearing this story over and over again, I finally figured out what it meant. It was a lesson that would prove to be invaluable.

Be careful in your dealings with people because people, just like the snake, will hurt you – that’s what they do. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

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His-Story: The Bush Library

amd-bush-pet-goat-jpgHistory has repeatedly shown that, as it is written, it is generally a pack of lies. Well “W” is in the spotlight as he gets to reinvent a narrative to reflect his presidency. This is always a good thing, if there was something positive or meaningful to say. I seriously doubt there will be anything that reflects what most of us view as a disaster. The first clue was choosing “Shooter” as Vice President!

In my view there were several issues or failures of his two terms as president. One was the lasting image of his continuing to read a picture book to grade-schoolers after his top aides told him that the World Trade Center’s had been attacked on 9/11. The second thing that stands out is his response to hurricane Katrina. Can’t you still see him smiling as he looked out of the window of Air Force One during his “fly-bye” or over of New Orleans and when he finally showed-up all the heaping praise he gave Brownie for doing a “heck of a job”?

I understand that history is written by the victors and long after those who witnessed the events are dead – the story will change and a very different rendition will be installed. We should have known his presidency would be a disaster from the very start when he stole the election. He came into office with a sizeable surplus and left America with the worst financial crisis since the 1930s. Of course we should remember “No Child Left Behind” where every child was left behind.

On his watch the worst attack ever on American soil occurred which caused him to take us into two unfunded wars where we are still fighting ten years later. Not to mention all of the deaths and carnage from them during his reign. Surely we cannot forget the “tax cuts” for the rich. He is in most circles known as the biggest spender of any president. Ok, just hold on I am going to get to something good!

Here is the good part: it is much easier to honor, respect and even like the man — now that he’s no longer in the White House. The other good thing is that his presidency will fall behind Nixon and Andrew Johnson who distinctively said, “”This is a country for white men, and by God, as long as I am President, it shall be a government for white men.” — Andrew Johnson, 1866

Many will remember Bush as a contender for the “worst president ever”. More might argue that he more aptly deserves a multi-million-dollar prison cell for a litany of war crimes and not a structure filled with misgivings, he calls a presidential library. With this he can now say “Mission Accomplished”. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

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R.I.P Richie Havens “Freedom”

th 11To mark the passing of legendary protest singer Richie Havens.  I share his performance of “Freedom” in memory of his protest against the Iraq War. You may recall the song from Havens’ performance at Woodstock, where he was the first act to take the stage, and did so quite dramatically. After a nearly 50-year career, Havens died Monday at age 72 in his New Jersey home after a sudden heart attack.

Rest In Peace my brother! And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

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The Apollo Theater Connection

FotoFlexer_PhotoIn the early 70s a new breed of gangsters appeared in the hamlet of Harlem who were very different from the legendary figures of old, such as Madam Queen and Bumpy Johnson. We’ve all heard of Frank Lucas whose power derived from cutting out the middle man and Nicky Barnes who came to be known as “Mr. Untouchable” who established the mafia like “Council”.

There have been books and movies about these guys, deserved or not, but their stature has gained near legendary status. But there was one member of the notorious or so-called Council that is seldom mentioned. He is Guy Fisher who is the only BLACK MAN to own an icon of our culture “The Apollo Theater”. That’s right, the world renowned and legendary Apollo Theater throughout its existence has only been owned by one BLACK MAN. I found this amazing!

Fisher saw his narrow escape from prison as a second lease on life after a case that ended in a huge jury and decided to become a legitimate businessman. In early 1978, using monies he’d earned through the heroin trade, Fisher purchased the crumbling Apollo Theater in Harlem. He placed the deed in his half brother’s name, and began employing members of the neighborhood to help in its rehabilitation. In May of that year, the new Apollo was unveiled to the community, drawing Motown acts such as Gladys Knight, The Temptations, and other legends.

By 1973, at the age of 25, Fisher made it into Barnes’ exclusive underground organization, The Council, which consisted of a seven-member circle of trusted associates. Each of the individual partners in Barnes’ syndicate had their own crew of men to distribute heroin to smaller dealers. They would then collect the drug money, and distribute the profits accordingly. Through these dealings, Barnes and Fisher became close friends and confidantes. They also began investing in businesses together, including two, multi-million dollar housing complexes.

A year later, local police stopped Fisher for a routine traffic violation. Fisher was using a false driver’s license, and attempted to evade arrest by bribing law enforcement agents with $100,000 he had stashed in his trunk. The officials refused the money, and the incident landed Fisher in prison for nine months. While serving his time, The Council was under close investigation by undercover law enforcement agents for their dealings in the heroin trade.

In 1977, sparked by an article in The New York Times magazine naming Barnes “Mr. Untouchable,” then-President Jimmy Carter placed enormous pressure on federal agents to dismantle The Council. That September, Barnes and The Council were placed on trial. Much of the federal law enforcement’s undercover surveillance of Barnes and his group occurred while Fisher was imprisoned.

Because of this fact, Fisher’s lawyer was able to argue that his client did not participate in the conspiracy mentioned in the federal case. This fact led to a hung jury in Fisher’s trial, and he became the only member to escape sentencing. Despite his legitimate success, Fisher resumed the heroin trade as head of The Council with Barnes’ help. But after money for Barnes’ legal fees started to disappear, the former drug kingpin grew resentful of Fisher’s success on the outside. The final straw came when Fisher began an affair with one of Barnes’ girlfriends. Feeling betrayed, Barnes broke the code of The Council and turned informant in the early 80s.

In March of 1983, using information Barnes supplied, federal agents finally gathered enough evidence to put Fisher and several of his associates on trial. He was sentenced to life without parole for his role in running a criminal enterprise, and was sent to Marion Federal Prison in Illinois. While in prison, Fisher wrote several novels, earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and began mentoring inmates. In 2008, he completed his Ph.D. in sociology. He continues to serve his life sentence, despite several appeals, at the United States Penitentiary, Tucson in Arizona..

Despite how the ill gotten gains were obtained I wondered how many people knew that we never owned one of the African American community’s most recognizable and distinguished icons. Maybe I’ll just call this a little known fact hidden in black history. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

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The State Of Black America

 State-of-Black-America

We will soon commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which was a watershed moment in our history. However, we must be mindful that it was not a welcomed event as most of white America and the Kennedy Administration were very much against such a gathering of blacks in the nation’s capital. I am saddened to say that as a community, we are not much better off today than we were fifty years ago.

I’m not saying that there has not been significant and important progress in the last 50 years. Surely for some, but if Dr. King were to have an opinion – he would be very displeased. Marc Morial, President of the National Urban League, believes there’s a decrease in poverty, increases in high school graduation rates and enrollment rates”. This may well be true but I wonder what statistics has he’s seen to come to this conclusion.

I don’t profess to be as honorable or noteworthy as some of our so-called leaders but the disparity between black Americans and white Americans when it comes to jobs, income, healthcare and wealth remains vast and much too large. When you look at the urban communities – the African American plight is worse than ever in most of these categories.

Recently, several organizations gathered for the release of the annual “State of Black America” report, which highlighted the economic forecast for African Americans. Although the report is presented annually, this year, the Urban League commissioned a half-century study to commemorate the 1963 March on Washington.

The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Chair Marcia Fudge reported that “the unemployment rate is double for blacks than for whites, we’ve lost more homes to foreclosure than whites and we’ve lost more wealth than whites”. Yet, they say the percentage of blacks living in poverty has declined 23 points and the percentage of black children living in poverty is down by 22 points since 1963.

It is worth mentioning that the march was prior to the signing of any of the landmark civil rights legislation which adds little credibility to that statement. It is also noteworthy to remember that at that time, in 1963, Jim Crow was the law of the land and its restrictions did not allow us to use the same bathrooms or eat at lunch counters. So, if you consider this environment – minimal gains have been made to be viewed as great progress.  

The report credits the civil rights measures that were enacted to open the doors of opportunity for blacks in education and standards of living. Rep. Chaka Fattah said, “It is without contradiction that African Americans have made extraordinary progress in the report… But, compared to the majority, we still have some room to grow”. I wonder if his constituents would agree in Philadelphia?

Morial then said, as the budget debate continues in Washington on whether to cut critical program funding, the “State of Black America 2013” highlights a harsh reality. “Budget cutting fever will cause economic pneumonia. If we are to move toward a lasting economic recovery, full equality and empowerment, we must apply sustainable solutions keenly focusing on jobs for all Americans and closing the gaps that result in a tale of two Americas”.

 I will tell you that I have lived long enough to have witnessed and know that people will say anything, regardless of complication, on any subject. Many will say “there is no race problem. There’s a black president”. Or they will point to the few, out 42 million, successful African Americans, and I am proud of them.

However, as we commemorate the March that produced the famous “I have a Dream Speech” I believe it is fair to say that most African Americans will see the remnants of the “Dream” more as a “Nightmare”. I have to say from my vantage point the forecast looks GRIM! And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

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Change Beyond The Pain

About The Book

CBP Cover eBook-The purpose of this book is to teach you how to transform your life.  While this book is no substitute for the Word of God (The Bible), let this be a guide that simply helps you gain a deeper understanding of what God is trying to impart in all of us.  

Change Beyond The Pain will help you discover:
•    True healing comes from allowing God to transform your life
•    You do not have to revert back to the same cycle of hurt, anger, fear and depression
•    God has a plan for your life
•    There is power and purpose in your pain
This book will teach you how to move beyond accepting change to embracing transformation.  So, if you are seeking restoration, grab your Bible, this book, and open your heart and watch the transformation begin.

About The Author

Monifa Robinson Groover, a native of New York City, moved to Teaneck, New Jersey with her family at the tender age of twelve.  Upon graduation from Teaneck High School, Monifa obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from Clark Atlanta University (Atlanta, GA), as well as a Master of Social Work Degree from Smith College School of Social Work (Northampton, MA).  After relocating to Atlanta, Georgia, and extensive work in the field of social services, she obtained a Master of Public Administration Degree with a concentration in Management from Troy State University (Atlanta, GA).

Head shot 1Monifa has devoted her life to helping others see the potential that lies within them.  Having provided a number of services for diverse populations including but not limited to perpetrators of sexual crimes, individuals faced with substance abuse challenges and individuals in the criminal justice system; as well as having coached women entrepreneurs, her experience has taught her that neither position nor status dictate the level of pain and misfortune one may encounter.  It was at this time she realized the call on her life was much greater.

In 2003 she released her first book entitled “Within Your Reach, Inspiration That Quiets the Mind and Soothes the Soul”. (ISBN: 1-930231-03-2). This book is filled with devotions that shows people how to strategically turn their pain into gain, tragedy into triumph and victimization into victorious living.  She released her second book entitled “Change Beyond The Pain” in 2012 (ISBN: 978-0-9836776-0-4).  This book provides a more in-depth look at how individuals can use the Word of God to transform their lives.  It also shows them how to begin moving beyond the blows that life may sometimes deal.

Monifa has been called by God to help others reach their God-given potential.  Her duty is to equip others with the proper tools and resources to move beyond their circumstances and live healthier and more productive lives, which she believes can only be found when one has a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Her personal journey, combined with her education and work experience, and most importantly her relationship with Jesus Christ, collectively play a vital role in the work she passionately does today.  She resides in Savannah, Georgia and is a faithful member of New Covenant Holiness Church #3, located in Savannah, Georgia, where her beloved husband, Jamie Groover is pastor.

Email Address: customerservice@withinyourreach.org
Website www.withinyourreach.org
Twitter link https://twitter.com/WYRMinistries
Facebook link https://www.facebook.com/pages/Within-Your-Reach/157157084325867

Amazon link

Book Excerpts

Change Beyond The Pain is about learning how to transition away from a life of misery into a life filled with joy and peace. It is about allowing your character to be altered so that you no longer do the things that keep you in bondage.

Throughout the course of life, we will experience change whether it is positive, negative or indifferent. Most likely, we will also experience some sort of pain – whether it be mental, emotional, spiritual, or physical. If you haven’t experienced this yet, as the old folks would say, just keep living! There is nothing we can do to keep change and pain from being active participants in our lives. These two things are inevitable. They are unavoidable and are bound to happen. However, transformation is about making a conscious decision to modify our lives from the inside out.

Question: So if change and pain are unavoidable how can this guide help me?

Answer: Remember, this guide is entitled Change Beyond The Pain. The key word that links Change and Pain together is Beyond. Beyond signifies transition to a new level – it signifies movement away from. That, my dear, is the meaning of transformation  This book is designed to help you deal more effectively with change and pain. It will give you further clarity and understanding on how to make a smooth transition to the next level. It gives guidance on how to move away from your current situation. Not only that, but you will also learn how to stay away from the people, places and things that fight so hard to keep you down.

Remember, Transformation is an inside job, and once complete, there is no need to go back and redo anything – whereas change is constant and never ending.

book 1

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