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You Must VOTE!!!

2Elections are being held all over the nation this year. Most of these elections are on state and local level with issues that have national implications. The issues before voters encompass a wide range of concerns including union rights, voting rights, and women’s rights. Let us not be fooled by the right-wing because nothing about their views encompass the reality we face.

There are and will be issues placed before voters this fall and coming in 2016 that are serious and must not be taken lightly. Consider this, weren’t the rights of workers to organize collectively and negotiate for fair wages and safe working conditions determined long ago? If you like a 40 hour work week, overtime pay, weekends off, sick leave and paid vacations, you have no one to thank, but union organizers who brought workers together to demand these benefits.

The issue of raising the minimum wage for millions of workers and their families must be addressed in this age when “oligarchy” rules. Of course, there are other important issues. But just think about all of the people who sacrificed so much, like those who sacrificed their very lives to ensure that all citizens could exercise their constitutionally guaranteed right to vote.

Then there are the women’s issues; isn’t it settled law that women – as full citizens of this great nation – have the right to be secure in their own person – without Republican intrusion into the difficult and personal choices they make in respect to their own bodies?

One of the greatest difficulties we face by living in this democracy, if you believe that’s what this is, we must contend with the assaults from institutional racism. The highest court in the land is against the people; the House of Representatives is not a functional body, the police are combat soldiers, and you know what – it begs the question; who do they serve. Once we were slave, but today we are all slaves on the plantation. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

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 THIS VIDEO SAYS IT ALL


Gotta Let It Go

Synopsis:

Moments before Deidre Hunter signs the papers that will end her marriage to her cheating husband, her best friend and divorce attorney get murdered. Devastated by this tragedy, she sets out with one intent: to find the killer. In the midst of the investigation she finds herself attracted to Hill Harris, the handsome but elusive homicide detective assigned to handling the case.

Despite his warnings to follow proper police procedures, she strikes out to uncover clues on the crime-ridden streets of Baltimore which forces her into dangerous circumstances and potential heartache.

Excerpt from Chapter One:

The glint in his eyes dimmed, and his smile faded when I got to my feet. “So,” he said, clasping his hands behind his back. “I guess, this is it, huh?”

He looked at me with sad puppy eyes which always softened my heart and made me forgive him his indiscretions over and over again. But not this time. As I remembered his words, “you’ll never win,” which he spat at me like venom when he received the divorce papers, and they jolted me back to reality. Without a doubt, I had to go through with this, right here and right now.

“Yup,” I said, gritting my teeth. He had a real talent for rattling me. Every time I caught him lying or cheating, he somehow managed to turn things in his favor by focusing on ‘extenuating circumstances or the entertainment’—his definition of the women he bedded. I loved him, but it was no ordinary love. It’s the type of love that would make me go crazy or would kill me slowly. And I love me.

 He nonchalantly stretched out one arm, then the other, to adjust his gem studded cuff links in the sleeves of his starched white shirt. “So where’s your attorney?” he asked, smoothing the blue silk tie that matched the pinstripes of his elegant Italian suit. I couldn’t sit down any longer and let him continue to have the upper hand. So I straightened my back and then stood up next to him. Despite being five-seven from wearing three inch heels, he stood almost six inches taller than I, and he overshadowed me.

“Not to worry,” I snapped, grabbing my handbag. “We don’t want to keep you from being single a minute longer than necessary.” I tucked my handbag under my arm so hard I thought surely I would find a bruise later. “You’ve always been single in your mind and heart . . . and married only when it served your purpose.”

About the Author:

Introducing Author Deliah Lawrence” and her debut novel “GOTTA LET IT GO”, which won a finalist award in 2011 Next Generation Indie Book Awards in the multi-cultural category. Deliah is an amazingly gifted write with a creative writing style that will captive your imagination thought her romantic-suspense novel entitled, Gotta Let It Go. She’s currently working on her second novel, entitled, Love, Honor and Contempt which will be published soon.

She’s an attorney and member of the Maryland Writers Association.

Gotta Let It Go is now available for sale

Visit the following online stores to purchase a copy of my novel (trade paperback, hardback, Kindle, Nook) at http://www.amazon.com, http://www.barnesandnoble.com/ and www.xlibris.com/Bookstore.

http://johntwills.com


Najee Ali “Q&A”

In his newly published memoir, “Raising Hell,” Najee Ali takes readers inside the eventful life of a controversial figure — one whose journey from fearsome gang member to one of Los Angeles’ most recognized civil rights figures has played out largely in public. He recently sat down for a conversation about the book, some of the powerful forces he has confronted and how personal challenges have informed his life as an activist.

Why did you decide to write a memoir?

I wanted to chronicle the important events that have transpired not just in South Central L.A., but also nationally. Over the last 20 years, I have worked with, or for, nationally celebrated figures that include President Barack Obama, Rev. Al Sharpton, Martin Luther King III, Rev. Jesse Jackson and the late Michael Jackson. “Raising Hell” gives an insider perspective into what those experiences were like. And also, I wanted to reflect upon the tragic murders of Latasha Harlins, Sherrice Iverson, Tyisha Miller and Trayvon Martin and discuss how we as a community responded to these community crises. The book is a story about adversity, hope, change and redemption. It’s a blueprint for young Black America, to help them overcome the personal challenges they may face in their own lives.

You were born Ronald Todd Eskew. Tell us about changing your name, and why you felt that was important when you converted to Islam.

My conversion to Islam 20 years ago was a life-changing moment for me. Islam — as practiced by over one billion Muslims worldwide — is the faith that professes that, I’m not against Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, or any religion. I respect everyone’s choice of worship. I just prefer Islam. That’s what spoke to my heart. With a new faith, I chose a new name. I wanted to choose a Muslim name of African origin that I thought best fit my personality and had a meaning to it. My first name means “strong.” It was inspired by my favorite jazz artist, who I was listening to at the time on the radio, as I was making up my mind about my new name. My last name was inspired by the greatest boxer to ever live. From then on, I would be called Najee Ali.

A lot of your activism has centered on cases of police misconduct. Today, what is the state of the relationship between law enforcement and Black communities?

It’s a blessing to see that real, substantial change and police reform has come to the Los Angeles Police Department — based on not just my activism, but all the other activists, as we all fought tooth and nail to ensure change came after the Rodney King beating. We contributed some important work to help ensure our civil rights would be better protected, so things have improved in the last 20 years. But we still have more work to do to ensure the LAPD continues to have transparency and accountability in their dealings with the community.

Over the years, you’ve taken on some pretty powerful individuals — Rep. Maxine Waters, L.A. City Councilman Bernard Parks come to mind, for example. What has your activism cost you?

My activism hasn’t cost me anything. It’s my and the community’s job to hold them accountable when they’re not serving the community’s best interests. No elected official is above reproach. My activism has gained me the respect of the community of South L.A. I’m a homegrown grassroots community leader, who the community knows would never sell them out and have always fought on their behalf to help save lives — from negotiating gang truces to leading protests for social justice. I have been on the front lines for over 20 years and will continue to be, regardless of the cost.

In your book, you speak very candidly about your mother’s battle with addiction. How does that experience shape your view of the War on Drugs?

It’s a failed war. We need to focus on education, prevention, intervention, and treatment; we can’t arrest ourselves out of this war. I’m hopeful that our new district attorney, Jackie Lacey, will ensure that defendants with substance abuse problems can continue to receive treatment and not jail time.

As a Muslim, what are your views on Islamic extremism? What do you think about President Obama’s Middle East policy, with the use of drone strikes and other controversial methods related to the War on Terror? 

Islam is a faith practiced by over one billion peace-loving Muslims worldwide. Unfortunately, our religion has been hijacked by religious fanatics and extremists who have tarnished and damaged the image of Islam worldwide. Their terrorist acts don’t represent true Muslims or the teachings we follow in our holy book, the Holy Qur’an, which forbids terrorism. The American Muslim community, while calling for peace, should also call for President Obama to review some of the policies his administration is employing — with many innocent lives lost due to errant drone strikes. Our government is still holding prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, and the Patriot Act that was signed into law in the Bush Administration is still a threat to all Americans’ civil liberties.

You write very vividly about your participation in the L.A. Riots, which almost cost your life when a storeowner whose business you were vandalizing pointed a handgun at your chest. Twenty years later, do you think that kind of civil unrest is ever justified?

No, it’s not. Dr. King once said that, “People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.” Twenty years after the civil unrest, relations between the African-American and Korean communities have improved. And we have to continue to communicate with all members of the community — regardless of race, or religion.

You took a lot of criticism, some of it from Black people, for your advocacy on Michael Jackson’s behalf. To a lot of people I spoke to at the time, they felt as if you were condoning what was seen as a very strange lifestyle. Has there ever been a cause you regretted becoming involved in?

I never condoned Michael’s lifestyle. I was publicly critical of the position he put himself in. But I have a lot of love and respect for Michael and the Jackson family. I knew in my heart he was innocent and would not just sit quietly when I knew he needed my help. I’m proud to say I have helped everyone I could help from the famous people, to the gang members in South Central L.A. I have always tried to help people. I can’t have regrets for helping. I would only have regrets if I didn’t help.

Your protests against Tavis Smiley and Cornel West have gotten headlines in recent years, over their outspoken criticism of President Obama. Do you think this president owes anything specifically to Black America?

President Obama is not the president of South Central L.A or Harlem. He the president of the entire nation. Tavis and Cornel were out of line and disrespectful to the president and tried to undermine him, it seemed, every chance they got with their phony “poverty tour.” Poverty didn’t just start with Obama in office; it was there with Bush and Clinton, and they were both silent. We get the first Black president in our lifetime and they start with the name-calling and attacks on him. President Obama does have a responsibility to Black America to support our agenda, in the same manner his administration supports other special interest groups. Unfortunately for Tavis and Cornel, it’s not what they said — it’s how they said it. They created a perception, of their own doing, that they are Obama haters.

If you were given one do-over that you could use at any point in your life, how would you use it?

I wouldn’t change one thing in my life. If I did, I wouldn’t be who I am today. I love serving the community and my life. “Raising Hell” is a testimony I can now share with others and a legacy to leave behind.

Raising Hell: A life of Activism

http://johntwills.com


And Our Story Continues

We’ve spent the last three years revisiting what we thought was long past. Witnessing the vitriol of those who want to recreate what I call Brownsville, you know, those segregated places mandated by law as a result of the wretched system of “Separate but Equal”; more commonly known as “Jim Crow”. I have tried to resurrect the ghost of the greats that changed the world, which have caused me to live a life promised to all Americans. Having said that, I readily admit there is still a long way to go.

On Election Day this magnificent journey and life’s promise continues with the reelection of President of Barack H. Obama. Since I started THOUGHT PROVOKING PERSPECTIVES I have shared the African American journey that is without question the greatest story ever told. Maybe I’ll say this more succinctly by quoting Jesse – “From the outhouse to the White

House”. The irony of this was that Africans were dragged onto the shores of this place the slaves called “merica” to now having a man of African descent in the White House as President.

This evolution brought about our acquiescence to political agendas, abdicating our own economic self-sufficiency for the greater good and most working diligently for the economic well-being of other people. Since the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments were written many have died for the rights described therein and we continue to fight for equality.

Since Black History month only comes in February it’s time we appreciate it every day. I want to leave you with this thought from “The Mis-Education of the Negro,” the most profound novel ever written in my opinion, originally published in 1933 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, who is known as the father of Black History Month. I might add that this book should be mandatory reading for all African Americans – young and old.

The thesis of Dr. Woodson’s book is that Negroes of his day were being culturally indoctrinated rather than taught in American schools, or not even given the advantage of education. This conditioning, he claims, causes African Americans to become dependent, seeking out inferior places

He challenged his readers to become empowered by doing for themselves, regardless of what they were taught: “History shows that it does not matter who is in power… those who have not learned to do for themselves and have to depend solely on others never obtain any more rights or privileges in the end than they did in the beginning.”in the greater society of which they are a part. This assertion is clearly evident nearly eighty years later.

This goes beyond the imagination, irrespective of the many promises that have been made and broken, that fairness exists. Don’t worry, we have been taught that when we die there is a place where there is a mansion with streets paved with gold. Be that as it may, let’s agree with the great Curtis Mayfield who wrote: “people get ready there’s a train a comin. You don’t need no ticket. All you need is faith to get on board… you just thank the lord.”

I have said and believe that Black History Month is “Black History is American History”. We have witnessed the first man of African descent elected president of these United States and nothing more significant has happened since the resurrection of Christ. I am thankful to have lived to see what no one living or dead ever thought would occur. God Bless America President Barrack Obama and the greatest story ever told continues!

And for those who want to succeed from the Union. We have seen this movie and how did that workout for them. And that is my Thought Provoking Perspective…

http://johntwills.com

Legacy – A New Season 

AMAZON

Just a Season


JUMPER

The roar of thunder and the flash of lightning tearing violently across the dark sky made Ann Joplin cower like a child in the corner of her bedroom. The rain pelted heavily against the window pane, as the lightning caused her to jump and shudder. When the rain eased up, she hopped into her bed and pulled the covers tightly up to her chin. She instinctively grabbed the phone to call her mother before realizing there would be no answer on the other end of the line.

“I miss you mom. We were so close,” Ann said as a tear slid down her face. Instantly, her mind went back to two months ago when she flew from New York to Arizona to bury Martha, who had succumbed to leukemia. Her mother was in so much pain towards the end and Ann would constantly make trips to be by her side. She was thankful that her mother had such a great circle of friends who gave her so much support that Ann was able to keep her job in New York. At one point, she considered giving it all up and relocating to Arizona, but her mother was against it.

Her life was now without its center. Being an only child raised by a single mother had formed a tight bond between them. When Ann had a bad day, she would call and cry to her mother. When she had problems with the men in her life, her mother comforted her. When she got passed over for a promotion because her boss owed his friend a favor, her mother supported and encouraged her to move on.

Now that her mother was gone, who could she turn to? Not her boyfriend — he had left her to follow a spiritual path in Indonesia. Not her closest friend, she just got married and moved with her new husband to Texas. For years, she had suffered from bouts of insecurity and depression, and now it was more heightened. So, with no one around, she wiped away her tears, squeezed her eyes shut, and forced herself to sleep.

Ann opened the attachment and stared at the photograph of Missy Flint. Then it clicked, they had been roommates at Hunter College fifteen years ago. Her hands trembled as she read more of the story. Missy was married to a successful businessman with two kids and was on her way to opening a drug rehabilitation center on Long Island. “What was she doing in the Bronx?” she thought. As she picked up her pen and was about to make some notes, she was startled by the phone ringing on her desk.

“Ann, I need to see you in my office right now,” Mr. Bellows demanded. He was a gruff man of sixty who had been in the newspaper industry for over thirty years. Over the years, she had watched him hire and fire many of her co-workers, sometimes for no good reason. But since her mother died, she must admit that she saw a more compassionate side of him. Recently, he had been cracking the whip at her and everyone else because his wife had served him divorce papers two days ago at the office. That wasn’t any of her concern, because she had enough of her drama to deal with.

She pushed back her chair with dread, got up and slowly walked towards his office. She tapped gently on the door. “Come on in Ann, please have a seat,” he said dryly, as he stubbed out the butt of his cigar in the ash stray.

Ann’s nose wrinkled at the smell she had to endure every time he asked to see her in his office. Even though the entire office building was designated a “non-smoking” area, Mr. Bellows felt it didn’t apply to him and dared anyone to report it to the building management.

She sat across from him in the most uncomfortable chair which was covered in a fabric that made her skin itch. She hoped this meeting wouldn’t take long so she could get back to work and find out more about Missy. “Ann, I don’t know how to tell you this..,” Mr. Bellows paused, “but we have to let you go.”

Ann’s eyes blinked as if processing what he had said to her. Her stomach dropped when it registered that she was being fired. She asked, slightly above a whisper, “But why?” Her palms began to sweat and she rubbed them together. A bead of perspiration formed on her forehead as she tapped her feet, a habit of hers when she felt anxious.

“Ann, I think you are a bright girl. But, there have been some complaints about your work lately,” he said, as he leaned his heavy body back in his chair and clasped his hands behind his head.

Ann knew that she had missed a few deadlines, but thought that management would understand. Mr. Bellow’s condescending tone made it clear that it didn’t. In this business, like any other fledgling for profit business, errors were frowned upon.

Mr. Bellows continued, “We’re sorry for your loss, but you still have a job to do. The rest of the staff can’t keep carrying you by covering up your mistakes. This is something I can’t overlook. I’m truly sorry.”

“But I can fix this,” she pleaded, hoping that he would be moved by her pleas. Instead, he responded, “Stan from HR will be talking to you.” He looked at his watch. “Um, he’ll be at your cubicle at around ten.”

“That doesn’t give me much time. I need boxes…”

“They are already at your desk. All you need to do is gather up your things. Security will escort you out by eleven,” he said, dismissively.

She walked out of his office in silence, not having the will to argue, beg or plead for her job. Maybe it was time to move on, she thought. When she got to her desk, she shook her head at the sight of the boxes on her chair, wondering how long they had been planning this. She picked up them up and threw them on the floor. There is no way I’m going to face Stan and have him mumble my benefits to me. What would be the point? So she powered down her computer, picked up her bag and left the boxes sitting on the floor.

She stood in front of the elevator, took a deep, long breath, then hit the UP button. When the doors dinged open at the fifteenth floor, she got off the elevator, walked to the side door and exited to the rooftop. Her eyes adjusted to the sunlight as she made her way to the ledge of the building. She held her face up towards the sky and basked in the warmth of the sun’s rays. Her body felt relaxed, she felt free.

“Jump,” a voice inside of her head commanded her. “You have nothing to live for. Just do it!”

She didn’t fight the voice. She was tired: tired of fighting traffic every day, tired of being misunderstood, tired of trying to prove herself in a dead-end job, and tired of everyone she loved always leaving her.

When she was a child, her mother used to sing her nursery rhymes so she could fall asleep. Her mother’s soothing voice comforted her. But her mother couldn’t comfort her anymore.

Now, she began singing her favorite nursery rhyme, “London Bridge Is Falling Down.” A smile crept up on her face. She took off her shoes, threw her bag on the ground, and stepped up onto the ledge. She looked down with no fear at the crowd of people rushing by to go places, taxicabs cutting other drivers off, policemen directing traffic, billboards blinking advertisements, and tourists taking pictures.

“I’m done with it all.” She closed her eyes, and extended out her arms. She was ready to jump.

Suddenly, she felt a hand resting gently on her right shoulder. “No, my love. Not like this I love you,” a soothing voice said. The voice started to sing, “Hush Little Baby…”

Was this a dream? Ann asked herself. Slowly she opened her eyes and looked around, but no one was there. For a moment, everything stood still until a dove flew up and flapped its wings in front of her. As she looked up to the sky, she felt her mother’s energy and said, “Thank you, mom.”

Deliah Lawrence

Author, “Gotta Let It Go”

Finalist – 2011 Next Generation Indie Book Awards (multi-cultural fiction category)

Blog: www.vocalexpressions.blogspot.com

Website: www.thewritepen.webs.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/thewritepen

Twitter: www.twitter.com/thewritepen

http://johntwills.com


Smiley and West on the 2012 Election

I am proud of any person regardless of color, but particularly any person of color, who achieves that which has been denied by the system. Most African Americans understand that the election of president Obama is far better than the alternative, without question. I will go on to say that I respect intelligence and possess black pride. I also know we are granted freedom of speech which means you have the right to your opinion.

I am concerned and wonder exactly what point brothers Smiley and West are trying to make or where they are coming from. Most of us know the history of our struggle and getting to this place in time is a monumental achievement. As black people, we know injustice more profoundly than any other culture.

Dr. King spoke and marched to divest poverty. President Johnson declared a War on Poverty nearly fifty years ago and yet there is more poverty than ever before. As intelligent as both men are – they should know it is the product of the mighty. I cannot recall these two expressing such a strong voice in opposition of the last administration, which by the way contributed more to poverty than any other administration in modern times.

So can someone explain why they blame President Obama? I would like to ask what you think of this diatribe.

Please comment and give me a Thought Provoking Perspective!

http://johntwills.com

Legacy – A New Season 

AMAZON

Just a Season


When History Is The Future

President Barack Obama’s election victory, as historic as it was, has a more profound distinction! When POTUS was first elected in 2008 it was the most significant event in American history. We know that it was mainly because his predecessor was so bad that white America went against their creed to help elect the son of an African born to a white woman. On Tuesday, however, POTUS won the election on the continent of his character.

I have been one who has been saying that this election was not about red or blue but you and us. Let me explain, it was all about the Supreme Court! The court as it is currently structured is the most right leaning conservative court in generations. POTUS now has the opportunity to deepen the liberal imprint and change the structure of this body, thereby protecting the least of thee delivering fairness to the masses.

Those of you who follow my writing know that I am an expert on the African American Diaspora.  So let me remind you of one of the most horrendous decision the Supreme Court ever imposed upon the country; and no it was not electing George “W”! It was the Plessey v Fergusson Case in 1896, where the court issued a ruling that mandated “Separate but Equal” as the law of the land. To say this more succinctly, JIM CROW that lasted over a half century!

A Harvard law graduate who taught constitutional law, Obama, a Democrat, named two liberals to the high court during his first four-year term. With his re-election, the retirement of one or more justices in the next four years could preserve the present ideological balance or, more significantly, move the bench to the left.

The court’s nine justices are selected for life and their appointments can rank among a president’s most enduring legacies. Four are in their 70s. Two – Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 79, and Stephen Breyer, 74 – are liberals. Two – Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy, both 76 – are conservatives. The biggest shake-up would come if either of the last two stepped down.

A swing in the liberal direction could foster a new receptiveness to campaign finance regulation. The five-justice conservative majority, led by Chief Justice John Roberts, has ruled against such regulation, most notably in the 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission dispute. The result of this decision made this election year the most biased and expensive ever giving outside PAC’s enormous power for favors in return for their spending.

One thing for sure with a more liberal conservative court it might be more willing to take cases protesting the requirement that states with a history of discrimination obtain federal approval for electoral changes. Lest not forget that five conservative justices have signaled their resistance to the provision and other race-based policies.

Supreme Court departures, like many of its cases, defy prediction. It is not unusual for justices to stay in their jobs into their 80s or beyond. No matter who exits and who enters, the court can be expected to stay tightly divided on many social-policy dilemmas. For example, it is now certain the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which made abortion legal nationwide and is supported by the current majority, will endure for at least four more years.

The current nine justices are divided politically as well as ideologically. Conservatives Roberts, Scalia, Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito were appointed by Republican presidents. Liberals Ginsburg, Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan were named by Democrats.

This is why this election was so important for you me and future generations. POTUS can protect the lives of our children long after the next four years have pasted and that is significant. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

http://johntwills.com

Legacy – A New Season 

AMAZON

Just a Season


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