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To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. Ralph Waldo Emerson said it; I believe it.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I'm still alive and kicking! It's been a busy 2012 so far, but a productive one as well:)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

On Single Parenting...

Richmond Rose said (in response to a post on one of my favorite sites: The trials and tribulations of the average unwed black mother do not apply to Nia. I am in agreement, but I must note my understanding of the other comments regarding unwed parenting. I’m not sure that I would go quite as far as stating that unwed parenting has done as much destruction to the Black American community as slavery, but it has been all kinds of hellish-destructive in its own way.

I am saying this as an unwed mother, as an educated individual, and as one of the lucky remaining members of the "middle class" (which simply means that I can pay my mortgage, car note, student loans, utility bills, buy groceries and still have a little left over to give to my parents each month – all without child support): unwed parenting should be discouraged, and I am primarily concerned about my community, so I will say that unwed parenting should be firmly discouraged in the Black American community.

Putting aside for a moment the financial issues, single parenting is simply not an ideal way to raise a young person - not ideal for the youth, and not ideal for either of the parents. Young people need the constant (read: day-to-day and night-to-night) love, support, involvement, conditioning, discipline, the presence and the very smell of both of their parents, in order have the best possible chance to fully develop into their best selves. Dad needs mom to help him parent well; Mom needs dad to help her parent well. Parenting in the most ideal conditions is perhaps the most difficult (and enduringly so) undertakings of one’s life – it should NOT be done alone – it is NOT designed to be done alone.

I am the first to acknowledge the many, many, many instances and examples of super-fantastic, dedicated and devoted, educated and involved women and men who have raised awesome children as single parents (I am one of them!0. But trust and believe, if I had it to do over again, and if I am asked by my son, or my nieces, or my Girl Scouts, or a member of my youth group, or some random stranger on the street – I DO NOT HESITATE to tell them what I have learned over 15 very hard and long years – don’t make it harder than it has to be!

Seek and find a man or woman who is committed, who is like-minded, who shares your financial expectations, who is willing to build a future. And when you find them, date them, court them, engage with them, marry them, and have a child and raise a family with them. Single parenting happens (sometimes because of tragedy, sometimes because of poor decision making, sometimes because life just happens and you have to keep living or die trying) but in my very honest and humble opinion, single parenting should not be glamorized as an equally suitable option to parenting as a married couple.

Stepping down off my soap box now – sorry for the long post, but this is very close to my mission in life.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

"Save Troy Davis"

“Save Troy Davis”

At 11:08 last night, a young man from our community was murdered for a murder. No weapon was found, no conclusive evidence of his guilt, and 7 out of 9 witnesses eventually recanted or changed their story. There was too much doubt. But the sentence was handed down, the death warrant was signed, his fate was sealed, and his family (like the family of the police officer he was convicted of killing) is feeling what I cannot imagine.

But if the words of the “I Am Troy Davis” campaign ring true, then we can save “Troy Davis”. On your way to work, drive by any random bus stop in our community; you are likely to see “Troy Davis”. He or she may have identification that bears a different name, but look closely and you will see “Troy Davis”. Because a death warrant has surely been signed for a frighteningly significant percentage of our youth, and our future. The kids who grow up in violent homes, who attend poorly managed schools, who live in economically depressed communities, and who consume spirit-stealing propaganda about the material worth of their lives. Their case has been tried, but there is too much doubt. Their sentence has been handed down, but there is too much doubt. Their death warrant has been signed, but there is too much doubt.

Please be advised: the date has not been set for them, and you and I – we can save “Troy Davis”. We can’t change everything but we damn sure can change some things. Let this not be the end of your righteous indignation, rather the beginning. Let this encourage you to CHANGE THE THINGS YOU CAN.

You be the mentor and change things. You be the court advocate for youth and change things. You attend school board meetings and change things. You be a shoulder or an ear for a single parent and change things. You hold your local politicians accountable and change things. You live a life of example and change things. Make a commitment to regularly sacrifice a little of your time, talent and treasure and you change things. “Save Troy Davis.”


Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Tourist - or Soul on Fire

My son and I watched the Tourist last night, and despite the lack-luster reviews it received, we both agreed the show was worth viewing (we are both biased Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie fans, so take our opinion with a grain of Salt - haha, pun intended!). This is not a movie review, but a line from the movie got me to thinking about power struggles and ‘class warfare’.

In the Tourist, one of the secondary characters is Reginald Shaw; a gangster that had $2.3 billion stolen from him by his ex-accountant (Depp). Shaw has done many 'bad bad things' including brutal murders, in order to obtain his wealth and power. During a scene in which he explains why it is so important that he get back the $2.3 billion, Shaw reveals the reason is because he paid for that money with his soul.

And therein lies the truth. There is a big difference between those who worked hard to get what they have, and those who sold their souls to get what they have. It is usually the latter group that fights the hardest and longest (and dirtiest) against any change in the status quo that would see their wealth and power diminish. And can you blame them really?

Hard work may cost a man in terms of time, sweat, tears, and years...but not his soul. A soul is the ultimate price, and once a man pays with that particular currency, losing the merchandise it purchased is not an option.