Sunday, April 22, 2012

Celebrate the Earth

April 22 marks the annual Earth Day celebration, and in the wake of recent events, many are reexamining the true meaning of the holiday for both themselves and their communities. Across the globe there have been storms, and other geological events, that are causing some to raise an alarm of sorts. This newly awakened concern is taking root in a variety if movements: renewable energy, recycled or reusable building materials, and the development of a culture of sustainability.
On the mall there were countless people demonstrating passion for the issues that affect their communities simply by their presence out there in the rain.

(Shanesse Ann and Warren Brave)

The impact of this change of environmental consciousness and awareness in society, from a culture of convenience, can be seen in communities across the nation.  Think, live, and be a source of renewable energy for the growth and prosperity of your community and world, is the spirit of this day of remembrance.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Hip-Hop as part of black culture

Black Culture, more explicitly than many other cultures, is dependent and inseparable from its music; music is used in rituals of all ages and as a monitor for the people’s state of being. Knowing this, as well as the fact that Hip-Hop is music, Hip-Hop is an irreplaceable part of Black culture.
When one sees the role that music has played for Africans in the Diaspora it becomes ever-clearer that the tales of dehabilitation and misery as well as those of hope and love that come from Hip-Hop are the results of music’s role in the Black community. But when confronted with this statement many take aim at the negative messages shown in the media through use of our music, claiming that Hip-hop is hurting the Black community and is a cancerous part of our culture. This cannot be true. When a human body is infected with a disease that disease is visible through the effects shown by one (or many) of its organs. The body, representing Black culture, and the organs, elements of that culture, must comply to that very same system; when Black culture is under attack by a hoard of vices, greed, jealousy, and pride to name a few, it is through music that we make ourselves aware of the attack.
We must be solution oriented. When one has a headache the cause of the headache is what must be addressed, however in America we seek to hide the side-effects because they are the initial sources of pain. Instead of following this mode of operation and black-listing Hip-Hop because it is painful, we must identify the cause(s) of this pain; we must protect our culture from assimilation and heed the warning that Hip-Hop is providing.

Tribute to Sojourner Truth and Kwame Nkrumah

“The beauty of a woman is nothing to be taken lightly.”
During today’s lecture I was struck bluntly by the spirit of love. A woman so loved a man…a man so loved a woman…and so on. It was this spirit that carried the message and the honorable mention of these two great individuals to me.
As he spoke about Sojourner Truth and Kwame Nkrumah I was taken aback not by my appreciation, but rather my vision of the God in all of us. I say this because human beings have so many differences, so many variables that can cause division and animosity, yet when there is love we transcend our own flesh and soar; even to the point of physically carrying others to freedom.
Justice was the centering topic of the discussion, but I see no such thing as every existing; I do not believe in the concept of justice as an entity in its own. Do not be fooled by these words however into thinking that I am a hardened hearted individual who doesn’t believe in a concept because of the world’s cruelty, for my understanding is the quite opposite. I don’t see it because in my eyes and my heart ‘justice’ is just a side effect of love. As I sat absorbing information in this crowded auditorium I grew in my understanding of love and how it compels us to be just, merciful, and all the adjectives we so often use in our description of God. It is this God within us that shows itself when we truly love, seeking the best for others as we do ourselves, as Sojourner Truth and Kwame Nkrumah proved with their never-yielding pursuit of justice (love) and their infinite humanity.
I pray I will show such courage when faced with my great love and that it will be purged of its vanity and selfishness in order for me to be a light in the dark for all to see; in order for me to truly see our beauty and that of the world.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sex Sells. Group Presentation Reflection

Sex sells. Many artists have made songs about this tragic truth. “We’re conditioned,” the Women on a Mission stated. As I listened to the “Women on a Mission”, I began to think about the quality of our representations in the media. They were absolutely right in their assessment of the situation; America has become more vivid in its love for materialism.
Sex is a physical, spiritual, and emotional connection between two made-from-love human beings, however when viewed through the lens that society dictates it is just another ‘thing’ to be obtained, conquered. The way they (the media) use it to entice every viewer and listener is akin to how they use beautiful cars and big houses to seduce someone to buy a new TV or a vacation. Sex is being used as a tool to advertise the power of materialism.
The idea of sex being used as a tool of materialism is just another level to the consistent progress toward the sale of all elements of humanity in the name of profit. If slavery was the whole-sale of human beings on the open market, then this ‘new’ industry is more sophisticated; it is the sale of the physical, emotional, and spiritual elements of our selves, individually packaged.

Education is the Key (group presentation reflection)

Education is the key. We are constantly hearing that statement over and over again. It has been drummed into our heads more precisely than we can recite the ABC’s, yet this gold that we seek is becoming ever increasingly illusive. The group spoke about the challenges that one faces in the education system and how the majority of it falls under personal responsibility; I disagree.
I’m sure that once a young adult reaches college or graduate school that much of their progress from that point forward hinges strictly on personal initiative and responsibility, BUT there has never been a baby that breast fed itself. I say that to say this, the purpose of a student is to learn and ALL students learn to their full ability, however, the teacher and parents jobs are to make sure what they are learning and how they are learning it will benefit them in the future and help them grow into a more complete human being. That being said, teachers and parents must have an intimate relationship with one another so that the child can learn in a way that doesn’t constantly conflict with their reality protecting them from the distractions and helping them to focus.
Parents are your first teachers and one of the issues the group addressed was the lack of a complete family unit in Black households. Coming from a family that has both a Mother and a Father, though only one generation removed from extreme poverty and a single Mother household in the projects, I know how important a sense of community is; that community starts in the home and its difficult to compensate for a missing half of a family unit. There’s no easy fix to the problem that plagues us in America, diminishing sense of community, but it starts with oneness and cooperation between the child’s first teachers(the parents) and all those who will teach the child in the formal sense in the future.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Be the Dew Drop

Understanding the Principles of Ma’at and the guidance it provides leads me to further see how important it is for us to live lives of love and balance. The ‘dew drop’ as our speaker referred to us as is a symbol of refreshing and healing, but it also reminds me of the circle of water through its many states. It takes many forms throughout its cycle, solid, liquid, and gas, however every stage is designed to sooth the roars of the last; it is never ending and is necessary for the life of our planet.
It is this necessity that inspired me when thinking about the dew drop, how it is such a small and seemingly insignificant bit of water left on the pedals of plants in the early mornings, yet this moisture soothes the heat of the sun during the day and protects the plants from freezing at night.
Then it hit me, there are billions of people in this world, perhaps as many people as there are drops of dew on the leaves of a tree, and it is our presence as the new and the open to refresh the old, repair the damaged, and become the future of this never-ending tree.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Distortion of Fact

The history of the United States of America has been the cause of much controversy and debate over the few centuries that America has been a nation. However there are few more controversial segments of American history than Slavery and the American Civil War.

Keeping that in mind, VA Governor McDonnell's proclamation opened up a new chapter in the rewording of American history. Upon release there came a tsunami of supporters and protesters to try to clarify what most thought to be basic facts and events.

Those who managed to keep their composure on the confederate side sited the 'other' reasons for the Civil War; states rights taking a prominent place among a few others on the list.

On the other side of the divide, there is a huge distaste for the idea that such a storied and inhumane chapter in America's history could lead anyone to mislabel the Confederates as heroes for freedom and liberty when they fought to protect such an un-American and libertiless system.

The facts speak for themselves on this one, here are three:

Basic fact we can all agree on #1: The US Civil War was not just fought on confederate soil and involving only confederate soldiers.
~Whereas~ If McDonnell is truly honest about using this new 'Confederate History Month' as an educational tool to teach people about the heroics and meaning of the civil war there is no alternative but to include the hundreds of thousands of African Americans and Union Soldiers who also fought and died in those same battlefields.

Basic fact we can all agree on #2: (100) > (12)
~Whereas~ The comparisons between Confederates and Nazis is a dramatic one, but its important to understand the facts of the systems they fought to protect. Nazi rule in Germany lasted from 1933-1945. Slavery in the US began before the America was the 13 colonies and didn't end until Juneteenth. .American Slavery was worse than the Holocaust.

Basic fact we can all agree on #3: The definition of treason.
~Whereas~ Treason is defined by Webster's New Universal Unabridged dictionary second edition as: "any attempt to overthrow the government or impair the well-being of a state to which one owes allegiance; the crime of giving aid or comfort to the enemies of one's government."