MLK Day: Change Is Necessary

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” – MLK

Where do I begin? In the words of Marvin Gaye, “What’s Going On?”, is all I can come up with. Today is the day we commemorate the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He stood for Nonviolence, Unity, Equality, and Love. Dr. King was all about Change and it came with some Controversy. Change is NEVER easy, for anyone. However, in the last few weeks, in fact, last few years, many of the tenets on change, and how we should deal with it, that Dr. King taught, have not been demonstrated by our national leadership. And this lack of character in times of change, has unfortunately, trickled down to the masses, leaving many of them feeling, somehow disenfranchised and dissolusioned about their privilege and place in society. I’m sorry you feel this way. But people who look like me have been disenfranchised for the entirety of our presence in this place we call America, by people who look like you. The difference: Dr. King, John Lewis, and others, practiced peaceful and nonviolent protest, even in the wake of violence against them, from others. They got in, what John Lewis called, “Good Trouble”, because equality, is a right, we all should advocate for and this is the concept that the leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement have continued to keep alive in order to make change in our law enforcement system. This is how Stacey Abrams made change in Voting Rights and elections in the state of Georgia. Nonviolence. Peace. Social Justice. Simple. What many of you showed us by storming the Capitol Building, was how intolerant you are of change and it scares me how much some of you want things to remain the same, frozen in time. That’s not how change works. And until you see America as a place that belongs to all of us, everyone who lives here, even those that don’t look like you, change will continue to be a burden to you instead of being seen as something to make both our lives better. That’s a battle you will have to deal with on your own. Until you figure it out, we’ll continue to work on making Dr. King’s dream come true because we still have a ways to go, with or without you. #MLKDay #LoveThyNeighbor #ChangeIsGood #LoveNotHate

Throwback Thoughts: Love Thy Neighbor

I originally wrote this as a Facebook status update in 2018 to express my frustration with America. It’s 2020, and we’re on the eve of a contentious election, our democracy on the brink of disaster. In the last 4 years, we’ve seen hate, the likes of the 1960s, rear its ugly head, once again. I figured I might share this post again, with a new audience in the hopes it might inspire someone to love.

Been working in Higher Education for 20 years this year (1998-2018, I know scary right). The thing about education (be it in the form of college, high school, or the school of life) is that you must embrace learning and be open minded. You must be willing to learn about yourself along the way, as well as learn about other people, other cultures, other perspectives, etc. Hate is home grown and comes out of the inability to not step out of our homogeneous communities to actually meet, live with, and get to know others who are different from us. No one said this was an easy task because we are all raised in different environments, with different parents, family members, friends, neighborhoods, etc., but it is still much easier to show compassion, kindness, and love to others than it is to have a closed mind and hate. You have to work real hard to do that. Now, we don’t have to be BFFs with everyone different from us, but a simple hello, good morning, a head nod, a something, is better than nothing. Then, you are telling people you know they exist and vice versa. And then, if you feel compelled to have further conversation or engage in a social activity (even something as simple as coffee, a drink, etc.) we are all the better for it, even the smallest gestures mean alot, they are building blocks. I have so many friends and acquaintances from all walks of life, from other countries, other states, speak other languages, have different life experiences, all ages, races, abilities, and identities. And no, I don’t always understand everything about who they are, but the one common bond we have is that we try, we talk, we ask questions, we laugh, we socialize, and we share time with each other. That is it. This is what it takes and that is what it will take for #America to get back on track. Hate cannot be our signature on the world. It cannot be what others see when they look at our history. Yes, it’s a part of our history but it cannot be what defines us. #LoveThyNeighbor #LoveIsKind

What Has He Done For You Lately?

We have exactly one week left, one week from today, when we will know the fate of our country’s leadership. Once again, we are at the crossroads of one of the most contested elections in American History, let’s all keep in mind, exactly what’s at stake.

James Baldwin said:

We can disagree and still love each other unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and right to exist.” “I can’t believe what you say, because I see what you do”.

Those that continue to support 45 and make excuses, I will no longer entertain. He has shown us through his ACTION and In-Action who exactly he is and what exactly it is he stands for.

Please STOP making excuses for him. It’s getting so bad that it’s starting to look like those family members who make excuses for their alcoholic or drug addicted relative, enabling their behavior, over and over again. Trump supporters, you are enablers.

And it’s to the detriment of the rest of us, who are also citizens and immigrants of this country we call America, whom 45 disses, disrespects, and denies, on a daily basis, since his first day in office and many times before. If you agree with and/support him and his behavior, then you are complicit in the aiding and abetting of the perpetuation of racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and classism in America.

And really, in the words of Janet Jackson, “What Has He Done For You Lately? For most of us, absolutely nothing (unless you are a rich, balding white man.) If he wins again, you will have blood on your hands (along with Coronavirus) only yourselves to blame. Whatever you do VOTE! And #GetHimOutOfOffice

Podcast Update: No Justice No Peace

#podcast #update #listen Before you write the Black Lives Matter Movement off, just remember, if freedom is what you celebrate, you must understand that both the celebration of freedom and an effort to move the needle of what it means to be free forward, can indeed coexist, because, well…. This is America. I originally blogged about this topic on the 4th of July this past summer, but I wanted to share the topic, No Justice No Peace, on the podcast because I believe it is a topic that is relevant year round. Thank you for listening and please share.
https://anchor.fm/the40andoverproject/episodes/No-Justice–No-Peace-eka2v8

And be sure to subscribe to my blog: https://the40andoverproject.com and join the Facebook group at:  www.facebook.com/groups/the40andoverprojectpodcast

The Kamala Effect

A couple of months ago, former Vice President Joe Biden announced his running mate for president as the current Senator Kamala Harris.

Harris already made history as the first Black woman to run for and be elected to become the Attorney General of the State of California, the largest legal system in the United States.

Harris has made history as the first African American woman to run for and receive the nomination for Vice President on a major party ticket in the United States

Harris has made history as the first Asian American woman to run for and receive the nomination for Vice President on a major party ticket in the United States.

Harris is also making history as the first member of one of, what we know as “The Divine Nine”, historically Black Greek-Lettered organizations to run for a major party’s political office on the national level. She is a member of the first Black sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

And yes, we’ve turned the world pink and green with pride in our Soror Kamala Harris and all of her accomplishments, as she not only symbolizes what women can do, but also what Black women can accomplish in this place we call the United States of America. And as a woman who was born on the cusp of Generation X (she was born in 1964), she is doing the damn thing for women in their early 50s (black don’t crack right!)

But unfortunately, American history has another very ugly past….it’s negative and derogatory treatment of African American women. And the affects of that history has not been lost on those of us who are charged with carrying on our legacy into the 21st Century. It seems that for every first we put forth, there’s a racist/sexist that is not ready for it and as a result, publicly makes us aware of their disdain for our achievements.

Not long after Joe Biden’s announcement about Kamala Harris as his running mate, Barry Presgraves, Mayor of Luray, Virginia said this, “Joe Biden has just announced Aunt Jemima as his VP pick.” And while this is not a shocker because many white men in America often do this whenever their world of privilege is upheavaled. It’s incredible how public and how non-fearful and unapologetic this person was. That should scare all of us in 2020.

This was my reply to the mayor’s comments on Facebook: To the mayor of #LurayVA who wrote the “Biden has chosen Aunt Jemima” comment about Kamala Harris who is now apologizing, saying, “that’s not what’s in my heart”. Yes, it is in your heart. If not, you would not have written it. And just so y’all know, just like Beyonce, the Kamala beehive is ready to take on anything y’all got cause we know the racists and sexists are coming out the woodwork and to those of you who are already in elected positions, disguising yourselves like this mayor as being #ForThePeople, who are really only out for people who look like you, we see you, and you’re time is up! But guess what, we will swat you like the annoying little racist gnats, that we know you are! Your words will not deter us! It’s on. Bring it! #BidenHarris2020

As we know, these types of comments will continue to rev up, the closer we get to the election. Case in point, following the Vice Presidential candidate debate between Kamala Harris and the current VP Mike Pence, the man known as president, I like to call him 45, commenced to his normal tyraid of misinformation on FOX News and called Harris a Monster…..Let that seep in….. This person, who is supposed to be the leader of the free world, who is supposed to provide words of wisdom and encouragement in the time of a pandemic, is calling a woman, a Black woman, a Monster. He is the worst. But this is what he does, especially in the shadow of successful, strong women, he calls us names. And he especially treats smart, successful Black women with a deep seded, historical, vitriol that comes from the times of the plantation. He will continue to be disrespectful and I have no doubt, that it will only get worse, as November fast approaches.

So, if his behavior and the behavior of other hate-filled politicians and organizations is something that makes you cringe, there is only one solution. VOTE like your life depends on it on November 3rd!