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

Report Card. Failed. Justice for Breonna Taylor

Update: As of 10/28/20, there still have been no charges filed against any of the officers involved in this case. Also, various Grand Jury members have spoken out and expressed frustration with the handling of this case. And get this, none of the Grand Jury members have ever met the KY Attorney General, Daniel Cameron.

GRAND JURY Report 10/3/20. Please READ. This report from the Grand Jury hearing from the fatal Breonna Taylor shooting, has lots of holes in it, lots of Innuendos and stereotypes, assumptions about black men, lots of exaggeration on the behalf of the police. Absolutely NOTHING about this case sounds right nor does it sound like above the board police work. The fact that this was a hodgepodge of random officers, who were not all clear about why they were there that night is a huge problem. Tragic. Confusion. I hope heads roll, the officer who shot Breonna, the officers who botched the warrant, the officers, who botched the entrance into her apartment, and most of all, Daniel Cameron, the KY Attorney General. This clearly, is a travesty of justice for Breonna Taylor.

#BreonnaTaylor #NoJusticeNoPeace

Grand Jury Report. Breonna Taylor case
A door busted open. A chaotic scene. A life taken. What the Breonna Taylor grand jury audio reveals

https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/03/us/breonna-taylor-grand-jury-audio-highlights/index.html

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!

PODCAST. NEW EPISODE. The Age of Digital Activism

Check out my newly branded podcast and listen to the latest episode, The Age of Digital Activism. Social Activism has taken on many forms in the wake of the many cases of police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement. In this episode, I discuss the current climate along with my own activism experience. If you have 40 and over topics you would like to see featured here, let me know by leaving a comment. Thank you for listening!

https://anchor.fm/the40andoverproject/episodes/The-Age-of-Digital-Activism-eivg3s

black lives matter. again.

Timeline

It goes in cycles but seems never ending. Every generation of African Americans has that moment where the anger boils over like fire because the racism and hatred just becomes unbearable. It’s got to stop but we know it’s never ending.
Watts Riots – 1965
LA Riots – 1992
Ferguson Riots – 2014
Minneapolis Riots – 2020

#poetry #instagrampoetry
#DoBetterAmerica #AmericanHistory

A Favorite Professor

I’m 47 now, but 23 years ago, 1997 to be exact, my senior year, a group of students from #KentStateUniversity , got on the bus headed to the first ever #MillionWomenMarch in Philly, PA, accompanied by Dr Adilene Barnes-Harden (pictured with us in the Kente cloth outfit, I’m next to her, holding the sign) . During my time at Kent State, I switched my major about 5 times, had some interesting experiences (we’ll just leave it at that, thankfully before the Facebook lol) , and I had some very awesome professors, especially in the Department of #PanAfricanStudies . If there was anything that was constant during my college years, in between all of the fun, it was the classes I had the privilege to take at Kent State. One of my favorite and one of the best professors EVER, was Dr. Barnes-Harden who taught The Black Woman, The Black Family, and other courses that changed my life! She was so raw and so real in the classroom and inspired us as black students on campus! She has transitioned, gone but definitely not forgotten. Ashe! RIP #KentStateForever #PAS #BlackStudies #PeaceAndLove

The Million Women March, circa 1997

The Age of Digital Activism

I was a huge Nike fan back in high school when I ran track and played volleyball, but it’s been a while since I’ve bought a pair of the sneakers with the swoosh. In 2019, Nike created a huge endorsement/marketing/sponsorship deal with activist football player, Colin Kaepernick. With one fell swoop, many of us pledged to make our next pair of sneakers, a pair of Nikes.

Since the dawn of the 21st century, it seems that becoming an activist has become extremely easy. No longer is it a requirement for people to march in the streets, like in the 60s, unless they want to. Activists today, have a choice as to how they want to participate. Activism today, can be something as small and easy as signing an online petition to boycotting a particular company because of their CEO’s political affiliation to protesting in the streets in Ferguson, MO or Minneapolis, MN, against the injustice of police brutality against black men and women.

Activism also affects different age groups in different ways. For example, I was a super student activist in college at Kent State University, in Ohio, in the 90s, during the time of the Rodney King case and O. J. I marched, I participated in sit-ins, walk outs, letter writing, rallies, etc. Today, I’m in my 40s and while I’d love to march in the streets, my activism leans more towards attending council meetings, putting my signature on petitions, participating in virtual rallies and other events, and giving monetary funds, when and where I can. Either way, whatever you choose to do, it all counts towards the efforts of standing up for issues of social justice, as long as you stand up for something.

So, with that said, it’s almost time for me to get a new pair of workout sneakers and you can best believe, my next pair will be Nike.

#ColinKaepernick #NikeAd #TakeAKnee #StandForSomething

4th of July Freedom

As we wrap up the #4thOfJuly and I watch the fireworks on TV and hear what have become American anthems, songs like America The Beautiful, that have been sung by artists of all races, played by military bands, orchestras, kids, choirs, and the like, I can’t help but to think, because we are America, yes, this great nation we belong to, with freedoms not allowed in some other countries and with all of its hypocrisies, contradictions, and Institutional – isms, there is no place I’d rather be, because, despite #AmericanHistory, it’s still a place where we can celebrate how this nation came to be (even with all of its inaccuracies, as we strive to correct it together), acknowledge where it has faltered in its oppression of others, and still be a country that can come together as a community to protect and save lives through a pandemic (despite the leadership), and still, as a part of its history, birth movements over the years, that demand changes from the same nation like The Civil War to end slavery (which the Union won for the record), like the Women’s Rights Movement to get women the right to vote, own property, to work, etc, like the Civil Rights Movement spearheaded by African Americans in America who just wanted to continue to fully remove the shackles of Jim Crow and gain equal rights, under the law and Constitution, as well as the right to vote, which then sparked other oppressed groups like the Native Americans, LGBTQ, Latino and Immigrant communities, Gun Rights movements, Environmentalists, and more. So it’s only predictable, given the backdrop of America and its history of the quest for freedom and oppression simultaneously, that the #BlackLivesMatter movement exists because, like the past, the need for justice repeats itself. So to those who wish to listen to the negativity and those who want you to believe that BLM is a terrorist group, then if you know anything about America, you know that the KKK is also a terrorist group. For the record, the KKK killed and lynched hundreds of people based solely on the color of their skin, just because, and mostly got away with these atrocious crimes. Now, if you can live with the thought of the KKK and BLM having the same social label, then you need to check your definitions of what a terrorist is, because the last time I checked, the BLM hasn’t killed anyone, only fought for justice peacefully, for the unlawful deaths of black people in America by the hands of our law enforcement, who, by the way, are supposed to protect us all, not just a few. So before you write BLM off, just remember, if freedom is what you celebrate today, 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. Right?!?… Right! #PatriotismIsForEveryone #EqualityIsFreedom #socialjustice #NoJusticeNoPeace