Category: Your Voice Written by Eddie Connor
What does love mean to you? Iʼm talking about real love. Is it superﬁcial? Is it about
what you can take or what you can give? Iʼm sure we can agree that we need more love
in our world. However, it will never be seen in the world if it isnʼt exempliﬁed in our
As we approach Valentineʼs Day, so many people are caught in a matrix of euphoria
from the aroma of the chocolates, to the delightfully arranged dozen roses, and the
delicious meals consumed at ﬁve-star restaurants. Yet after the chocolates have turned
stale, the roses have wilted, and the left over meal lies dormant in the fridge is there
enough love that goes beyond one day and is reﬂected in your life everyday? When
everything else grows stale and stagnant, only the love you show will remain fresh and
Looking for love in all the wrong places is not worth it, just to ﬁnd a Valentine. You donʼt
have to go searching for love. If you become love and reﬂect the spirit of love, then love
will ﬁnd you. In essence, you will attract who/what you are.
Oftentimes, we get so caught up in giving gifts that we fail to realize we are a gift to
somebody, even if itʼs to ourselves. You are a red box and gold bow...a gift to the world.
Tangible gifts donʼt replace love because love is the greatest gift. You may be alone, but
it doesnʼt mean you have to be lonely. You can never expect anybody to love you, until
you start loving yourself.
Even in a world ﬁlled with hate, love is still preeminent. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
declared, "hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that." You canʼt show love with
bitterness, anger, strife, and hatred in your heart. Love and hate cannot occupy the
same space, one will cancel out the other.
When you connect to God, He provides you with love under new management. No more
games, gimmicks, tricks, or schemes. Itʼs His love for you out of the depth of who He is
that empowers you to love yourself, love others, and walk in your unique purpose. His
love for you reconciles you to Him, yourself, and to those around you.
Love has a boomerang effect...the more love you share with others, the more it comes
back to you. Love is more than just a word and it intensiﬁes when we give it mean. Love
is not about what it says, love is about what it does.
Love doesnʼt neglect, it protects. Love is not selﬁsh, itʼs selﬂess.
Remember that true love is about more than ﬁnding a perfect person, true love is about
learning to love an imperfect person perfectly.
True love can drive out hate.
Last Updated on Monday, 11 February 2013 09:33
Category: Your Voice Written by Eddie Conner
I can remember taking a Chemistry class back in my high school days (many moons ago). As a teenager, my favorite courses were Gym, History, and yes, lunch time. My Chemistry class was very boring with the long lectures and note taking sessions. However, the class projects and group assignments made it interesting from time to time.One thing I can remember learning about is temperature and itʼs effect on water. The teacher explained, when the temperature of water is raised to 211 degrees Fahrenheit the water then becomes hot and creates steam. However, at 212 degrees Fahrenheit the water begins to boil.
Itʼs interesting that just one degree Fahrenheit, makes the difference between steaming and boiling. Listening to this lecture as a 16-year-old kid, while looking at my watch, meant nothing at that time. Now, as I recall and reﬂect on the lesson as an adult, there are practical truths that we can learn.
Just one degree more is all it took to move from steam to boil. Have you reached your boiling point? Not the boiling point of being negative, angry, and upset to where youʼre going to jump off the edge. Iʼm talking about the place where youʼre working your Godgiven gifts, pressing towards your dreams, and making the little adjustments in your life
that eventually make a BIG difference.
Is your dream only on steam? You say to yourself, “I wish I could do this...if only I had the money...I wonder if this may happen.” Itʼs time to stop wishing and wondering, itʼs time to start doing! No longer can you sit back, wait, and procrastinate. We must engage our minds and embrace the ﬁerce urgency of now!
Itʼs time to turn up the temperature on your goals, dreams, visions, and ideas. How long will you continue to put off writing the book, opening the business, and going back to school? The only person stopping you is YOU! No longer can you continue to play the blame game and presently live in the past. Whatʼs past is past...itʼs over! Get up, shake
it off, brush off your shoulders, and begin to engage your mind/will to press forward by any means necessary!
Youʼre so close to your boiling point! So close to breaking out and breaking through.
Whatʼs holding you back? What are the adjustments that you can make in your life to turn it around? Maybe itʼs taking better care of your health/nutrition, forgiving people, thinking positive, breaking bad habits and addictions, letting go of negative relationships, and getting closer to God. Whatever changes need to be made, God has given you the power to do it. I challenge you to turn it up a notch, take it to another level, raise the temperature another degree, and youʼll see your life move from just enough to more than enough.
Last Updated on Monday, 11 February 2013 09:16
Category: Your Voice Written by Harvey Santana
The people of Michigan deserve a government that works for them and makes this state a better place to live. As elected officials, our highest duty is to serve the needs of those people who entrusted us with the power to represent them.
The Lansing political environment has been poisoned by the events of the lame duck session. Some political strategists believe the Democrats should adopt a “just say no” strategy which is the same tactic Republicans in Washington adopted four years ago against President Obama. The results of that was a “do-nothing Congress” with historically low public approval ratings. That strategy is designed to fail. My Democratic leadership has pledged to continue to make serious efforts to work across the aisle to create meaningful solutions. In order to move forward, Democrats must be allowed to move bills that will strengthen Michigan’s economy. In the past two years, Democrats have been shut out of the process.
We should begin the new session of the Michigan Legislature by taking fast action on the many items we can agree upon. Among the items in Gov. Snyder’s State of the State address that I can enthusiastically embrace are the following.
The governor has proposed a $10 billion infrastructure investment into our road system and transportation network. As a person who drives a car, I welcome that proposal. In working towards this objective our challenge is to find a way to fund it fairly and spread the cost fairly across the state. The state which gave us the automobile should not have some of the worst roads in the United States.
Michigan and Detroit have the unique advantage of being in a desirable geographic position enabling us to become the hub of a transportation network including air, land and water. We can bring tens of thousands of jobs to the area and the impact of those jobs will help both business and the employees who work for them. As Mayor Coleman A. Young once observed, “There isn’t a problem in Detroit that a good job with some benefits can’t solve.”
The governor wants to make jobs and improving Michigan’s economy his top priority. I agree. We need to adopt pro-growth policies which help business expand and hire more workers. Our goal as state lawmakers must be to grow the economy. If that is truly our goal then I am excited to continue the work that the people of my district sent me to Lansing to accomplish.
The governor wants to increase aid for military veterans and I support that without reservation. As a veteran of the United States Navy, I have experienced the problems veterans feel when they attempt to transition into civilian life. The governor has asked us to work with him as he looks towards enhancing and expanding programs to help veterans obtain education and job training. Undoubtedly, those are areas we should act upon quickly.
With the Sandy Hook massacre behind us, many are now looking at rebuilding our system of public mental health. I was encouraged to hear Gov. Snyder endorse more funds and more programs in this vital area for all of us. Let’s begin rebuilding a once strong system and let’s do it in a true bi-partisan approach.
Several Detroit legislators have backed a series of proposals known as the Strengthening Neighborhoods and Communities acts. The governor endorsed these in his speech and I am proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with him in fighting the corrosive effects of slumlords and the destructive impact they have, particularly in the city of Detroit.
My commitment in this 97th legislature is to work across the aisle with Republicans to find solutions to these important issues. Entrenching ourselves in deep ideological beliefs does not serve the citizens of Michigan. Working together is what the people have sent us to do in Lansing and I look forward to this legislative session.
Last Updated on Friday, 08 February 2013 13:41
Category: Your Voice Written by Thomas Stallworth
The Michigan Legislative Black Caucus (MLBC) is ready to work with the Legislature and the governor to ensure that the issues of the state’s urban communities, distressed communities and communities of color are addressed. Michigan’s turnaround won’t be complete unless urban communities share in the jobs, infrastructure and education improvements that the governor talked about in his State of the State address.
The governor talked about working together to get things done, and my colleagues and I are willing to listen. But we need to know that he is committed to the needs of our communities, and that rebuilding infrastructure includes a priority of creating jobs in distressed communities as well as elsewhere in Michigan.
In his State of the State address, Gov. Snyder presented a rosy picture for Michigan in reviewing his dashboard and economic progress. His overview, however, masks the fact that much of Michigan is being left behind. For example, African-American unemployment is double the state rate, more than 35% of Michigan families are living in poverty and that urban students are more than twice as likely to attend high-poverty failing schools. Effectively addressing these issues to ensure equal rights and access to a desirable quality of life for all of Michigan will require transformational leadership committed to addressing the issues of race and poverty with candor, transparency and courage.
Additionally, in laying out the state of the state, the governor was strangely silent on the need for Detroit to make a full and sustainable recovery. With the state’s largest city quickly moving toward an emergency manager, along with numerous other urban centers facing similar challenges, a strategic urban plan is required if Michigan is truly going to reinvent itself. The MLBC is pleased to hear that an emphasis will be placed on some neighborhood initiatives, but a comprehensive plan is required, including capturing opportunities for local revenue generation, business development and cost savings, rather than cost cutting that erodes critical services. The state must assume accountability for contributing to local financial issues through policies such as cuts to revenue sharing and education and failing to pass numerous “population” bills critical to Detroit’s turnaround. We have, in effect, reduced the state’s deficit and increased the Rainy Day Fund on the backs of local communities and our citizens are suffering as a result.
Clearly, repairing Michigan’s roads should be a priority, and the governor did a good job of presenting his business case. However, I am concerned about the call for ‘user fees’ to fund infrastructure improvements because any gas tax or auto registration fee increase is going to be doubly hard on the people my MLBC colleagues and I represent. Our first discussion, when he comes to us with his proposal, should be a business case for closing social and economic racial disparities in ways that make supporting such fees palatable, treat our communities fairly, and deliver a maximum return on their quality of life. If we can justify raising $1 billion a year for roads, we should be able to justify investing in the future of communities of color.
In the coming weeks, MLBC members would address these and other community issues while detailing its policy and budget priorities.
Thomas Stallworth is a state senator from Detroit.
Last Updated on Saturday, 09 February 2013 18:04
Category: Your Voice Written by Zack Burgess
More money. More fame. More freedom. More everything.
Life for the black athlete in America has drastically changed in less than half a century. Yet despite the multimillion-dollar contracts, endorsement deals and free agency, professional athletics suffer from a huge void.
I grew up during the 1970s and '80s with superstars who made our jaws drop — whether they were in uniform or not. They were champions on the field. They were leaders off the field. I don't see anyone out there today who fits this description. Correction: I do. But it's often for the wrong reason.
This came to me as I was watching the Super Bowl last night, a stage so large, where voices can be heard. I couldn't help but be saddened and wonder where the voice of the engaged, passionate and socially conscious athlete had gone. What happened to Muhammad Ali? What happened to Jim Brown?
Ali was more than a physical specimen; he was a winner. He was a personality that created a legacy and spirit of goodness and humanity. Ali was an artistic, unrestricted man of vision and change. But while Ali was as much a political wonder as an athletic one, Michael Jordan was as close to superhero status as any man of our time.
Jordan's was the quintessential image of the '90s, even though his apolitical stance on issues concerning the black community was legendary, and he once went so far as to say, "Republicans buy sneakers too" when asked for an important endorsement of a black Democratic politician. One of the things that people liked about him was that he was ruthlessly unapologetic about who he was as a person. He wore tailor-made suits, played golf, smoked cigars, gambled and talked in the third person. Let's just face it: Despite his shortcomings, Jordan was cool.
But his cool and unapologetic personality seems to have ushered in a new type of modern athlete, and perhaps triggered the extinction of the socially conscious sports icon. He obviously didn't pass along to the top athletes of today what he learned from superstars like Magic and Dr. J. You see, icons are a combination of charisma, social consciousness and media creation, and whether it's Jordan or Joe Namath, they somehow become bigger than life itself.
Derek Jeter has been with us now for more than 15 years and has won a surplus of championships with the Yankees, and yet we still have no idea who he is as a person. After 10 years in the NBA, LeBron James has started winning, but who is he? What does he stand for? Today’s athlete gives the impression of wanting to please the establishment first and foremost. With a Black community in peril it’s almost as if they do not care. Keep in mind…I say this with caution, because I know for a fact that there are some professional athletes that really do care.
What we presently have is a plethora of walking and breathing companies that refuse to come down on the side of any issue, just like a Fortune 500 company that contributes to both political parties, no matter the outcome.
But we also have a generation of athletes devoid of personality, which makes it even worse. I wonder how so many sports stars can live with themselves and consistently ignore the issues of today. Let's do a moral inventory of the problems that have affected, and continue to affect, us globally.
There are still tremendous problems in Haiti. And while Alonzo Mourning has done a wonderful job with his efforts, he seems to be alone. AIDS continues to run rampant in America and Africa. The high school drop-out rate among African Americans is atrocious, poverty is at an all-time high and the mass incarceration of black men is epidemic. The modern athlete represents the worst of the United States today: widespread selfishness and a distressing philosophy of corporate self-indulgence. Obviously, greed has changed the games we love to watch and play.
As the Super Bowl made its way into our living rooms, I couldn’t help but wonder…what will happen to these young men and women after they leave the confines and comfort of professional sports?
Unfortunately, I should be just as embarrassed. Because I have to ask myself what I'm doing to help change the problems that infect our communities. Maybe, just like me, athletes have become overwhelmed with the horrors that our people face.
I'm sure that the athletes and parents who paved the way for us all aren't happy about the situation. At some point, we have to stop being scared and get in the fight. It's the only way that heroes and icons are created. They gave us the blueprint. Don't you think we need to follow it?
Last Updated on Monday, 04 February 2013 10:10
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