Category: Your Voice Written by Eddie Connor
A setback is only disguised as a setup for your comeback. You didn’t make it this far to
stay where you are, move forward. Every lesson is a blessing, preparing you for life’s
testing. You have the power to persevere. You may struggle, but there is strength within
to overcome. You can think positive in a negative situation.
We must especially inject the spirit of “I CAN” into the lives of young people. Many of
our youth are raised in fatherless homes and that much more are void of mentors. We
must teach our youth not to define themselves by what they have, but define
themselves by who they are. However, if we don’t teach them about true values and
purpose, their lives will be immersed in materialism rather than optimism.
If you don’t have Air Jordan’s, if you lose your friends, if you don’t have a million dollars,
do you still know who you are? So many people lose things and lose themselves too,
because they make the mistake of defining themselves by what they lack or gain.
Your situation does not define you, it’s how you handle the situation and overcome the
obstacle. Define yourself by how you handle what you go through. You’re alive not just
to survive, but to thrive. Transform your pain into power, your test into a testimony, and
your mess into a message.
The resilient spirit of a survivor will lead to success. Don’t be BITTER, things are going
to get BETTER. You are not a victim, you are victorious. You may be going through hell,
but keep going because victory is on the other side. In spite of the struggles you face,
God has given you the strength to overcome. Walk by faith and be determined to not
just go through, but GROW through every situation.
Last Updated on Monday, 25 February 2013 08:20
Category: Your Voice Written by Chuck Jackson
With the progress made in recent decades, some Americans might consider racism a minority issue, a problem that has been mostly addressed.
However, while we celebrate Black History Month, we also reflect on how racism continues to be relevant to each of us. As President Barack Obama, hailed as a symbol of a “post-racial era,” said at the 2009 NAACP Centennial Anniversary: ‘I understand there may be a temptation among some to think that discrimination is no longer a problem. But make no mistake, the pain of discrimination is still felt in America.”
There is much healing to be done, and the approach that we at Starr Commonwealth have adopted to this is known as “The Five Shifts.” These shifts involve changing the way we think or feel to better understand and experience someone else’s reality.
Before making the shift, we must adopt a fundamental principle — the “Oneness of Humankind.” There is no biological evidence that separates the human race. Humans, whatever their origins or skin color, are one family.
Racial healing begins with this understanding, but for many of us even science can be difficult to accept unless we open our heart and our mind to different perspectives — one of the five shifts is from “Certainty to Curiosity.”
Our society places a premium on being certain in our lives. We want to see certainty in our leaders, and become anxious when we sense uncertainty in them. Likewise, in our personal lives, we want those we depend on to be certain about the challenges we face.
The problem with certainty is that it can make it difficult for us to accept new information and understand different views. Curiosity, however, can lead to learning and a better appreciation of someone else. As we see others as people who, like us, have hopes, dreams, fears and regrets, we begin to connect with them.
We also shift from “Material to Spiritual,” seeing beyond a person’s appearance to their inner being, from the “Cognitive to the Affective,” meaning we let our hearts and feelings guide us more than our heads, and from “Solution to Transformation,” recognizing that our own behavior can inspire change in others as much as expecting the solution to be found by someone else. Finally, we shift from “Debate to Dialogue,” ensuring that we don’t try to argue people into change and instead help them to reflect on their position through inquiry and of course, curiosity.
Making these shifts in perspective is a very personal experience. But sharing it with others and supporting them as they change is how we can promote healing in our communities and as a society. With healthier relationships, through the “oneness of humankind,” we can begin to fix the everyday inequalities we see in education, employment and quality of life. We can build environments where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.
While this month reminds us where we have come from, we should not let the issue of racism be dismissed as history. Each month, each week, every day, every one of us should be part of America’s racial healing journey.
Chuck Jackson is the executive vice president and chief clinical officer at Starr Commonwealth, one of the nation’s leading non-profit child and family service organizations. For more information on Starr, including its Glasswing racial healing program, visit www.starr.org.
Last Updated on Friday, 22 February 2013 07:00
Category: Your Voice Written by Charles Butler
Chicago Public Schools (CPS) had roughly 399 students wounded, and 144 students killed during the 2008-2009 school year. If my math serves me right that's about 12 children killed every month, and 2 children wounded every school day. Mayor Emanuel stopped publishing the numbers upon taking office to minimize the issue. Where are the cameras, the grief counselors, the national mourning, or President Obama’s tears for black and brown children being killed in Chicago on a daily basis! These numbers have been steady for the CPS over the last two decades.
Americans should not allow our gun laws to be changed because of a few deranged, mentally ill, socially alienated young men from affluent families. The facts are we have hundreds of thousands of young Americans coming back from war zones as combat veterans, and they have not picked up assault weapons and killed a civilian. The focus should be on funding mental health programs that were defunded under Pres. Reagan’s administration. We need to reactivate the policies that gave the states the ability to institutionalize mentally ill citizens.
Those of you who have followed my writings, debates, commentary and radio shows over the years know that I am not one for playing the race card. The disparity in news coverage and reporting by the MSM on the killings of black and brown students over the last four decades is reprehensible. I am numbed at this point to any new report about the killing our defenseless children. While the Newtown Connecticut shooting is tragic, sad, it's no more shocking to me than the killings of thousands of black and brown school children across this country in urban areas since the 1980s. As an informed and concerned citizen I have noted the wholesale slaughter of Black and Brown children without as much as a whimper from the nation.
I was quoted by Anderson Cooper from a Huffington Post blog on air “if this type of carnage was going on in a white suburb we would have Black Water or the National Guard on the streets protecting our children.”
The hypocrisy of Americans not to address this issue of gun violence that has taken many young black and brown lives, in Los Angeles, Riverside County, Detroit, Oakland, Chicago, Atlanta, Washington DC, Newark, is the real tragedy. When I hear of a Newtown, Columbine, VA Tech it pales in comparison to me, when there are dozens of student killings in our urban centers on a daily basis.
Here we are in a supposed post-racial Obama era, and it seems to me that race and the color of one's skin is clearly an issue. Why do I say that? I was told by senior-level administrators in the Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Chicago school systems that over 70% of their students suffer some form of PTSD? Most of the children have witnessed, or know someone that was shot to death at an early age. There is not an outcry to provide a higher quality of life for these communities.
President Obama's attempt to console the nation seems very hypocritical to me because in our Kenwood neighborhood, people are being killed two blocks from the president's home frequently. In fact the violence was so heightened that a police board meeting was convened August 1, 2011. This is a copy of the article concerning a meeting.
The senseless murder of Derrion Albert only became a national news event was because Mayor Daley and Pres. Obama were in Oslo Norway trying to get the Olympics of 2016 for the city. The result was President Obama sent former CPS Superintendent and current Education Sec. Arnie Duncan, and Attorney General Holder, to review the issues and they promised to bring $30 million to the city to fight gang violence. That brought out Rev. Jackson and Sharpton to ride school buses while the cameras rolling. We (the public) do not know if the $30 million was received by the city, and if it was I'm sure it wasn't used to protect black and brown students in the city given the continued killings.
However it appears to me that another student-killing tragedy in a white suburban neighborhood, committed by a mentally ill young white male, who profiles the same neurotic way has moved the forefront of the 24-hour news cycle. We have MSM commentators that know nothing about guns, gunplay, and gunmanship, except what they've see on television and in the movies. The same liberals or progressives totally ignore the carnage in black and brown communities across this nation. My intent here is to point out how when white students are murdered, it's a tragedy in a news event, when black and brown students are murdered "it's just a bump in the road."
To Sen. Feinstein and other well intended politicians, I only this to say: None of you in Congress, nor President Obama, come close to the having the intellect and vision of the founding fathers. Please don’t make decisions for us based on your “naïve and idealistic” views of the world. When citizens are armed, they save lives like in Cong. Gifford’s shooting incident. The problem is not enough people are using concealed carry laws to protect themselves. Try to disarm the citizens in Detroit where the police department was reduced 50% or Pontiac, MI which lost its police department due to budget cuts. By the way Pontiac, MI is one of 10 most violent cities in the country. Guns don’t kill People, Criminals and Mentally Ill People Do!
Talk Show Host
Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 February 2013 11:13
Category: Your Voice Written by Dr. Curtis Ivery, Chancellor WCCCD
The advantage of becoming more experienced in life is the ability to value every moment I have to spend my grandchildren. There is nothing more precious than to be able to pass on the love, pride and nurture; the lessons offered and the legacy created by my father and grandfather from my generation to my children’s offspring. This impact of what we do today for those who follow was so vividly displayed when walking with my two-year-old grandson down an otherwise empty hallway.
As I walked slowly and quietly in that space, he looked up to me, breaking that silence with one of most profound things I could have heard from the perspective of his mind. In that moment, he asked me to hold his hand. As I reached down to him, the feeling in his eyes of trust, protection, warmth and hope let me know that this was a significant moment in his life and development. It was also a clear sign to me of the impact we make for those around us in such a simple act.
I value time I spend with my grandchildren for several reasons. It gives me yet another chance to contribute to our future and to ensure the legacy created by my father and grandfather of a strong family structure is sustained.
While his request was simple, it was also metaphorically profound. In addition to my own children and grandchildren, I have spent my life and career focused on strengthening and supporting all of our young people. To me, my grandson was speaking for them. They need us to hold their hands.
Not just literally at a time when we can offer physical support and balance, but figuratively when we should be offering emotional, spiritual and psychological support and guidance as well. As we look around at the social challenges our children are enduring, it is obvious that we’ve let go of their hands.
Once upon a time, all adults were charged with the role and responsibility of caring for our children. We were corrected by neighbors when we made mistakes, and those same neighbors celebrated and shared our accomplishments. But today, our children seem to be raising themselves.
We hear and see our young people defined as rowdy, unruly and even violent. To me, those are calls for help. They are speaking out in what may be the only way they know how; they are asking for our hands.
Whether we grab their hands is our choice, but a chance we must take. We have to take the time to show them we care enough to help guide or redirect their paths. We must intervene and held create a better future for them, and ourselves.
The issues we must deal with as a result of the massive number of un-held hands is our own fault. We looked away and gave up on our greatest asset — our children. But we must turn around in order to turn them, and things, around as well.
And it as simple as the request of my grandson. We must hold their hands. Not in the babying manner, or event one of over-accommodation. Rather, it should be one of care, concern, love and guidance. We can hold their hands today or have a problem on our hands tomorrow.
Last Updated on Thursday, 21 February 2013 20:21
Category: Your Voice Written by Britney Spear
Stars from all musical genres commenced upon the Staples center on Sunday for music's biggest night. Yet, perhaps one of the most striking highlights relates to what we did not see.
The noticeable absence of R&B is something that might have you contemplating ‘what's really going on?’
For years, many of music's biggest icons have belonged in one shape or another to the genre that traditionally defines black music. The rise of hip hop over the past couple of decades has changed the face of urban sound. But, is there not room enough for an assortment of musical types?
The presence of other genres and their seemingly widespread appeal is without denial. In recent years, we've witnessed a resurgence of indie, folk music, and jazz. Country continues to hold onto to it's mainstream appeal. Why is it that genres without nearly as many mainstream acts have managed to have twice as much presence at awards shows?
There is also the question with regard to the billboard charts. The fact is, black artists continue to struggle to make it on the Top 100. It seems a enough of a challenge to fall on the genre's list.
What’s to blame for the continued struggle of what used to be black America’s most beloved genre? Is it that we do not support the music that once defined our culture. It seems nearly impossible to achieve the level of success that some past acts, who held onto their urban roots, once claimed. Perhaps it’s the pressure to fit into a mainstream that no longer allows you to be the artist you truly are? Our biggest stars seem to carefully straddle the fence of R&B and Pop to maintain their popularity. Those who take risks may sometimes suffer from falling into the unknown. What was once possible for acts like Aretha Franklin and even Whitney Houston no longer applies to Rihanna and Beyonce. Leaning too far in the direction of R&B is simply unacceptable in the world of mainstream music.
In short, the solution might lie in black communities supporting its own. Granted, not everyone likes R&B. The same, however, can be said about Country. What the success of the latter tells us is that the former has not yet tapped into it’s strength as a true niche.
R&B should stand alone; it should not require the support of the masses to purely exist. Until that changes, we’ll continue to see fewer and fewer black faces at our top awards show.
Eventually, what once defined the sound of our culture will turn into obscurity.
Follow Britney Spear on Twitter @missbritneysp
Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 February 2013 07:00
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