Tuesday, December 9, 2008

We just HAVE TO do better

I know you may have heard that before, how we as a people have to get it together and not only do what is right for ourselves but uplift each other as a people. On Sunday, in Detroit, a mother was arrested for hosting a sex party in her own home, but that's not the worst...there was an undercover sting and three men were arrested for helping host the party....not yet....there was an armed doorman.....still more......there were 19 prostitutes working in the house at the time of the raid....BUT the worst part of this already tragic story is that the 16 year-old daughter of the woman, and her 16 year-old friend were not only at the party but were dancing nude for men! When did....How could....(speechless)

We just HAVE TO do better, not just for ourselves but for each other too. The woman's neighbors knew she was having a hard time, but only had harsh words for her after the incident. If only one, just one, had offered some help, some encouragement, some counsel.....just one.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Saturday, December 6, 2008


By the time the Lord made woman, he was into his sixth day of working overtime. An angel appeared and said, "Why are you spending so much time on this one?" And the Lord answered, "Have you seen my spec sheet on her? She has to be completely washable, but not plastic, have over 200 movable parts, all replaceable and able to run on diet coke and leftovers, have a lap that can hold four children at one time, have a kiss that can cure anything from a scraped knee to a broken heart -and she will do everything with only two hands." The angel was astounded at the requirements. "Only two hands!”? No way! And that's just on the standard model? That's too much work for one day. Wait until tomorrow to finish. But I won't," the Lord protested. "I am so close to finishing this creation that is so close to my own heart. She already heals herself when she is sick AND can work 18 hour days." The angel moved closer and touched the woman. "But you have made her so soft, Lord." "She is soft," the Lord agreed, "but I have also made her tough. You have no idea what she can endure or accomplish. "Will she be able to think?” asked the angel. The Lord replied, "Not only will she be able to think, she will be able to reason and negotiate." The angel then noticed something, and reaching out, touched the woman’s cheek. "Oops, it looks like you have a leak in this model. I told you that you were trying to put too much into this one." "That's not a leak," the Lord corrected, "that's a tear!" "What's the tear for?" the angel asked. The Lord said, "The tear is her way of expressing her joy, her sorrow, her pain, her disappointment, her love, her loneliness, her grief and her pride." The angel was impressed. "You are a genius, Lord. You thought of everything! Woman is truly amazing." And she is! Women have strengths that amaze men. They bear hardships and they carry burdens, but they hold happiness, love and joy. They smile when they want to scream. They sing when they want to cry. They cry when they are happy and laugh when they are nervous. They fight for what they believe in. They stand up to injustice. They don't take "no" for an answer when they believe there is a better solution. They go without so their family can have. They go to the doctor with a frightened friend. They love unconditionally. They cry when their children excel and cheer when their friends get awards. They are happy when they hear about a birth or a wedding. Their hearts break when a friend dies. They grieve at the loss of a family member, yet they are strong when they think there is no strength left. They know that a hug and a kiss can heal a broken heart. Women come in all shapes, sizes and colors. They’ll drive, fly, walk, run or e-mail you to show how much they care about you. The heart of a woman is what makes the world keep turning. They bring joy, hope and love. They have compassion and ideals. They give moral support to their family and friends Women have vital things to say and everything to give....... HOWEVER, IF THERE IS ONE FLAW IN WOMEN, IT IS THAT THEY FORGET THEIR WORTH.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Florida Teen Commits Preventable Online Suicide

A young man, in his prime, took his own life with a webcam running as logged on users typed away. NONE called for help till 10 hours later. This is a somber reminder that as we pass each other on the roads to our various destinations, we never really know what is going on in each others life. Take the time to talk to one another. Pass a stranger and smile (not freakishly of course). A kind word can go a long way. I know many of you have seen this story before, but I think this event is a good time to revisit it. Remeber your words have power. The power to hurt AND the power to heal. God Bless you all, God loves you, and so do I. The story...

One day, when I was a freshman in high school, I saw a kid from my class was walking home from school. His name was Kyle. It looked like he was carrying all of his books. I thought to myself, "Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday? He must really be a nerd." I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my friends tomorrow afternoon),so I shrugged my shoulders and went on.

As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him. They ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms and tripping him so he landed in the dirt. His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about ten feet from him. He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes. My heart went out to him. So, I jogged over to him and as he crawled around looking for his glasses, and I saw a tear in his eye.

As I handed him his glasses, I said, "Those guys are jerks. They really should get lives." He looked at me and said, "Hey thanks!" There was a big smile on his face. It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude. I helped him pick up his books, and asked him where he lived. As it turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I had never seen him before. He said he had gone to private school before now. I would have never hung out with a private school kid before. We talked all the way home, and I carried his books. He turned out to be a pretty cool kid. I asked him if he wanted to play football on Saturday with me and my friends. He said yes. We hung all weekend and the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him, and my friends thought the same of him.

Monday morning came, and there was Kyle with the huge stack of books again. I stopped him and said, "Boy, you are gonna really build some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday!" He just laughed and handed me half the books. Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends. When we were seniors, we began to think about college. Kyle decided on Georgetown, and I was going to Duke. I knew that we would always be friends, that the miles would never be a problem. He was going to be a doctor, and I was going for business on a football scholarship.

Kyle was valedictorian of our class. I teased him all the time about being nerd. He had to prepare a speech for graduation. I was so glad it wasn't me having to get up there and speak.

Graduation day, I saw Kyle. He looked great. He was one of those guys that really found himself during high school. He filled out and actually looked good in glasses. He had more dates than I had and all the girls loved him. Boy, sometimes I was jealous. Today was one of those days. I could see that he was nervous about his speech. So, I smacked him on the back and said, "Hey, big guy, you'll be great!" He looked at me with one of those looks (the really grateful one) and smiled. "Thanks," he said.

As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began. "Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years. Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a coach...but mostly your friends. I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them. I am going to tell you a story."

I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he told the story of the first day we met. He had planned to kill himself over the weekend. He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his Mom wouldn't have to do it later and was carrying his stuff home. He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile. "Thankfully, I was saved. My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable. "I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told us all about his weakest moment. I saw his mom and dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful smile. Not until that moment did I realize it's depth.

Never underestimate the power of your actions. With one small gesture you can change a person's life. For better or for worse. God puts us all in each other's lives to impact one another in some way. Look for God in others.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The days after....

The sun began peeking through the blinds. I felt the heat on my face and began to stir. I barely slept a wink, I had to see the election results and listen to the commentary. I felt tired, too tired to work, I’ll take today off. This was the new day in America that we have prayed for; this was the first day of the new chapter in history for our country and just as importantly for OUR people. Surely the people had celebrated themselves to giddiness, and they were sleeping in or too tired to do anything. I decided to dedicate my day to reviewing the new America. I got in my car and began driving, not really knowing where I would go. The sun seemed a little brighter this morning. I need gas so I pulled into a station, but gas was still over $3 a gallon. I guess that will take time...change is coming … I bought a cup of coffee at $1.50…Yeah that will go down soon…change is coming.

I looked around my neighborhood, and to my dismay…things looked much the same as they had been yesterday. Maybe the historic events of the previous night have not taken root yet. Is it possible that there are still people apathetic to the significance of THIS election? Ok, let’s wait to see what happens later. I decided to give it a little time.

In Afghanistan, another soldier lost his life…nothing changed there yet…In Iraq, another life given in defense of …well of an ideal…no changes yet. Domestically, people were murdered, robbed, and beaten today as with any other day in the life of this great country. Hmmm…I guess this may take longer than I thought. I kept looking around, day after day, waiting patiently for change to happen. It never did. I wondered what is wrong with YOU people? Why won’t you …just…just …. CHANGE? I found myself getting more and more disappointed as each day passed. Disappointment became sadness, sadness turned to indifference, and indifference became anger. In a fury now, I began to curse the day I was filled with hope for a better tomorrow.

As I prepared for another angry angst filled day, I went to the bathroom to prepare for the day. There I found the source of my issues; the problem had been there from since that Election Day. The problem had been staring me in the face all along. The change I was looking for was not to come from some dynamic figure or history making event. The change had to start with me. I had to change. I had to do what I hadn’t done before… I had to do what I wouldn’t do…. I had to take personal initiative and start the change ball rolling. The change was to come from each of us…all of us…doing just a few things, just a little bit differently. Things that contribute, rather than take away….things that build up rather than tear down. I’ve always had the answer…we’ve always had the answer. It has always been, and still is up to us as individuals to institute the change we seek in our lives.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Looking back....A More 'Perfect' Union

a little higher...

today we walk with our heads just a little higher. today we enter a new era of change. today we who know, are left with fewer excuses. today we have more reason as a people to be proud. today we see before us the work that remains to be done. today we reach out to those who would try to keep us down. today the dream is realized. today our children can see the possibilities that our parents never saw. today we walk with our heads...just a little higher.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

10 days till history begins...

but will it be short lived|?

This historic election will draw to a close in 10 days and Barack Obama will be elected the first African-American President. He faces the most difficult challenge to any person entering the office of the Presidency,. His issues are doubled with the historical significance, and all eyes will be on him. Black eyes will be looking with pride and hope. Many will pray daily that he doesn't drop the ball or embarrass us. White eyes will look just as intently. They will be looking for favoritism, and some will be waiting impatiently for the 'see, I told you so' moment. His first four, heck his first year MUST produce noticeable change in the status of the country. This is close to an impossible feat by normal standards, but if he can do it, it will only serve to add to the legacy of the first African-American President.

Growing up (I'm 44), we were always taught from grade school age, that we could be anything we wanted to be. All we had to do was study hard, apply ourselves, and make good choices. In my naivite, I believed it all. It was not until the begining of the primaries that I realized that I had been fed a line my entire life. Institutionally, the words were true, but practically...it just wasn't ever going to happen. Fast forward to today and prayers, are being answered, history is being made, and we are all witnesses. It doesn't end the chapter of institutional discrimination, nor does it minimize the real pain of all who have been stung...It does however begin a new chapter....

In case you think our kids aren't paying attention...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Just when you thought this election cycle couldn't get any lower...

Let's see the score card to date; Obama has been accused of being racist, Islamist, socialist, communist, a terrorist, and a few other 'ists' I probably haven't heard about. The attempts to link him with these groups and ideals has surpassed all expectations and gone well beyond any code of decency that should be shared by sitting Senators. When did it become okay to spread lies about families and even repeat truths? Is this what we have become? You did it to me, now I have to get you back!. How does this tit for tat and smear of fear sit with the 'Christian' right? or even with the Christian (not so far right)? We are becoming the nation we have long claimed we had left behind. A place where fear rules, where lies are told, where upstanding citizens are treated with less regard than the family pet. Don't clap too hard Democrats, we are just as guilty. We may not be to the low point of the McCain/Palin team or the RNC, but we aren't wearing white to the election either. As predicted the situation continues to worsen. In Fayetteville, NC early Obama supporting voters are heckled as they cast their votes (most are African-American), voting machines are already kicking back the wrong votes as voters watch their vote evaporate. Supporters attending an Obama rally return to their vehicles to find them vandalized, including the police chief's wife. Grown men dressing stuffed monkeys with Obama stickers. A dead bear dumped in a small town intersection with Obama signs on it. A mailer with fried chicken and watermelon and Obama's face on a donkey, T-shirts with Curious George and Obama '08 printed on them. If you think the list is long, it is. Wake up people we ARE ALL Americans, it doesn't matter what you hyphenate before AMERICAN. When will we become the country we profess. A country built on the ideals of men who did whatever they had to do to escape religious persecution, a country with the rights of individuals to live their lives as they see fit, without trampling on others rights. voting is, in my opinion, a right as basic as breathing. To be intimidated or coerced in ANYWAY is unethical in the least and criminal at most. Yes we need change, and that change cannot be provided by either leader. The change must start and end with each of us. WE have to decide on change, not decide who will change things for us.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

General Colin Powell (R) (RET.) Endorses Barack Obama for president

Watch the moving endorsement of Barack Obama by former Secretary of State, General Colin Powell. Once considered a viable candidate for the presidency himself, a moderate republican, he has painfully given his support to Barack Obama. Weighing his personal values against the backdrop of his expectations for his party, he cites his reasoning.

Of course the blogosphere is already abuzz with words like traitor, disloyal, ungrateful, and the like. THEY say he did it just because he is African American...of course we know better.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Race and the Bradley Effect in the 2008 Election

To assume that race will not play a role in the upcoming election is naive, but it is not likely to be in a 'traditional ' sense. There will be Blacks that will vote for Obama just because he is black, there will be whites who will not vote for Obama just because he is black. Although both reflect racist attitudes, there is a different driver behind each. For the Black racist, the voter is (mis-)guided by a sense of pride. Certainly not the best reason to choose the leader of the free world. For the white racist, especially the white mainline democrat, that votes against their values based on skin color, their racism is based in hate. Racism on both sides-YES, the same or comparable? NO.

The Bradly effect IMO will not occur in this election, for a few reasons. First, there is still some discussion if there even exists a Bradly effect with respect to the California Governor's race. Second, in the information age, more people are making up their minds earlier in the season. Additionally, part of the issue of what determines the Bradley effect is that polls were taken in person. The difference with the presidential election is that it 'should' be easier for individuals who intend to vote for or against either candidate to be more candid with the pollster. The additional advancement of race relations to date are the final piece of this complex puzzle.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Louisiana Lawmaker Proposes new version of Final Solution

In a brainstorming session, with generational welfare as the central topic, the 'Jessica Simpson' of the Louisiana legislature came up with a bone-headed idea that is eerily reminiscent of Hitler and eugenics. Rep. John LaBruzzo offered to the discussion a proposal to pay poor women $1000 to undergo tubal ligation. He used as a backdrop the 1000's of poor that were trapped in New Orleans for Katrina and those that were evacuated at public expense for Gustav. We saw those videos...he says poor, but he means black. In a video interview with CNN's Kyra Phillips, he can barely contain himself from referring to 'those people', these people' etc. Isn't he the representative of 'those people'? Kyra blows it out of the water when she gives the poverty statistics for Louisiana 17% with children and 23% without, which means the lawmakers should be focusing on the adult population. But why even go that far, poverty in Louisiana has been on the decline statewide. He also tries to deflect race as an issue during an interview with ABC News

but he is wrong again. From the same statistics quoted by Kyra Phillips the number of Blacks in poverty is 552,352 compared to 355,675 White ( http://statehealthfactsonline.org/profileind.jsp?cat=1&sub=2&rgn=20). It is this low-key seemingly innocent thought process that starts the ball rolling on the 'THEM - vs - US'. This is not happening here, but if it starts anywhere...it just becomes a matter of time. To quote our next First Lady "wake up Black People"

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Immorality Finds a Home on the Internet

That doesn't sound like anything new. With the prevalence of pornography, online predators, all manner of thievery that takes place online, what more could possibly be added... Well thanks to a new website, you can arrange a liason with someone you are interested in...but that's not new either, what is new is that this new site is SPECIFICALLY for married people who want to find a discreet 'hook-up'. It touts no strings attached. In this time of an ignored AIDS epidemic and encroachments to the validity of what constitutes a consecrated union, we cannot allow further erosion of our values. If you stood on the altar, then you need to stay away from the website. I don't want to errantly entice any further business their way, so I wont mention the name here (those who WANT to find it , WILL). Honor your spouse, honor your vows, honor your God.

Coded Language Continues to Plague Election Campaign

The lessons to be learned in this years off the wall presidential campaign, is Learn English! This is not an anti immigration attack, or a push for higher education standards. It is the only way to garner the true meanings behind what certain candidates are ACTUALLY saying. Examples? Glad you asked....McCain speaks to certain areas about how he wants to have programs that keep 'deserving' homeowners in their economically challeged homes. But that presents a bit of a problem...if the people he is referring to are 'deserving' then it is unlikely that they would be facing foreclosure. 'Deserving' either has an alternative meaning, or means no one at all. Today he stated that his economic programs would 'target' the middle class. Well, his previous plan 'targeted' the middle class in a round-a-bout way. He continues to believe that if you let the richest Americans keep more of THEIR money, they will graciously use that money to create more jobs... My limited middle-class mind is trying to put this in simpler terms...If I suddenly was able to get back 5% of what I pay in taxes, would I use that money to help a brotha out? I'm not self-centered, but I would more likely be laughing to the bank, and frankly I don't see how a large corporation wouldn't say thanks and keep it moving. Bottom line is, in order to make an informed decision, you need to be truthfully informed. From any politician, thats virtually impossible.

SI Advance Wedding Photos

Almost 5 years now since I married the most beautiful woman in the world... Yeah we did the fairytale wedding, the limos, the Old Bermuda Inn, and hired a wedding planner, professional photographer , and videographer. This is nothing new to some people, and over the top to others. Bottom line we spent more than we intended, but were more than satisfied with the results. That said, what is with the title of this piece? When we were married we were the only Black couple presented in the Advance. Random checks of late have produced similar results. The point? why don't we post our happiest days moment more often. Don't get me wrong, its not an easy process, there are a few hoops and specific deadlines that have to be met, but it is not impossible. I hear the detractors already....why does it matter? It matters because the advance is read in many households on Staten Island, households with children...When the children see black faces in cuffs, and white faces in wedding photos, it sends a message. It is obviously not a pretty message. Admittedly, I don't know of many recent Black marriages, but there must have been some. I encourage every wedding party, regardless of size, location, and level of expense; take the time to make an effort to submit your photos and bios to the Advance. Not to promote the newspaper, but to let our children know that we still find love in the midst of the storm.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Interested in becoming a member of Black Staten Island Now?

If you have read some of the posts and you would like to let people see what you think (other than commenting on existing stories), then become a member of Black Staten Island Now. As a member you will be able to submit your own subjects for review by our community. To be considered, submit a short essay on your position on a topic of your choosing. Spelling, grammar, and sound logic will be considered. If your submission is recognized you will receive further instructions on what to do next. This offer is limited to Staten Island residents (or former residents) that care about the African-American community of Staten Island. Good luck and start writing!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Letter to AC360 Blog by Lynn Whitfield's Daughter Grace Gibson

see http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/2008/07/25/i-am-neither-black-nor-white-im-both/
for full text .

Her words are moving, her intent is good, but I know many who will jump at the chance to tell her she is wrong. My opinion, of course, (since I am the father of two biracial children), is that she is right. I know there are many who feel that racial identity is important, so important to some, that they look down on those who mix the races as some kind of evil dilution. It is a good foundation for self esteem to have a strong positive view and connection to one's heritage. Those that prefer no mixing would say that it becomes to cumbersome and you lose flavor when you are mixed. There is no connection, they worry that their race will disappear. Well, it will. The day may come when the lines and features and tones that so easily allow us to be segregated into little boxes of black, white, other, etc. will disappear forever. No one will be able to trace their heritage to one race or one place. The human race will be the racial preference. How then will discrimination take place? How will police then decide who to stop and frisk? How will the HR representative choose which job applicant to hire? Who will get the 'black' scholarship, who will benefit (or be denied) based on affirmative action? Who will give great moving speeches on the state of race relations in America....No one will and everyone will. The sooner the things that separate us are no longer visible, the better. Likewise, learn your heritage, all of it. The black and the white. The Asian and the Indian. Embrace both, all three or all four of the cultures which embody your bloodstream. THEN use that connection to enhance the race we all belong to. The Human Race.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

It is no longer a question of 'win or lose' in IRAQ, it is simply stay or go.

I received the following response to a request for what victory in Iraq entails (my comments follow each point);

1) A rebuilt infrastructure
That we destroyed by believing Bush's lies. If we are replacing what we destroyed...THAT IS NOT VICTORY, that is very close, however, to an apology.

2) A stable democracy that will/does not kill its own people.
An impossible feat, there are NO GUARANTEES that the democracy will stand 10, 20 or 100 years from now, without a large consistent military presence...surely you don't think that ALL of the opposition to peace and stability is gone?

3) A stable Iraq that does not work with any terrorist organization.
Another impossibility... the government may not officially support or harbor terrorists, but if they can't clamp down on what is going on in the country now, even with the surge and a somewhat stable government in power, then what will happen without the presence of the US military?

4) Create a professional military that is strong enough to defend itself from all threats both foreign and domestic
Something else we destroyed and would not have to replace, if we hadn't done such a bangup job.

5) The continued killing of terrorists
By who? And what if a terrorist backed regime takes over?....why would they kill themselves?

Listen it is no longer a question of win or lose and it never has been, the only reason that Iraq is the way it is now is due to our military presence (and that covers both the positives and the negatives). When we leave, whether anyone likes it or not nature will take its course. The only way to prevent that is to stay indefinitely. Staying indefinitely is neither a win nor a loss...there is NO WIN OR LOSE....only Stay OR GO! Get it?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Could an Obama presidency hurt black Americans?

I decided that using the exact headline is fitting in this case. As we rest on the cusp of one of the most exciting moments in African-American history....this question is asked. The linked article (http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/07/22/obama.hurt.blacks/index.html) from CNN goes on to explain that this is not just an issue raised by radical militant black leadership, but represents some mainstream fears as well.
The possibility that an African-American achieving the highest office in the land would 'turn-off' the race issue, or negate its power is a slight reality. But let's look at it this way....there have long been doctors, and lawyers, teachers, principals, mayors, and congressmen. Generals, Admirals, Professors, CEOs, COOs, CFOs, and Board members. There are any number of high paying, or high status jobs and occupations in which African-Americans have excelled. And yet with all this...there is still the ugly stories of Jena 6, the Katrina (lack of) response and Coal Run, Ohio where an entire black community was denied water service.
Don't think for even one minute that an African-American in the role of President stops the race clock. There still exists today the spectre of institutional racism. Its not going away with this election, its not going away with Obama's success. It will ONLY be gone when the people who hate, knowingly and unknowingly, decide that THEY no longer want to participate in a society of hatred and discrimination. Only then will racism be defeated.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Urban Prep - defying the odds

http://www.urbanprep.org/ is a Charter School in Chicago that is winning the war against lack of education. Their efforts even extend beyond the academic walls of the school into the homes and communities of their students. Their creed (included below) is a mantra for success and is recited daily by all students. The halls are lined with Ivy League and Historic Black College banners to further spur the initiative for higher learning. This formula is exhibiting success, if it is sustained, it should be replicated.

The Urban Prep Creed
We believe.
We are the young men of Urban Prep.
We are college bound.
We are exceptional -- not because we say it, but because we work hard at it.
We will not falter in the face of any obstacle placed before us.
We are dedicated, committed and focused.
We never succumb to mediocrity, uncertainty or fear.
We never fail because we never give up.
We make no excuses.
We choose to live honestly, nonviolently and honorably.
We respect ourselves and, in doing so, respect all people.
We have a future for which we are accountable.
We have a responsibility to our families, community and world.
We are our brothers' keepers.
We believe in ourselves.
We believe in each other.
We believe in Urban Prep.

CNN set to teach the world what it is like to be Black in America?

CNN, is set to present a two-night event that has been touted to end by revealing what it is like to be black in America. While I applaud the effort, I find it close to impossible to provide an accurate representation of the intricacies of the Black experience over a few hours. I;m certain Ms. O'Brien intends to touch as many subjects and issues as possible in the time allotted. Its just that so much of what we experience is so varied and colored by the lens of our own views and outlooks. What some see as oppression, others see as the necessary swift kick, what some see as a hand up, some see as a hand out. Our experiences are as varied as the shades of our skins. Still the conversation begins with education. It is my hope that everyone, whether they are interested in change or not, take the time to watch what promises to be an enlightening few hours. We all benefit when the level of understanding of our differences is raised. For more information on the upcoming show and to read some relevant stories associated with the show see - http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2008/black.in.america/

Friday, July 18, 2008

Jeff Harrell of the Staten Island Notebook recently 'called out' the father of Darren Rivera, the young man who was recently arrested at IS 49 for bringing a gun to school. His straightforward language and lambasting is a lesson to all fathers that let their children languish without guidance. Read the enitire story here:

But go beyond reading, take this opportunity to call or go see a child that needs you. Whether you are a biological father, a weekend father, a some-of-the-time father, a never father, or an always father. Let your child know today that you are there for them, and show them what it is to be a man. Ladies give him a break, let him be in his child's life...you can continue to not like the way you were treated and even not like him. But it is my hope that for the sake of the children you can find a nuetral location where he can be the father he needs to be in his child(ren)'s life.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Stop the Violence!

Just returned from a candlelight vigil to highlight the recent rash of violence plaguing the North Shore. The vigils were held simultaeneously across the North Shore at various locations. The one I attended, at St. Philips Baptist Church, was somber and heartening. There were prayers and hymns, scripture and fellowship. The only thing missing was the presence of people capable of the type of violence that has plagued our community. I'm not trying to discount the importance of our gathering, I do however question its effectiveness. Our goal should be to reach those who live on the other side of civility. The people that have trouble dealing with issues of day to day violence and infect the minds of those around them. This issue has moved beyond the combatants of this unholy war and has begun to touch the innocents. Our focus is to change what drives the violence, to teach acceptable ways of resolving conflict, and to focus our brothers and sisters efforts on something other than sneakers, rims, and clothes. The call has been repeated....parents KNOW your children, know their friends, know where they are and where they go, check their rooms, their myspace pages, and get to know your child. If your child is on the wrong side of the law, correct them!, if you need help, ASK....you will be surprised how many resources there are to help now....that prevent burial expenses later.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Obama is not a Muslim!!! Why are you yelling?

There are many issues swirling around this point. The primary issue, IMO, is the lack of education in regards to the words Muslim, Islam, and Arab. I won't bore you with an etymology lesson. Obama (fact) is not Muslim or a follower of Islam, BUT there would be nothing wrong with it if he were. Would he be the nominee? probably not, but that isn't the debate. The facts are the debate. Muslims are not ALL terrorists (fact). I don't get what is so hard to believe about the fact that even in Islamic religion there are varying factions. There are varying factions (including violent at times) of Christianity, Judaism, and many other religions. It is our own ignorance that continuously makes this an issue in this campaign. Christians have bombed buildings and killed thousands, Jews the same. Americans bombed an entire town, forcing a nation to surrender. That should not be the guideline to hate any group. There should be hatred for some groups though. But these groups are specific, numbered and their members have specific names. That is to say the guilty are the people we should hate for their crimes. We can no more hate an entire group based on the actions of a few....lest we begin a trend that leads back to ourselves.

Obama at the NAACP talked about more than responsibility

Obama's recent speech at the NAACP, did more than just give him an opportunity to call on African-Americans to accept more personal responsibility for themselves. Didn't hear about it? Thats because the political watchdogs were waiting to see if he would continue on that path and waiting for backlash from the audience. While they were satisfied that he did not mince words, as he should not have, they were somewhat 'disappointed' that he was so well received, especially as he was addressing that same issue. It is time that we, all of us, accept responsibility for the parts of our life situations that we inflict on ourselves. Is there establishment racism? Yes. Are there opportunities that we were denied that might have changed our futures? Of course. But anyone who is in touch with their true selves and accepting of their faults and shortcomings, is also capable of saying," some of it was me." If yuo are lucky enough to already be up, make it a part of your plan to give a hand'up' to someone else. Not a dollar, not a handout, not pity....someting tangible that makes a life difference not a days difference.

Who speaks for African Americans today?

While the below referenced poll does not settle the issue, it certainly bolsters my position that Sharpton is NOT the spokesperson for Black America...even if you discount Obama's presence, you can clearly see in these results that there is no overwhelmingly approved leader. This of course is both good and bad. Good that someone who is as volatile and self-serving as Sharpton can be is not the leader and bad that there is no single clearcut leader for issues that specifically face the african-american populace. The best position held here is by the 6% that say the address their own racial issues and trust themselves to lead themselves to the right conclusion. I can't help feeling that there are many more out there that if they found themselves in a racially charged situation that they would stand up and gather the necessary resources to solve their plight.


Monday, July 14, 2008

Walking for peace in our communities

300 marchers remember those lost to violence and to save others from the same senseless fate
Monday, July 14, 2008
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- A village gathered yesterday afternoon on the asphalt basketball courts of Mahoney Park in New Brighton.
Setting off to walk together to a rally at Borough Hall, they were a show of strength -- a procession on the sidewalk of more than 300 pairs of watchful eyes, able hands and willing feet.
The Walk of Remembrance in Honor of Youth Lost to Senseless Violence -- organized by local organizations and clergy members in response to the recent, tragic deaths on Staten Island -- sought to shine light into those insular, hardscrabble neighborhoods where fighting is frequent and youth feel they have nowhere to escape, and anywhere else violence erupts.
Wearing T-shirts with the photos of Najea Smith, the 17-year-old Curtis High School nursing student fatally shot in May; William Rios, a 19-year-old Susan Wagner graduate slain in April in Meiers Corners, and 21-year-old Grant Fleming, a father with a tough streak, killed during a robbery in the Richmond Terrace Houses last weekend, marchers carried banners emblazoned with giant stop signs, and vowed to look within themselves for answers and become agents of change.
"We are certainly going to make an impact from this day forward," the Rev. Tony Baker of St. Phillip's Baptist Church told the crowd before they marched to Borough Hall for more speeches and bittersweet cheers.
"The only thing that matters is to bring hope back to our community."
It was a sentiment echoed even by those the group passed on the street:
"If it keeps up like this, we are going to be extinct," said a man who would only give his name as Brooklyn, nodding in support of the marchers after he unfolded himself from a flashy Porsche in front of the Richmond Terrace Houses. "Nobody else is looking out for us."
Family members of Najea Smith told the gathering that every day was a struggle, living in the New Brighton house where she was born and had nurtured great hope for the future and then was gunned down.
They said they do not want anybody else to suffer the pain of promise senselessly extinguished.
"It depends on ourselves," said Miss Smith's cousin, Eddie Lewis. "If we don't do it nobody will do it."
For Nelson Diaz, the father of William Rios, who will never remove a thick gold chain around his neck with his son's graduation photo in a cameo, the loss was too strong for words -- he just took crisp, short breaths to hold back his tears.
"I'm here to show guns have no boundaries, and they don't only know the ghetto," said Rios's mother, Charmelle Andrews.
"Stop the hurting and killing and heart breaking," read a sign 8-year-old Song Tucker had drawn in bubble lettering on poster board.
The West Brighton girl seemed to understand the urgency of the event with the clear-eyed wisdom of the innocents whose futures depend on its success.
"People get killed and they have families that love them," she said, explaining why she wrote what she did.
"Those people that got killed wanted to do good things."
Deborah Young is a news reporter for the Advance. She can be reached at young at siadvance.com.
© 2008 Staten Island Advance
© 2008 SILive.com All Rights Reserved

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Welcome to Black Staten Island Now

Inspired by the rash of negative current events that are consistently played on media outlets, I felt it was time to have a place that specifically accentuates the positive. This blog will do that as well as speak to injustice, focus on resource needs, and support the future of Staten Island's Black Community. All are welcome to contribute to the discussion and present their opinions in a respectful manner.