Oh yes, Black is back!! We are on the cover of every magazine. There are Black faces hawking everything you can think of, from film to fashion, in front of and behind cameras, and in every business sector. Black lives now matter, cause Black money has always mattered. We witness white folks promoting Black to assuage guilt from the recent lynchings and distortedhistory . “What us gon’ do?” We’re gonna let them promote us with their hair flying back., as we ride the wave of exploitation. What?!!!
Go ahead! Promote us. We’ll take it. There was a time you couldn’t find a Black model on a fashion page. Check out The Great Awokening; we got your Vogue, GQ, Bazaar, even a Special Edition of Vanity Fair with, The Great Fire, by Guest Editor, Ta-nehshi Coates – Black folks everywhere! Black Entertainment Network, BET, has to look out; Netflix, Prime, Hulu, all the cable channels are sportin’ Black entertainment. You don’t have to search anymore; Black entertainment has a highlighted section. We even glow in the dark!
We’re in. Black folks are protesting, tearing off the shackles of Confederate myths by tearing down symbols of hate. We crawl through the carnage of policepolicy, demanding justice and reform, and most astounding, we find so much of the white population moving with us. We lead; they follow, asking how to use their privilege, paying homage to so many lessons never realized until now. Black frontline workers and old folks also leading positive COVID numbers. Oh yeah, we in.
Global revolution, fire literally burning our streets, our earth, our hearts.Where are Black folks…in the news, of course, with fists raised in protest. Always, camera shots of Blacks rioting; so often,faceless white imposters wearing black,initiating the mayhem, waving flags of terror. A new Blackface.
Indeed, Black is back, but for how long? If the fire of sensation simmers, and the celluloid dissolves, will thework, the good trouble, the inclusion of Black and brown peoplecontinue?
“Will you still love me tomorrow?” You/we must.
Of course, this is an important time in our global existence; history is being created before our eyes. We must remember the work and blessings in cleaning the ashes and continuing to work during and after the reveal of justice. Celebrating an Anniversary is more challenging than a Honeymoon, but more rewarding. We must continue the course knowing, “Joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5
“…the book title and its content are intended to be a whisper, reminding us that by taking the time to connect with our spiritual self, we can center through anything and that we are forever within the bubble of God’s protection.”
Image: Dihanne Westfield, Rev. Zethelyn Johnson, (two GGs) and Moi
So, today I run into this beautiful Black woman, age 67, who now models and has long tresses of gray hair. No, you can’t see a picture of her. But you can picture beautiful women, young, old, all cultures, with one thing in common, hair that sparkles like the glistening of new snow – some white, most gray. All declare to the world, “I am free to say I am fierce and gray!” I am their cheerleader, actively applauding their strength of natural style. I call them “Gorgeous greys,”(GGs), and I browse the products used for their signature shine. Then, every six weeks I run, not walk, to the pharmacy for my black hair dye – not rinse – I said dye. What?!!
“Black is the Color of My True Love’s Hair” is an old song, and while Mr. K. would love me no matter what my hair color, he will not be seeing my silver streaks anytime soon. My mama was dye-hard black till age 90 when her hair turned white, and her daughter will follow suit. I tried to let my grey grow in, but it looked like old, dirty snow, not at all like the glamourous luster of the GGs. I will have to remain blue-black, (two bottles now), until I’m old. Wait…I already am. What?!!
Underneath my black hair twists, I find a grey-haired life filled with so much passion and drive. that it allows me to keep up with you, to hear about your interests, and take action for or against social concerns. I wear black beautifully, but my diva designs find me in a myriad of colors, including red for hot! This rainbow also includes learning about cultures that differ from my own; their language, food, music, colloquialisms, and such hold my attention, and I have found that all enrich my being. This penchant for color may lead you to think that only vibrant colors hold significance in my life. Nope. Pastels have their place as well.
The soft fragrance of my chosen scent, Philosophy’s Amazing Grace, and sometimes, Coconut Oil Vanilla, my high-count cotton sheets, my all-year whites, my backdrop on walls holding paintings, and hydrangeas and peonies all make me go Ahhh. Why the declaration?
“I declare, “(as in my grandmother’s voice) “We are inside with COVID.” We have to have something that reminds us of the truth within our soul, that which makes us transcend the trappings of mundane existence. I continue to color my hair and throw on something red and a mask to match. (I gotta be fly for the grocery store or distanced protest). I just bought an ecru coverlet for my bed, my Ahhh,and I affirm I am here. No matter how long this stay-safe assignment lasts, each moment finds me in living color!
There is nothing like seeing the beauty of folks within my posse/tribe/soul-family. You are creatively designed and fierce – living color, thank God! We are safe within our awareness of each daily blessing. You are mine.
“…the book title and its content are intended to be a whisper, reminding us that by taking the time to connect with our spiritual self, we can center through anything and that we are forever within the bubble of God’s protection.”
A few years ago, I had a session with the renowned Dagara elder, author, and teacher, Malidoma Patrice Some’. He prescribed an island location for the last leg of my well-being ritual. Immediately, I thought, “I’m Caribbean bound!” After all, I had resided on the island of St. Maarten for four years and was comfortable with the sanctuary of Caribbean beaches. However, Spirit had other plans. My friend, Dr. Deb, had spoken with her friend, Valjeanne, who suggested Sapelo Island.
The suggestion of Sapelo led me to do a Google search. I remembered this island! The threat of locals being taxed out of their land was the story that jolted my memory. Previously, I had read and was outraged by the possibility of this encroachment. I remembered families directly descended from slaves inhabited Sapelo, and they were a part of the Gullah culture. After reading more about this treasure steeped in culture and boasting a pristine beach, I immediately felt excited about completing my spiritual ritual there. Dr. Deb, her mom, Dorothy, (both, my spiritual mentors), and I were to journey to Jacksonville, Florida, pick up Valjeanne, drive to Brunswick, Georgia, and take the ferry to Sapelo Island. Road trip! Road trip!!
With Valjeanne at the wheel, Dr. Deb, Dorothy, and I drove to Brunswick, GA to catch the ferry to Sapelo. My intentions set for a mystical journey, I dared not eat until my mission was completed. Yes, there were campers and church groups, but our trip there held a significance that tourist/visitor did not define. To our dismay, we were given only several hours to explore Sapelo. What personal secrets for me did an island with direct descendants of Africa hold? Did they hold a sacred key — one that would open me up to the renewal I was seeking?
Arriving on Sapelo, we were greeted by our guide, JR Grovner. He is a direct descendant of slaves. “My grandmother was Sylvia Wilson and my grandfather was James Gardner,” said Mr. Grovner. “I have two boys and two girls.” His granddaughter had sneaked into the van to ride with us. Mr. Grovner is renowned for his tours, and we were to learn the back story of this island.
We boarded our van and followed the path of other tours to the Behavior Cemetery. Behavior was a slave community, and “slave masters used to tell the slaves that they could do whatever they wanted to do, as long as they behaved themselves. You have to be a descendant to be buried in this cemetery.” We made our way to the Research Center, where we met Mrs. Grovner guiding her own tour. The granddaughter went with her. This is where and when Dr. Deb reminded Mr. Grovner about our mission — we needed to find an indigenous tree and to learn about the roots of this island that were not on the commercial tour.
Mr. Grovner accommodated our needs. He took us off the beaten path through the forest. We entered the Forest Preserves, with awe and knowing. Ah hah…this is where it begins, I thought. As we traveled the dirt road, Mr. Grovner answered our many questions:
“The Gullahs and Indians were here before Jesus….It was wonderful to grow up here…We have no crime, police, driver’s licenses, or insurance…We farmed sugar cane and cotton…We use the herb, Life Everlasting for every illness..That’s a bay leaf bush…Yes, we ferry to everything. Barges bring in heavy equipment…There are no hotels or resorts. There are houses and trailers to rent. We have the Birdhouse Cottages…There are strict restrictions and building codes. You can’t build a two or three-story house here…The descendants own their land. The rest is owned by the state.”
He also assured us that the tax dispute had been resolved in favor of the descendants. Hallelujah!
The trees were adorned with moss and twine that invited us beyond ‘show and tell’. We saw it and gasped in concert. It was our tree. She held out her arms and beckoned us to visit, and we did. In anticipation of the energy, we all washed our hands with Florida water, but I was compelled to stand back to scan the splendor of this specimen.
She had tendrils that touched the ground, and she wore her age with beauty with majesty. Her markings dug vertically deep, yet her lines were horizontal, and she was wrapped to perfection – a gift. I watched, as she held an audience with the other women, and finally, I approached her. I asked to feel all that she represented – life, the earth, reverence, peace, and wisdom. I placed both hands on her, and she said, “Yes.” I believed her. My hands still on her, I felt a rush of energy and a sense of certainty.
“The slaves weren’t treated like slaves,” Mr. Grovner informed us. Yet, the remnants of the slave quarters were clearly separated from the master’s house, which had a chimney. Amazingly, these structures were built with oyster shells in the 1800s. There was also a huge barn with pigeonholes that had been restored, and a Sears and Roebuck catalog house that overlooked the Mud River.
Maybe because we were leaving the plantation, I posed the question: “Do white people live here too?” As we entered our van, Mr. Grovner answered, “Yes…we do everything together. We go to church together, cook together, fish together.” I thought to myself, “Is this what it takes? To live on an island?” My second thought was that this was all about the spirit of legacy, strength, and compassion of this island and the descendants.
The houses were modest and lovely. Each boasted land, and we even got to see Mr. Grovner’s house. He stopped to give us each a few red peas, which we held sacred. We stopped at the only local store, where I stood on the deck overlooking the grounds. It was here that I felt my grandmother pass through me. I knew I belonged in this energy. I recognized this feeling. I don’t know where, when, or how, but island living will be a part of my life again.
We rode past the annex of the University of Georgia and through the grounds of the RJ Reynolds Mansion. Mr. Grovner quipped that “this would have been a part of his “regular” tour.” We laughed, as we rode what seemed to be an endless road towards the beach. When we arrived, I was the first to get out of the van and make my way towards my goal destination.
As with the tree, I was awestruck. Immediately, I understood the energy of this island. This span of the beach was sacred, pristine, and looked almost untouched. I understood the tax dilemma, the pride, and the secret/sacred spirit of Sapelo. The waves were high, but my business was with the water. I approached the shore, closed my eyes, and let the ocean take the gifts I had brought. My cleansing ritual completed, I said a prayer of gratitude. Dr. Deb and Dorothy came to support me, and I felt my feet sink into the sand.
Eyes now open, I listened to the wisdom of this ritual. It told me my ancestors are with me and that I should yield to their support. It told me I could walk in clarity; that I was cleansed and worthy to receive the gifts of my journey. I kept repeating to myself, “Ase’…Ase’, as we made our way to the ferry.
Post-Sapelo — Mr. Clean
I received a gift from Valjeanne . She gave me her statue of St. Martin de Porres. Saged and cleaned, he assumed a place on my home altar. As a Catholic child, I remembered de Porres as the only Black saint, which was why I was grateful to receive this gift. De Porres was an organizer, barber, and a mystic that did bi-locations and astral travel, and he was often pictured with a broom.
Before my trip to Sapelo, I promised to join a De-Clutter game, in which you declutter daily. This had always been a part of my practice. So I had an easy start. I became a cleaning, de-cluttering fool, and couldn’t figure out where all this zeal was coming from. Then, one morning it hit me. Martin! His energy symbolized by this statue had me in the flow of getting rid of stuff I forgot I had. It was another gift of cleansing from my Sapelo road trip. It’s all good/God.
I have Artist, Mary Young, to thank for this blog post. She challenged us to post a picture in nature that depicted “peace and harmony.” Immediately, I thought of my article on Sapelo Island, one of two places that conjure up that feeling of the Mother’s safety, warmth, and peace. (A beach in Anguilla is my other spot). Fortunately, I can return to either place during my vision in meditation. I can also walk the Tennessee River banks of Florence, AL, or sit on my patio listening to the birds and watch Calhoun, our neighborhood rabbit.
Find your peace; make your harmony; it is yours wherever you are.
I grew up as a Catholic girl in dear old St. Martin, a parochial school in Chicago’s Englewood. Each morning started with Mass, which lasted at least 45 minutes. Throughout the service, we had to kneel and stand, and if that wasn’t bad enough, we could not fidget during service. The nuns would give you the dagger-eye that would condemn you to hell for scratching an itch. Sister G. was the worst. Beyond the eye, she would give a “Be Still!” and you knew you dare not move an inch. I was like, “Uh uh, you will never catch me; I don’t want the eye or get my ear pulled.” (Y’all, I initialed her name, ’cause I’m still scared). I was pretty religious as a kid, but as I matured, I was done with nuns. What?!!
My spiritual evolution took me to the ancient practice of meditation. Back in the day, I used to go to how-to –meditate workshops. I thought I had to assume Zen proportions, but y’all already know I could not sit on the floor and fold my legs for that long. Sister G.’s ominous whisper, “Be still!” rescued me. Her scold was transformed by an invitation to “Be still and know I am God,” Psalm 46:10. The precursor to meditation, the Stillness would allow me to surrender to gifts of – clarity/awareness, guidance, and peace. No matter what the craziness I am SAFE.
I won’t get into all the illustrations given in my book, Be S.A.F.E.(StillAwareFaithfulExcellent). However, I do want to tell you that being still for meditation has been an essential practice within my life. Our country is in a “Trump Pandemic”* and essential unrest to heal systemic racism. Personally, I got a family dead in the heat of protest every day. Their mama takes time each day to give thanks, affirmatively pray, and to be still for meditation. There are numerous types of meditations, but this is my daily recipe:
Some meditative music is nice, birds singing, maybe even the sound of coffee percolating or the humming of a washing machine may be background sounds to Stillness. Some meditations are guided with words. And there is the sound of silence, which always invokes serenity. My point is that the quietness is within you. You set the intention to become still and…
When I can, I’m gon‘ sit in a relaxed position. Unlike my grandson, Christian, (pictured), I need a chair. No telling how long a session might last. These days, I don’t always sit in a quiet place. Sometimes I may walk in the park or garden. I am flexible in meditation, yielding to what suits my spirit. The conventional is not always my norm, but I started this practice with a comfortable seat. I sit with my back against the chair, my feet apart and on the floor, and my hands on my thighs with my hands open. The main objective is to allow yourself to relax and…
The breath plays an essential part in becoming still. Heck, you gotta do it anyway, so breathe deeply; become aware, pay attention to your breathing to aid you in relaxing to become still for meditation.
I usually close my eyes and start with a vision of a lotus flower floating on the sea and think, “Peace be still.” Some folks would not initiate Stillness without meditating on a Bible verse or chanting. Some need nothing but their breathing. Have at it; choose what facilitates your focus, as you relax into stillness and…
What happens during meditation?
You know we always got to be doing something, but meditation dictates taking time to let go of your stuff. This is an example of what usually happens to me: I’m visualizing, consciously breathing, and I become still when all of a sudden I start thinking, “Let me see…I gotta tend to Bama, Mile’s dog…I hope the protesters wear their masks…Should I go out, with Corona?” It’s called mind chatter and it is normal. What do I do? I simply call back my breath and resume my meditation, and I do not beat myself up for not being able to stay focused. When I first started this practice, I was doing good to last for two minutes. That’s OK. Nobody has a time clock. This practice is for you, your personalpractice. So, what to expect?
I don’t know; you will have your own experience. If praying is talking to God, meditation is listening. I used to hear a small voice inside me that I recognized as my Higher Power (HP). Today, I may not hear anything during my meditation. All I know is that because I take the time to do it, throughout the day I am made aware of what I am experiencing; there are no more coincidences. I have a sense of clarity that will offer guidance, not only to me but sometimes to those that need my experience and hope. My Higher Power is working for me and may even speak through you! I recognize that HP works with or without Stillness, but I am aware of the work – no coincidences, only understanding that God’s/HP’s Will is at hand.
Y’all, I have been through sicknesses, deaths, all kinds of crises. I can tell you this practice of meditation has been and is still responsible for sustainingcreativity, caregiving, counseling I have done, or any sense of sanity I have had throughout tumultuous experiences. My practice allows me to affirm Peace be Still.These days, with folks threatening mydaughter, how else can I sustain my peace? What?!!
I do have a nightstand e-book, Be S.A.F.E. about the Stillness/meditation onAmazon Kindle. I’ll just say that my husband was fighting cancer during the time I wrote it. I had to find my true self, so I stopped dropped, and rolledinto my daily practice of meditation. I hope it will help some of you who may be going through some challenges. Unfortunately, during these times, that would be all of us. I’m just sayin’.
We all have the mission to stay centered during any chaos. Maybe we emote, but at the end of the day, we must recognize the Creator/God/Higher Power/Jah, etc. is within and around usembracing and protecting us. No matter what, we think, Divine Will is working. Remember,
“it’s all good/ love/God – Victorine
My next blog installment will be In Living Color. Don’t miss it!
Y’all look! I grew a flower – a huge “Feed me Seymour” flower. Y’all have to understand, my thumb is anything but green. I “Oooh” and “Ahhh” over the beautiful flowers y’all post on Faceboobook, and while my deceased husband always took care of our yards with gardens and such, the Taurus earth in me just has not kicked in until now. I grew a flower! What?!
A little history. I buy two hibiscus plants annually, in honor of the Caribbean in me. The plants I would buy always had blossomed flowers and buds ready to bloom. However this year I decided to invest in two perennial hibiscus trees, flower plants. Noflowers present, only pretty maroonish leaves and a few hopeful buds. I bought them at the beginning of June, and by the end of June, there was nothing. I was hand-on-hip like, “Now I know I didn’t spend my money on just leaves with no flowers.” I decided to read up on these babies. Googling informed that they bloom mid-summer through the fall and that coffee grinds were good for them. I love coffee. So I shared some grinds with my plants and watered them. Then, last week hit, mid-July, I was floored! I grew a plant that has a fabulous flower. What?!! Let me show y’all another picture.
About blooming, truth be told, this hibiscus was going to bloom without my help. (Ya think?!) I simply nurtured it by researching, sharing coffee, watering, and oohing/ahhing. I gave it my energy. I guess this is true with any creation.
The truth is that the presence of the Creator is inevitable. These days, I have been busy talking, talking...and talking…till I’m blue in my face, (no green thumb, but a blue face), about a Confederate monument. I have devoted energy to a movement that will take down this divisive monument to begin healing my community of white supremacy. Beyond the exposure of government,business, and personal acts of racism, I see beautiful protestors, all hues, educating our community with truthful history and inclusive ideology. Slowly budding in numbers, so many supporters are stepping outside of their comfort zone to enable the healingprocess. No matter how slowly, healing will transcend the die-hardweeds that must die to self and blossom into a new consciousness. The lessons are within the blooming.
My prize plant is now actively blooming, and within that process, the blossoms die daily to make room for new growth. I got this, Creator – we must continue to let go of what no longer serves us to grow. I got this lesson, and I’m gone!
Look out, Pat Brewer, I’m gon’ have me some pictures like yours next year…NOT!
I haven’t seen these days since the ’60s, and I never thought I would be a decade beyond 60 protesting with young’uns, but I am letting Spirit move me, and that is all we are charged to do. We are all lightworkers, charged through the Creator. No matter how Spirit moves us to shift, we are ready, remember,
We desire to bequeath two things to our children; the first one is roots, the other one is wings — Sudanese
I just finished viewing a documentary about dark-skinned Black females, women with melanin magic, women with the gift of living close to the original chocolate flavor chosen for us all until swirled with vanilla. The documentary, Dark Girls 2, started as a lamentation of what it feels like to have a dark complexion
within the Black culture. I was amazed at the entrenched pain the girls suffered growing up that continued to wreak havoc on their self-esteem as women. I sat watching with a smirk on my face. My smirk was all about you-know-who – me, Midnight.
Yes, that was one of my nicknames as a teenager. I was given that name when I entered St. Thomas Apostle High School; before then, at Hyde Park, I was Teddy Bear, BlackBeauty, but I really liked Midnight. I loved being Black, having dark skin. What?!
You can’t tell me that spirituality is not important. Growing up as a Catholic girl indoctrinated by the confidence of aspiring sainthood, (I’m not kidding), I had a bigpersonality and exuded confidence. It did not occur to me that I could be considered less-than because of my dark skin. Unlike the girls I viewed in the documentary, I always thought something was wrong with people who could not see my beauty. When my dance teacher said to the class, “OK, light girls to the front, and dark girls to the back,” I was confident that the teacher, Mr. Morrison, had lost his mind. I knew my worth and that I could really dance. (Anyway, the main teacher, Sammy Dyer, loved me). I remember my Aunt Ruth, who taught me her special moves, could not dance professionally because she was too dark. Now that story saddened me. I guess looks have always been important to our culture. So let’s talk about looks
In the land of colorism, there are different shades of Black, from light, almost white, to jet black. I am next to jet black, definitely dark. As a child, I looked like Buckwheat. Not in a bad way – in a true way. My mom used to grease my face for the Chicago cold, and I wore ace caps like my brother. That was my look until I began to blossom as a pre-teen. As a teen, I was centered with girls, most of who were a lighter hue, but I had my share of attention and was quite social; so skin color was not an issue. I remember a beautiful girl that was brown-skinned (coffee-with cream brown) asking, “Does it look like I’m getting lighter?” And I heard girls I danced with talk about perspective boyfriends. “He can’t be darker than coffee with cream.” I tell you I was mortified, not for me, but by them and for them! Somehow I knew how shallow it was to base preferences and a person’s worth by their skin color. My boyfriends, husband, and now, Mr. K., were chosen from the inside, out.
I was always teased for loving my skin. “You think you something ’cause you black!” And they were right. Even before I knew the moniker, Black to be beautiful or powerful, I smiled when they called me Midnight. I knew I had something unique, the splendor/magic described, and taught in the second half of the documentary. Now, y’all, get ready…I had to teach my deceased husband and kids about colorism too. They got it from the other end. Bob and Miles were “damned-near white,” and Camille was a “yellow girl.”
When I met Bob, he would be ready to fight if someone mentioned his color. As a kid, he was taunted and called “White boy.” Both his parents were very light-skinned, and his grandfather was mulatto. I walked into a room to meet his father’s uncles, and they were white!I mean really light. He told me that some passed for white. Bob couldn’t wait to tell me how Black he knew he was. I had to assure him that Black comes in many hues and that ignorant people didn’t deserve his ire. Growing up on St. Maarten, Camille felt bad because she wasn’t dark, like her mama. To the rescue again, I assured her of her beauty.Miles also grew up on the island and color meant nothing to him at age 5. But when we moved back to the States to Virginia Beach and someone screamed “Nigger!” we had to teach him about race, but never discussedcolorism with him. He still tries to wear twists, but can’t make them stick. What?!
Colorism is not unique to Black culture. Unfortunately, most cultures aspire to be lighter, if not white, from Asians and Latinx to Africans.White folks try to get dark or be Black, As an adult, I thanked my parents for somehow bolstering me against the trials ofcolorism. Documentaries such as Dark Girls 2,will be credited for making colorismtransparent and for teaching how to empower girls of all shades. In the ’60s when we heard “Black is beautiful,” it meant all shades of black; it still does.
We are a myriad of magnificence, brilliantly Black.
This is it, Y’all. I’ve had it with these young folks. Tellin’ me how to do things, hmmph! ‘Think I can’t text, post, meme, emoji, website, press release, or anything. Yes, technology is new, but I have built websites and I publish this blog. It’s just that I do what I do S…L…O…W…L…Y.What!
Yes, it takes me a minute to think about the task I want to accomplish and to figure out how to navigate it, but I still got the bones for the foundation of a good effort. I am the elder of an activist group, Project Say Something. When it’s time to move, they do a group text thread. Y’all! They start a post; I start responding, except the text I’m responding to has long been forgotten, and they are on to something else. Oy!!! Whether it’s ally training or planning for a forum, they move so quickly I am challenged to stay with them. “Elder” is a politically correct description for me. I am old., but aged gold. What!
I’m older, which is why they count on me to share my wisdom, (just not in the thread…“I think that we should actually formulate”…NO!!! ) I am wise enough to know when it’s time for me to sit back and let young’uns take the lead. Thank God, Eckhart Tolle got me out of the way of my ego. I held on to the church my husband and I built but realized I was embracing it to pass on to my daughter, Camille Bennett; to give it new life. It is now sanctuary to a free program for preschoolers and an after school and summer program. We convene in our Upper Room for service, and I love it! Sometimes, us folks with aged wisdom need to sit down and let young folkstake the reins.
There are organizations that have had the same folks running them for years, which is why they don’t run; they crawl. And these folks crave power, which is what makes them powerless in forward movement. In this case, sometimes age doesn’t matter. If movement is stale, move out of the way and let some new blood take its course. Give new life to organizations and events, and for goodness sake, support the young folks. Why we have tofight them I don’t know. Some folks even hate on them and subvert their efforts. Yes, the young’uns need to yield to our experience, but we should not berate voices that reflect a new day. The young’uns must also invite the wisdom of older folks. We do not need to be cast aside but honored. Congress is a good example.
The Squad in Congress, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, isprogressive and doesn’t care about politics, but they are relentless in their fight for change. They had to be political to make a change. (Why it’s important to vote, Young’uns). However, they wanted to steamroll Congresswoman, Nancy Pelosi, and her efforts to be Speaker of the House. Today they discovered they need her wisdom and she is as fierce as they. She yields to their energy, and they respect hers.
I kind of snuck in a plea for voting, but today more than any time in the world, both young’uns and seniors must vote for making change. The Squad was smart enough to figure this out; they could not execute plans without dealing with the flawed system in place. Us seniors were a part of witnessing, sometimes building, that system, but we are young enough in spirit to stand with and for young’uns to make the changes we need to meet our agenda.
I stand with Pastor Wesley Thompson, older than a millennial but still a young’un, who at a local rally for peace and justice ignited us to”Make the change!” We are wise enough to let young folks march, speak, protest, and do it, (COVID, #staysafe), and old enough to share experience and give support. That’s what makes us aged gold.
We have suffered many mighty blows, the last being the lynching of George Floyd, But this tragedy has sparked a fire all over the world. Joy comes in the recognition that a mighty shift is taking place. What does this mean for us seniors? As Bob Dylan says in The Times They are a-Changin‘, “Please get out of the new one If you can’t lend your hand for the times they are a-changin’.” I feel blessed to lend a hand without needing to be at the helm.
‘Funny thing about growing older; memories become more vivid. Today, I turn 70, and I thought I would have some fun. I’m Timelining, and I invite you to jump in when your memory meets mine. You can comment either on the blog or on Facebook. I’m doing a Watch Party on Facebook, 11AM CST. Just holla with a thumbs up or a heart, or if you ain’t too lazy, you could say something. After all, it’s my Birthday!
Chicago on 57th and Normal. Street games that never ended, kids from every street surrounding ours, convening for serious fun.
A 1/2 mile walk to St. Martin School, where I was preparing to become a nun. What?!!
Dorothy Robinson’s school of dance.
The Point, 53rd and Woodlawn, to Hyde Park daily by bike for big fun.
Hyde Park High School, where I started, and St. Thomas Apostle, where I finished.
Klan Ko-eds, downtown parties, boat, roller skating, and bowling parties, not to forget the hotel dances and hayrides
8 Track Recording Co. where I worked and met folks that hung stars on their doors.
Flack, Sly, ReRe, Dionne, Hugh Masekela, Kurt Vonnegut, J.R.R. Tolkien, The Spook who Sat by the Door, Nikki, Imari, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Can_ _ _ _ _ a plenty
Free Theater -Aesops, Havdalah
Columbia College where I started, Stillman College, University of Alabama, in Tuscaloosa, AL and finally Case Western Reserve University, where I finished
Cleveland – ahh, Cleveland. Lee Scottsdale Bldg. (LSD), Art Museum, so much jazz, Annual Easter Egg Hunts, Kwanzaa Parties, Air Tunnels, Friends. Keith Jarrett, Art Lande, Al Jareau. Dali Parties. The Rapid, Corky and Lenny’s, Tiger Lily’s, Nighttown, Westside Market, Home art exhibits, Clam bakes.
Fins and Feathers, “a most unusual seafood and poultry shoppe!” (with an intentional “e”) Business.
Pfizer – 8-year pain, as a sales rep.
St. Maarten – Divi Little Bay, Carnival, Grande Case Beach, Phillipsburg, Marigot Anguilla, Yvette’s, so many wonderful people/family by blood, but the ones more memorable by love
Virginia Beach – cultural void
The Shoals. in AL – WOWL TV, ATCO Manufacturing, Family Ford, Family Lincoln Mercury, Family Hyundai – Businesses,
Revelations, A Ministry of Transformation
Living Spirit Church – Centered in Spiritual Oneness, all churches where I have spoken
Abadiania, Brazil – John of God
POZA, The C.O.R.E. Drummers, The C.O.R.E. Center
Hospice of the Shoals
Camp Goldston Publishing, LLC., published Be S.A.F.E., Garden Spices Magazine
Project Say Something
Legacy of Love
UNA School of the Arts
Yes, I know; if you don’t know me, this is a little much. But remember, it’s my party – I’m self-centered, spicy, and I’M 70!!!!! What?!
What a blessing it is to be in this moment, even with the conditions, as they are with Coronavirus. You are within my reach, right in my heart, and I am grateful, fulfilled, and breathing! What?!!
“…joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30: 5 We staying safe, and we voting for change!
There is no rhetoric in this question. My grandson is a runner. Every day he dons his running shoes and takes off to a place where he can stretch, place earphones in his ears, and jog. He loves nature, and chooses to run where he can see the trees, but feel the pulse of neighborhoods, houses, in which people are “staying safe.” During this coronavirus quarantine, he cannot meet with his friends, plan for his graduation, or play soccer with his team, but he can affirm his vitality by jogging. Not anymore.
Today, we are armed with the knowledge that a young Black man…yet, another young Black man, named Ahmaud Arbrey, was jogging in a neighborhood in which his profile was not acceptable for two white men, the McMichaels. They saw him as a violation, a possible threat to their well-being, as prey. Unarmed, followed, then shot dead, Ahmad now serves as another poster child/man – child, because he was his family’s child; man, because he went down fighting his perpetrators. I must point to his poster and exclaim, “Christian, you can no longer run in neighborhoods; you may be killed!”
My words were preempted by strict warnings from my grandsons’ parents. Their father, all Black men, heed this warning. It is an extension of their former precautions about being stopped by policemen while Black. This warning is an extension of; you cannot take part in teenage pranks while being Black. This warning is an extension of “do better, be better, know better” to survive while being Black. I am aware that our safety is compromised by subversive elements within the Black community, elements designed to find us dead, and violence is undisturbed to this end. However, I will not deflect from the truth about the lynching of Ahmaud; this assignment is about overt racism and injustice.
A lynching committed two months ago by a former policeman and his son find an unjust system ready to sweep this murder under the rug. If not for the video that surfaced, evidence of the crime, the murderers would never have been arrested. They would have been home for Mother’s Day, the day Ahmaud was born. A Citizen’s Arrest was their defense, but the video was ours. We were the family of Ahmaud, defending him, jogging for him, posting, making our voices heard until these criminals were apprehended and charged.
Today, I am charged with asking the question, “Where can my grandson run?” In the park, where someone may find him offensive, and call the authorities? In his neighborhood, where the Sons of the Confederate Veterans take up camp? In my neighborhood, where an older woman questioned me about why my grandsons, and I were walking? In 2020, should he be restricted to running on the silent AstroTurf that aborts the nature that fuels his passion for jogging?
My grandson must run the course of safety, as taught by his elders, but he must never lose sight of the strength demonstrated by Ahmaud, who turned to fight off his perpetrators. He died fighting, and our fight for Ahmaud is not over. As Black men, my grandson(s) must run with the power of mind, body, and spirit, claiming what they deserve in the country built by their Ancestors.
Happy Mother’s Day Epilogue: Joy Juice
I wrote a piece, which received so many of your precious words, “Where Can My Grandson Run?” I discussed the dream I had prior to writing it.
I was taking a baby out to walk. I was told to put his shoes on, but I said, “No. I will carry him.” We walked out into a beautiful day. I thought twice about the shoes and decided to continue carrying him. We saw a beautiful Magnolia tree in our path, and I stopped for a lesson on nature, “What is this,” I asked. “Tree,” the baby answered. I asked him to touch the leaf of the tree, which he did, and I awakened from the dream.
Remembering our nature walks, I knew the baby in my dream was my grandson, Christian, the runner. I would not let him walk in his tiny gym shoes and carried him for protection. Camille researched Magnolia Trees and found they symbolize independence. I told Christian to touch the tree, which I am discerning symbolized my blessing him, for the independence I knew had to be his. Anyway…
I imparted this dream during our Sunday discussion, and later, my doorbell rang. Part of the discussion, David was at my door and this is what he gave to me. Happy Mother’s Day!!
A seminar made me begin to question my blogging. I mean other bloggers are coaching us on how to do this and that, like “How to be your most essential self.” I’m just trying to essentially be without gettingperturbed in a day! Then, I realized I do have a purpose; to make you see yourself through shenanigans. You know, shenanigans, the daily stuff that makes you laugh, sometimes cry, and all the time, shake your head. So, I do need to write. Right? There’s a Place for (Me, especially now.
It is April 16, 2020, and we have been home for over 20 days, quarantined by a global pandemic, Coronavirus, CO VID19. Every day I am rising later and later. Why? I’m’ in bed watching the videos y’all post on social media. Some of them are so funny, I have to jump up and run (you know where and why), but then, I climb right back into bed to laugh some more. What?!!
Baby videos are the ones that really crack me up. One morning, I viewed toddler Elias giving a press conferenceto his dad, Michael John Gallaga, as Mommy,Asha Iman, a videographer, filmed them. The caption for COFFEE CONVERSATIONS read:
“Listening to one of these COVID 19 press conferences be like…”
After laughing through my third view, I had to message Asha and ask her to adjust her settings for Sharing. I mean how your video gon’ go viral without Sharing?
Then, here comes The Twilite Tone with a video of his baby girl, Eden. The caption says it all:
“Walkin’ and Talkin It“
What is Eden saying? What does “it” mean? I’ll just let you marinate on that question. What?!!
I think I enjoy laughing with babies because they symbolize joy and hope, and we need so much of both right now. With morning laughter under my belt, I then read Facebook posts. These days they set my plate for prayer and meditation, and I am joined by so many of you, as we remember families and friends. We also sing, chant,dance, and anything we can do to allay the reality of loneliness, illness, death, and dying. We are conjoined by a globalvirus we created and by Spirit’s global healing we are undergoing. The shift ain’t easy, but as the song of David Walton sings, “We’re All in This Together.”We also build ourselves up with virtual celebrations.
While two of my 3 grandchildren graduate from high school this year; (the youngest is going to high school next year), the Seniors will not go to prom or take part in Senior activities for now. But they are here, alive, protected and safe to celebrate when the time comes…when the time comes…when the time comes. Not for us! Our time is now!
We celebrate living another year and ceremonies we have been blessed to be a part of. We celebrate our relationships – friends, and family, by blood and by love. We wear our masks and wash our hands in celebration of being able to work for issues we believe in, (and we do have our work cut out for us this year), and we continue to crave art. So while I may laugh at my shenanigans and cry with/for you, I am living in the moment. Maybe that’s what this exercise is about, appreciating the moment. What?!
Ain’t y’all tired of making gratitude lists? Don’t be, and do it; it is more important now than ever. We are here, vital, compassionate, and loving beings. They say we are the demographic at risk; we know we are mindfully safe in our memories, contemplations, and actions. So, yes, I write. Right!