Archive for the ‘African American Issues’ Category

Reflection on the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 16, 2013

Dr. King, Where For Art Thou Dream?

On January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia, a boy was born.  His name was  Martin, and he grew up  a highly spiritual man and a brilliant and creative strategist.  Martin Luther King, Jr. was a gifted composer of voice orchestration; his speeches were an auditory overture.  The words he spoke waltzed with spirit and touched my heart.  His words relieved me from the stress of being Black in America; he made me feel proud, enthusiastic and optimistic.  Dr. King’s messages of peace united red, yellow, black and white, and all were equal in his sight.  He spoke of love for the rainbow of humanity.

It is now 2013 and this April 4th will be the 45th anniversary of the day that James Earl Ray shot and killed Dr. King the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. Hotel I wonder if he would be pleased with how close to reality his dream has come.

I wonder what he would say about the deafening silence of the freedom bells from the mountains of New York, the elevating Alleghenies of Pennsylvania, the ice-covered Rockies of Colorado, the geometric curves in California, the Mountain of Stone in Georgia, the Mountain from which you see out in Tennessee or the hills where moles live in Jim Crow’s Mississippi.

I wonder if he would see his dream in the cracks of the derriere of our young boys and men as they do the two-step dance (take two steps and pull up my pants before they fall)?  Would he like the character of our little girls and young women who dress provocatively leaving nothing to the imagination or cover?  What would he say about the words we use to express terms of endearment to each other; words that in our past were negative, degrading and used to control our sense of worth, humanity and pride?

What would Dr. King say about those we idolize?  People we call celebrities that the poor make richer as they dream of having their plastic, superficial and shallow lives?  What would he say about the respect we give to our elders as we discard them and the lessons they have to teach us like recyclable aluminum cans?

Let us reflect on Dr. King and the impact his life had on our lives.  Let us re-dedicate ourselves to his dream and his legacy.  Let us teach our children not only his name but the richness of his legacy in practical terms that they can understand.  Let us educate them about hundreds of other selfless pioneers that were hosed with water, beaten and even killed so that they could sit anywhere on the bus and train;  dine at Red Lobster,  the International House of Pancakes (IHOP), Cracker Barrel and other restaurants and live in the neighborhood of their choice.  Remind them that those civil rights pioneers lived lives that reflected kindness, humanity, character and love for their fellow-man.

Dr. King fought for educational and economic independence for every American. Let us celebrate his life, not only on the day set aside by the government but on every day of our lives.  Let us move forward in 2013 and look to the mountain top.  Let us expect to go back to the way we were a proud, honest, compassionate and united people of integrity.  As we peak over the mountain top let us expect to see the Promised Land Dr. King spoke so eloquently of, and let us live our lives as an example for our children so they can see a land that is full of more promise than disappointment.   I am a dreamer and I believe that in spite of some nightmares along the way Dr. King’s Dream is just over the purple mountain majesty.

On Monday, January 21, 2013, the day America celebrates Dr. King’s birthday as a Federal holiday, I believe he will be smiling when President Obama takes the oath of office for his second term as the first African-American President of the United States of America.  Thank you Dr. King for your contribution to historical reality, we have come a long way since your “I Have a Dream” Speech but we’ve yet a long way to go.  Happy 84th Birthday Dr. King!

President Obama Deserves a Second Chance

October 6, 2012

The story of Barack Obama’s presidency is a historic one.  He is the first President of African American descent elected to the nations’ highest office.  His election four years ago was born out of America’s need for change from politics of the past with a promise of a better tomorrow.  Millions of Americans voted for him because they believed he was the best candidate for the job. Others needed to convince themselves that they had moved beyond the lessons of superiority their parents taught them and could vote for a black man to be their president.  Some of African American decent voted for him simply because he was black and some of each of these groups believed that the 2008 election might be their only opportunity to have the option to vote for a Black man in the White House.

Not only will historians write about  the way  America elected President Obama they must also address how America has treated him.  No other president in history has been so maligned.  No other president in history has been so disrespected and no other president in America has been so strategically and decisively targeted for failure.

This writer finds the idea of Mitt Romney as the Republican opponent to President Obama foretelling.  It speaks to the hatred of Republicans and others who would rather see anyone in the White House except a black man and his family; honesty and Integrity not required only White Skin.  The Republicans so despise the President that before he took the oath of office they methodically designed a plan to impede his ability be as effective as he had the passion and ability to be.   They have stuck to the game plan in spite of the economic pain and divisiveness it has cost Americans. They are blind to see how citizens in other countries view that hatred. How can we be liberators of women and others abroad countries when those countries have more respect for our leader than we do?  While citizens in other countries saw President Obama’s election as another beacon of light from our lady of equality, justice and equality, John Boehner, Rush Limbaugh, John Sunu as other saw it as an American tragedy.

The idea that Republicans use President Obama’s failure to create jobs as a reason why he should not be re-elected is strabismic dismissing the fact (not fiction) that they are the argument that Americans are not working in record numbers. President Obama presented a jobs bill that was a blueprint of constructing a highway of jobs all across the USA; Republicans put road blocks refusing even to give the plan a permit for construction.  They now have signs on the election highway cautioning Americans that the President took jobs off a cliff and that the only way to survive the highway of unemployment is to take detour Mitt Romney.

The President has kept many of the promises he made to the American people.  He passed the health care reform bill.  He helped Ford, GM and Chrysler (and their mutually dependent suppliers) comes out of the ditch that the previous Republican Administrations drove them into.  The money he loaned the auto manufacturers from America’s bank (The United States Treasury) was paid back with interest to the American people.  His administration implemented laws that protect consumers from exorbitant bank fees on credit cards and other accounts.  He killed Osama Ben Laden and other terrorists who George W. Bush promised to take out but could not.  He helped children brought to this country by parents with illegal status have their dream of becoming an American citizen realized. He helped to prevent the rates of student’s loans from doubling.    He reversed “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” which revered men and women in the military to lie about their sexual orientation. President and Mrs. Obama along with Mrs. Jill Biden have worked to change benefits for military families and to show them how much we appreciate their service and sacrifice.

President Obama does deserve the opportunity to finish the work he started to turn America around.  Middle class Americas owe it to themselves and their children to give our President a second chance. We must tell the new extreme Republican Party born by tea drinking right wingers that we have had enough and we will not be *Mitted around.  Let us loose our hands, those of our Congress and our President this November 6, 2012.

Note:    Dictionary.com defines the word Mitt as arrest.

Carlene Pierre A Victim of Domestic Violence and Our Weak Laws

October 3, 2012

On Thursday morning, September 28, 2012 Carlene Pierre probably kissed her three daughters goodbye before she left for her job at the Quality Inn hotel on Canada Avenue in Orlando, Florida.  Her co-worker  28-year old Vanessa Gonzales-Orellanes had also perhaps kissed and said goodbye to her children or spouse before leaving for work.  Shortly before 8:00am both women were working behind the registration desk in the hotel lobby when Carlene’s ex-boyfriend Michelet Polynice Carlene appeared and without warning shot both of the women in the head and chest.  Both were pronounced dead at the scene.

Polynice’s violent morning was not over yet.  His rampage would inflict more pain on another female.  Polynice left the bloody reception area where two women lay dying, walked to his Toyota Camry and drove the short distance to the Westgate Resort on Turkey Lane where he shot with intent to kill Carlene’s friend housekeeper, Jean Guerline.  Guerline survived the attack and is recovering from her life threatening injuries.  After following the trail of devastation he left in his path, law enforcement officers headed to the last known address for Polynice where they spotted him in his vehicle.  Upon realizing the police had located him, Polynice is said to have put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger.  After shooting himself he lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a tree.  The impact caused the car to burst into flames, Polynice was trapped inside.

This tragic story is not an unusual one.  Statistics show that 1 of every 4 women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.  Carlene Pierre like many women did not realize the violence temperament of the man she was dating until it was too late, she was pregnant and in love.  When she decided she had enough and that her life was in danger, she did all the right things.  She went to the police and reported the incidence of physical abuse, stalking and threats.  She filed an injunction for him to stay away and she detailed in a 25 page request for protection that she was fearful of her life.  She said “He told me the only way he was going to leave me alone was to kill me, I am fearful of my life”.

I say the system failed Carlene, legal analyst say it did not, this question has been debated repeatedly ad no debate or position will bring back to life the women or men killed by their domestic partners.  The journey to protect women from domestic violence has been a long one.  Like many other laws in the male dominated society that once was America, crimes like rape and domestic violence were long in coming and short in action.  We must work to change the system.  It is difficult to stop hateful and evil men like Polynice, men who are weak and need to control and dominate another human being.  Such minds have no respect for a piece of paper that tells them to stay away. They are determined to inflict the final pain and have the last control.   We must however pay attention to their behavior for often tragedies such this Carlene’s and the other victims are the climax of earlier acts of violence on women.  Polynice had many run-ins with the law and had been charged with aggravated assault and domestic violence in the past.  After this tragedy Polynice’s father said the his son had threatened to kill him over some money earlier in the year and that he believed if his son had been locked up for crimes in the past the women he killed would still be alive.

There will not be another morning when Carlene will kiss her daughters ages 8, 6, and 2 goodbyes.  They will not again feel the comfort of their mother’s hugs or kisses.    She will not be there to tuck them in at night or tell them bedtime stories, or hear what happened at school, she will not be with them on Mother’s Day, their birth or their wedding days.  Carlene’s youngest daughter was fathered by the Polynice, what a legacy this man has left baby girl?

On Saturday evening friends and family gathered in Poinciana, Florida for a memorial vigil for Carlene and the other shooting victims.  Jean Guerline was last reported to be recovering from her wounds at a local hospital.  Funeral services for Carlene Pierre and Vanessa Gonzales-Orellanes are not known at the posting of this blog.

If you are a victim or know someone that is a victim of domestic violence, please contact law enforcement in your community or call the domestic violence at Safe Horizons at 1-800-621-HOPE 4613 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-SAFE (7233).