Monthly Archives: August 2011

MLK Memorial postponed… until September or October.

As I got ready to go to sleep I think about how my weekend could have turned out.  Then I had a moment where I gave thanks for the little and big things that make me smile.  I am so glad to have life and health.

Yesterday the official dedication ceremony for the King memorial was scheduled to occur.  However, the potential damage and flights that could have been effected by hurricane Irene were reason enough to postpone the events.  On Sunday morning, I would have stopped my alarm clock around 6 a.m. to get ready to go to the mall in Washington, D.C.   My father and I planned to attend the ceremony together.  We would have arrived there no later that 8 am and I would have had my parasol, hand fan and camera. READY!  I just knew I was going to make it and witness an awesome service.  On Friday,  I was notified that my flights were cancelled.  I was a bit disappointed but decided I would change my departure and arrivals.  Then my aunt who lives in Washington, D.C. sent a text stating that the service was cancelled.  But I didn’t believe it because I was too excited to go.  So I prepared myself to start packing.  Shortly after, my father called about the weather alerts and his concerns about me traveling.  I started to look up articles and as soon as I saw “postponed” my heart dropped.  I was devastated. Only because I worked myself up for months about going to D.C. to witness the dedication.  This project had been in the works for the last 15 years I was told and it was ready for the world to see.  President Barack Obama and Aretha Franklin were going to be there.  How could the official dedication be postponed? I took a moment to digest the new information.

I got over the disappointment and am happy I stayed away from the north.  Had I gone I probably would have been stuck there for a few days or had a miserable time with the power outages and fast winds.  I know that this happened the way it was supposed to and now that the monument is open to the public I can go visit whenever I choose.  I can’t wait to make that trip.

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Martin Luther King Jr., monument in Washington D.C.

Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time: the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence.  Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation.  The foundation of such a method is love. – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1964 (Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech)

Yesterday the memorial for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was opened to the public on the mall in Washington, D.C.

WOW!!! I can’t believe it!  I knew for some months that the event would come but it is finally here.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend today but I will be there Sunday along with the anticipated 300,000 people.  I’m just so excited!! Dr. King is the only African American and non president to be honored in this way.  Furthermore, there is no more space on the mall for any other monuments of this stature to my knowledge.  I will give you all an update when I return.  There will be musical tributes before and after along with a speech from President Barack Obama.  If you are in the area and can attend here is a link with some pertinent information and FAQ’s regarding the dedication service which will be held on Sunday, August 28th. http://www.dedicatethedream.org/site/c.4nJHJQPoEiKWE/b.7629861/k.8321/Dedication_FAQs.htm

“Hey Baby”

Street harassment is the unwelcomed words and actions of strangers that can be everything from sexually explicit comments and groping to public masturbation and assault.

The other night there was this interesting dialogue about street harassment and pedophilia that young women have to deal with. It’s a normal occurrence to walk down the street and have a car drive by screaming out “hey baby” and honk. As if I would run over and reply sweetly “yes daddy?” but I don’t want to be the “baby” of any man who couldn’t approach me in a respectful manner. I don’t respond to catcalls and obscenity as a way to get my attention.

I remember going to south beach one year for memorial weekend in Miami and hating to walk down the sidewalks. It’s known that if you’re going to walk the strip you are going to get harassed and it doesn’t even matter what you have on or how you look. The men were brutal. My friends and I paused as we came up on a group of men standing on both sides of the sidewalk. Other than walking in the middle of the street, we had to walk through them to reach our destination. Walking through the crowd of men someone touched me and my instant reflex kicked in. I swung my hand back to defend myself. I looked back to realize I hit the wrong person and as the group of men started getting loud and closer my friends and I literally and quickly ran down the street. That was just too much unnecessary excitement for me. And for the rest of our time on the strip we had to deal with men grabbing us and shouting out names to get our attention. “Hey, lil yummy.” “Come here brown skin.” I saw women get approached and after turning the man down he curses her out and calls her all types of vulgar names. I even saw some women get things thrown at them for not wanting to give a man their number. It was a prime example of the male ego and feeling the need to put a woman in her place. Needless to say that was our last time on south beach for memorial weekend.

Too many friends and relatives shared the same kinds of stories. And sadly enough it all seemed so normal. The street harassment happens often and comes from young and old men. Whether it was the teenage boy who said I wasn’t shit because I said no to him or the man old enough to be my father that told me that he wanted to marry me and whispered dirty things in my ear, this mentality tells us that boys will be boys and have no self-control. More often its women who  say we just need to accept it as a part of life. Men and women alike need to challenge the sexism and patriarchy that allows for men to act this way and for women to accept it. 

There needs to be the mentoring of men and of boys who will eventually become men. They need to know the respectful and right way to compliment and talk to women. Men also need to relate and become allies in stopping street harassment. Men, show some respect when you see this being done to women, please tell your friends to stop it.

There is a simple rule: do unto others as you would want them to do to you. So simply: if you don’t want it said to your mother or daughters don’t say it to someone else’s daughter. Street harassment that women go thru by men can be compared to the harassment men go thru by the police. Seriously think about it. No one wants to walk down the street in fear of being hassled and violated.

Please remember 15-year-old Sakia Gunn. She was killed after being stabbed her in the chest in Newark, NJ after stating she was a lesbian and turning down the advances of two men.

Women have a right to walk through their communities and feel safe without being objectified. Street harassment is a real issue.  Hollaback- http://www.ihollaback.org/ – encourages the movement dedicated to ending street harassment.

Have you ever been hesitant or afraid to walk down the street because there were a group of men you would have to pass? Have you ever experienced street harassment?

Have you ever told someone to stop the harassment of another person? Why or why not?

Mid Week Inspiration- Passionate Living

Alarm goes off. Time for work. Dragging to get ready and make it on time. Physically there but mentally somewhere else. There is always some point in our lives when we have a job that we are grateful to have but don’t love. We get stuck in having a good job that supports our financial needs but does not satisfy our passion. It may seem hard but your passion and talents can work for you. Dont allow a job to steal your purpose from you. A job is work but a career is worthwhile. Love your position but plan your promotion.

Follow the signs that are placed in your life. It doesn’t matter how old you are, your education or financial situation. Passion is limitless and free. If you could do anything, that wouldn’t feel like work, regardless of how much it paid what would it be? What are you most passionate about? Think about your talents, the things you love to do, or the people you want to impact. I personally struggle between my passion and what’s practical. But I have realized that being practical and safe isn’t always whats best. Living passionately can be done by merging the hearts desires with the minds practicality.

Discover your passion and embrace it. Take baby steps. Volunteer, start a part-time home business, continue your education, travel, take every opportunity. Do what makes you happy and satisfied. Do not settle for mediocrity. Learn to fly.

Police Brutality Strikes Again… So does the bystander effect.

I was listening to WRFG 89.3 around 5 pm when I heard a father, Ron Thomas,  speak about his son, Kelly Thomas who was a known homeless man in the community.  The interview was brief but powerful.  Ron Thomas, a retired Deputy Sheriff,  told the story about his son who was beaten into a coma then died shortly after.  There was a total of 6 Fullerton police officers who beat and tazed Kelly while he cried out for help.  Officers stated that Kelly resisted but bystanders disagreed.  A few locals described Kelly as a kind man.  The City offered Ron Thomas $900,000 to settle any claims but he rejected the offer.  Kelly’s last words were “Dad, Dad, Dad.”  Hearing this story was tough.  The injustice system is so corrupt.  It’s not like I’ve never had this feeling before.  But when will it stop.

After listening to the radio interview I looked up an article and a few YouTube videos.  Then I had flashbacks of conversations held with friends regarding the bystander effect/Genovese Syndrome.  The videos showed a group people who stood around, shared their opinions and filmed  as Kelly was beat excessively by the 6 officers.   To my recollection, the bystander effect/syndrome usually occurs when people watch others being hurt by someone and are more times than not helpless.  People may stand around and watch a horrific event almost in a daze.  Somehow the expect another person to do something.  It’s a interesting topic to read up on especially when you get into the difference between individuals and groups.  When one is alone and the risk is low people are more likely to offer assistance to those in need.  Groups of people tend to stand back and wait for someone or something to help.  I’d like to charge all of our blog readers to think about this situation the next time you see someone being hurt.  I wouldn’t ask you to put yourself in danger.  I’m only asking that we become more conscious. Collectively.   Re post it on your social networks to remind other people that is it okay to help someone out or speak up about injustice.  If I was being mistreated by police or some stranger I certainly hope someone would help me.

*Check out this article about Kelly Thomas.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/03/kelly-thomas-fullerton-ho_n_917713.html