Why Aren’t We Funding This!!!!

30.1 Million dollar is how much it cost.

gary

This past Monday I woke up at 7 am in the morning to participate in the University of Chicago’s annual day of service. To be honest, when the clock went off for me to wake up, I had my doubts if I was going to be able to overcome my slumber on one of the very few days that we get out of school. With the encouragement of knowing that had I made a commitment, I broke from my three hours of sleep and walked the block and a half to sign up for my service project. Usually they have you clean out of tool shed or paint a nursery, but on this day (Martin Luther King Jr Holiday) I got lucky. I was signed up to go tutor students at the Gary Comer Youth Center.

January 11, 2010 – January 17, 2010

King would have fought coal plants
Joseph E. Lowery, Atlanta Journal Constituion, January 17, 2010

Life Sentence Given In Youth’s Killing
Richard K. Deatley, The Press Enterprise, January 16, 2010

Do black girls play with white dolls for wrong reason?
Debra D. Bass, St. Louis Today, January 16, 2010

Black Schools Restored as Landmarks
Erik Eckholm, New York Times, January 14, 2010

New Life for Youth Sentencing Reform
Los Angeles Chronicle, January 14, 2010

Students, parents voice support for Ackerman
Kristen A. Graham, The Philadelphia Inquirer, January 14, 2010

46 years after King’s dream, blacks still face uphill battle
Tonyaa Weathersbee, Florida Times-Union, January 13, 2010

Four Will Receive MArtin Luther King Jr. Unsung Hero Awards
Kelly Homan Rodoski, States News Service, January 12, 2010

Local boys program taking applications
The Advocate, January 12, 2010

Mentoring program under way at high school
Katlynn Lanham, The Facts, January, 11, 2010

My Nightmare On MLK Day

Yesterday we celebrated the life and legacy of the “young preacher from Georgia” (that’s for another  blog). Last year we heard the slogan “Rosa sat  so could Martin could walk, Martin walked so Barack could run, Barack ran, he ran and he won, so that all our children could fly” ( that’s for another blog). Nevertheless, those of you who celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. day (probably not John McCain) paid reverence to a man who gave every fiber of his being to promulgate justice and equality for all.

Yesterday after I arose from my slumber I thanked God for waking me up and giving me life, I thanked The University of Chicago for recognizing the holiday so I could sleep until noon, and I thanked Dr. King for giving me the opportunity to attend such an illustrious institution alongside students of all races and ethnicities.

Today in Post-Race History: I, Too, Have a Dream

It’s the MLK holiday, which probably means that you’re not reading this.  Or if you are lucky, perhaps your boss gave you the day off, which means you’ve just stumbled out of bed still hungover from that extra night of clubbing, regretting updating your status message while drunk, and contemplating whether or not to participate in that day of service with your fellow frats and/or sorors.  It’s tempting, I know, but forget about it.  Tutoring inner city kids in math for one day doesn’t really help at all.  So just make yourself a Screwdriver and finish reading this blog.  There’s a better way of showing how seriously you take the legacy of Martin Luther King, and you don’t have to listen some to black intellectual bloviate through a King Day lecture, or pretend you care enough about a cause to actually march about it.  You can show your support for the King holiday by joining my campaign.

Simple Math: Let's Make a Deal

One thing that really irks me about white supremacy is that it allows folks–mostly white men–to say really bigoted and racist things, and make lots of money doing it.  Racism is not just the process of institutionalizing prejudice and methodically discriminating against black folks and other people of color, it’s also a very lucrative business, a capitalistic endeavor that allows purveyors of the commodity to make mad dough.  And, as always, the kids with melanin doing the hustlin’ make the least amount of money.  Sure, I suppose Flavor Flav got a nice stack per episode, but Pat Robertson is worth at least $200 million–and he gets to be a racist bigot in the name of God!

The Issue with Black Love

I grew up in a house with two loving parents. My mom and Dad have been together for 26 years now and I don’t think they’ve left the honeymoon phase of their relationship yet. So I’ve never been confused about the notion of Black Love. To me, it was always a Black woman and a Black man involved in the equation. Once I got older and experienced other things, the equation expanded to involve two Black people who are in a loving, nurturing relationship. Never have I considered expanding that idea to include non-Black people. However, many people thought that Essence was doing just that by putting New Orleans Saints’ running back Reggie Bush on the cover of their Black Love Issue.

Some Natural Disasters are not so Natural, but Vodou (Spirit) will Prevail

Can’t no one know at sunrise how this day is going to end. Cant’ no one know at sunset if the next day will be here. In this world of trouble and wars a member must be ready to go. We look forward to things to save us but in a twinkling of an eye everything can be changed. Troubles of this world feel our heart with wage from Soweto to Stonewall, Birmingham to LA. We searching for hope that lie within ourselves as we fight against misogyny, racism, hatred, and pain. Can’t no one know at sunrise how this day is going to end. Cant’ no one know at sunset if the next day will be here**

—Sweet Honey in the Rock, Spiritual

I begin this post with a song written by Sweet Honey in the Rock because its title and lyrics invoke Spirit and Spirits. Furthermore, the song weeps and wails not only of troubles, but of justice, “justice that rolls down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.” It lets us know that the way of the world is not as predetermined as governments, private contractors, and multinational corporations believe it to be because Spirit and Spirits “can change some things” as the old people say. So, as we stand on the eve of remembering not only Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and all the Spirits that joined the movement for freedom in the US, I write this blog to acknowledge the power of Spirit and Spirits to deal with the injustices of what has happened and continue to happen in the country of Haiti.

This week I’ve read many articles and blogs about the devastation and abject poverty in Haiti and how international loan agencies and governments like the US (i.e. World Bank and the International Monetary Fund) have benefited greatly by keeping Haiti in debt. I’ve seen Christian fundamentalist like Pat Robertson say vicious anti-Christ love statements like, “[ the earthquake is] a blessing in disguise . . . [Haiti] made a pact with the Devil in order to liberate themselves from French rule [therefore they deserve what is happening].” Oh, this sounds very familiar to his statements about Hurricane Katrina. Furthermore, I’ve watched as CNN’s pundits contort their mouths and faces to convey the inevitability of rioting and looting saying with Hurricane Katrina’s conviction, “We heard gun shots.” In addition to all of this, I’ve read some of Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine: the Rise of Disaster Capitalism and I’m left feeling completely hopeless about the long-term fate of Haiti being left vulnerable to the free market’s social experiments. Yes, my heart grieves.

But, as the song says, “Can’t no one know at sunrise how this day is going to end. Can’t no one know at sunset if the next day will be here,” there is hope because there is Spirit and Spirits. For me Spirit and Spirits represent faith-based practices/rituals, spiritualities, religions, justice, transformative collective action, community, Love, and all the things that have “brought us this far a mighty long way” as my Sunday school teacher would say. Spirit and Spirits are the things that allow me to wake up each morning with a renewed belief that the world can change and that I have the ability to change the world.

And for some people of Haiti Vodou is their Spirit and it also was their collective frame for mobilizing against French enslavement and other forms of oppression. Though I am not fully familiar with the practice of Vodou, I do understand the power of believing in something bigger then yourself and something that embodies community, love, and justice. I know I am sounding a little sermonic, but my intent is not to preach. I just need to know that there is something more than greed, capitalism, and hegemonic power structuring the world and the only place I can surmise where this may be the case is in the Spirit and within the Spirits of people. It is in the faith-based, spiritual, and communal practices that preach love, justice, and community that challenge us to envision and create a world of collective peace.

Ugandan Updates and LGBT Progress…in some sense

Set Backs vs Progress

This past week the president of Uganda gave a statement that made many happy, but didn’t bring much gratification to my life. I’m not one that likes to accept the lesser of two evils. When people ask me if I would prefer to be hot or cold, I tell them neither, I want to be comfortable. I don’t like to compromise, point blank. (some say this is something I need to work on, but I gave up my aspirations to be a politician a long time, but hey, who knows what can happen).

The Ugandan President fed into international tensions and decided to oppose the new legislation. President Museveni announced that the gay-genocide bill is too “harsh” and just this week attempted to convince the National Resistance Movement Party to reverse the death sentence section of the law.

So time to party right? Sing a little kum-ba-ya, hold hands in peace and harmony because now their president isn’t going to kill the gays…right?obama_gay

Well, before we start the celebration of dancing through the hills and rainbows too early, lets examine other parts of the bill and understand that the president only slightly encouraged legislators to remove the “death penalty” from the gay-genocide bill. So at the very least, we can stop calling it gay-genocide, and begin to call it, gay-life-imprisonment! In the proposed bill, there is a section that states “anyone convicted of a homosexual act, which includes touching someone of the same sex with the intent of committing a homosexual act, would face life imprisonment.”

I'm Going Pro

“It’s all about the U”. Growing up in South Florida I heard this chant all the time, especially between the months of August and January. For those of you who don’t speak “college football”, the “U” is a reference to the University of Miami. During the late 80’s, early 90’s, and early 2000’s they were a college football dynasty. As a kid, I vividly recall listening to Trick Daddy’s “Take It To Da House” while watching Edgerrin James run down the sidelines for one of his many touchdowns as a Hurricane. University of Miami football was not just a powerhouse program, it was the epicenter of my universe during my middle school years.

During my little league football days I dreamt of suiting up in the orange and green and breaking every NCAA rushing record. I eventually grew up and realized that God had called me to do other things, but my love for that program never waned. A few weeks ago I watched Billy Corben’s documentary the “U” on Espn. Corben, a Miami filmmaker, had already won many awards for his documentary “Cocaine Cowboys”- a film about how the cocaine trade changed the culture of South Florida. Not only was I pumped to see a film about my favorite college team, I was excited that the rest of the United States was going to learn about how “The U” invented swagger. Surprisingly, after I finished watching the film I had mixed emotions.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdjCUrNM7jo&feature=related

January 4, 2010 – January 10, 2010

County gives Los Angeles International Charter High School a second chance
Mitchell Landsberg, LA Times, January 10, 2010

Closing the Gap: Hamden seeks to boost minority test scores
Ann DeMatteo, New Haven Register, January 10, 2010

Gainesville group’s awards honor King’s legacy
Dante Lima, The Gainesville Sun, January 9, 2010

High school graduation rates rise in D.C.
Bill Turque, Washington Post Staff Writer, January 9, 2010

Big Brothers Big Sisters & African American Fraternities Enter Mentoring Month with Action Plan to Help Black
Boys Succeed, PR Newswire, WKBT Philidelphia, January 8, 2010

The Identity Thing
Christine M. Flowers, Philadelphia Daily News, January 8, 2010

Christian Author Shares Journey from Poverty and Pain to Prosperity to Encourage Inner-City Youth to ‘Dream Big’
Jordan Media Group, Christian Newswire, January 7, 2010

Q&A with Morgan Park Academy’s Jerricka Boone
Chris Murphy, Chicago Sun Times, January 7, 2010

MLK Day to focus on Girard College
Vernon Clark, The Philadelphia Inquirer, January 7, 2010

Michigan’s black/white male education gap is worst in nation
Joe Serwach, University of Michigan News Service, January 6, 2010

At Admission Possible, she’s a coach but also a role model
Elizabeth Sias, Pioneer Press, January 6, 2010

South: First U.S. region with majority low income and minority students
Maureen Downey, Atlanta Journal Constitution, January 6, 2010

Law School Admissions Lag Among Minorities
Tamar Lewin, New York Times, January 6, 2010

Letters: Police officer: It was 20/20 justice
Signe Wilkinson, Philadelphia Daily News, January 5, 2010

Four Blair High graduates team up to succeed at college
Seema Mehta, LA Times, January 4, 2010