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In Honor of Father’s Day: Re-Post of “Is Poppy A Black American?”

18 Jun

Okay, today is two-for-one day–two posts for the price of one!  When I heard of Rodney King’s passing, I had to acknowledge this loss with a post.  I had alreadyplanned on posting the below piece in honor of Father’s Day, so I hope some newer readers enjoy it.

This piece was first written when my older daughter, Leni, was seven years younger than she is now.  She now has a more formed opinion about her mother’s obsession with race relations that I’m sure will appear in a future

“Mommy, I have a secret to tell you,” my then, five-year old daughter Leni exclaimed, as we sat eating lunch in a Pennsylvania pub-style restaurant.

We were on a summer road trip, traveling from Tulsa, Oklahoma where we had lived for several years, to my home state of Connecticut. Leni and her little sister Darla were going to visit their grandpa, their “Poppy.”

Cupping her hand over my ear, Leni whispered… (more…)

Is Poppy A Black American?

21 Feb

I first started working on this piece when my older daughter, Leni, was five years old.  At sixteen now, she has a more formed opinion about her mother’s obsession with race relations, and has even written a few posts for me on WJSS.

“Mommy, I have a secret to tell you,” my then, five-year old daughter Leni exclaimed, as we sat eating lunch in a Pennsylvania pub-style restaurant.

We were on a summer road trip, traveling from Tulsa, Oklahoma where we had lived for several years, to my home state of Connecticut. Leni and her little sister Darla were going to visit their grandpa, their “Poppy.”

Cupping her hand over my ear, Leni whispered… (more…)

2018 Year-In-Review. What I Wrote. What I Learned. What’s Next.

20 Dec

Rashon Nelson, Donte Peterson
Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson

At the end of each year, I look back at my writings here to remember, and reflect on what was going on in the world around me in regards to race, about what I’ve learned, and hopefully, how I’ve grown.

I started off 2018 by writing The Crack Cocaine Center Of Excellence about my anger over the discrepancy on how the opioid “crisis” is being treated now that it is impacting white suburban communities vs. how Black people were treated who were impacted by what was called the “crack epidemic” in the 1980’s.

On February 14th, we learned Valentines Day will now forever be overshadowed by the occurrence of the Parkland, Florida school shooting. In Let Us Listen To All Of Our Young People’s Cries For Help To End Gun Violence. I wrote about how proud I was of the Parkland students for rising up and becoming passionate activists working to end gun violence. Yet, as they garnered the nation’s and the world’s attention, and praise, I, and others, who also praised the Parkland students, wished the same attention was given to the young Black and Brown students in Baltimore, Ferguson, and throughout the country, who have been activists for much longer. They have been activists out of the need to speak on behalf of their communities who have experienced gun violence, and police brutality, and killings by police officers, but have not gotten the same mainstream attention as the highlighted, mostly white, suburban Florida students.

(more…)

A Tip Of The Hat And A Fist Raise To All The Anti-Racism Activists Past, Present, and Future

23 Dec

light-brown-raised-fistI want to give major props to all the activists out there fighting the good fight. The good, hard, exhausting, frustrating, dangerous fight against racism. Personal racism. Systemic racism. Institutional racism. Jim Crow racism. The New Jim Crow racism. And every other kind of anti-Black racism in-between.

See, I’m like a baby taking its first steps when it comes to learning what it means to organize, to march, to protest, to take concrete political action to fight against racism.  Before this year, the only two things I could put on my activist’s resume was (more…)

Presidential Election 2016: Overcoming Hate, Finding Hope In Unlikely Places With My Mother and Kendrick

14 Nov

me-and-rosa-parksIt’s been five mornings of waking up to what feels like a nightmare of a reality with the new President-elect of the United States. I won’t say his name, just as I avoided the social media postings displaying his racist, misogynistic, homophobic, Islamophobic pot stirring over the course of the campaign. I didn’t want to promote his image or his message, and I didn’t want to internalize that negative energy myself. To be honest, I didn’t click Like and Share on Hillary articles either.  I admit to not being fully knowledgable of the complexity of, or the mechanics of the political machine. But I know I didn’t think Hillary was a perfect candidate either. Bright, strong and accomplished, yet also seemingly “bought” by the corporate powers that be. It was under the Clinton presidency that the era of mass incarceration of young, Black men persisted, thanks to legislation that Bill Clinton passed. It was the same era in which Hillary Clinton used the term “super predators”  to refer to young, Black men of color said to be predisposed to committing horrific violent crimes, like the wrongly accused Central Park Five. Still, I believed that she would make the better leader, and that those of us concerned, could (more…)

Charles Blow Talks “The New Civil Rights Movement” at Brown University

21 Sep

Charles Blow, John Hazen White Lecture, Brown University, September 2015

Charles Blow delivers John Hazen White lecture at Brown University, September 18, 2015

Last Thursday, I was fortunate to attend the John Hazen White Lecture at Brown University given by The New York Times journalist, and author, Charles Blow.

Mr. Blow, 45, who began at the Times in 1994 as a graphics editor, later went on to gain experience there as a journalist covering stories on the war in Iraq, as well as on 9/11. As a current Op-Ed writer for the Times, Blow focuses on (more…)

Black Like Rachel Dolezal

12 Jun

I heard about Rachel Dolezal this morning via Facebook and all I could muster was, “Wow.”

I scrolled down my Newsfeed and (more…)

Selma: The Movie and Community Dialogue in Providence, RI

12 Jan

This past weekend, I attended a private screening party of Ava DuVernay’s film, Selma, which was held at the Providence Place Mall Cinema.  The event was sponsored by the Providence NAACP, and the Rhode Island Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women.

DuVernay’s Selma, focuses on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s work and planned marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965, and the many working with him, and against him, to further civil rights causes, in particular the fight to pass the Voting Rights Act.  Like many who  during the post-film dialogue referenced the ages they were during this time period, I remembered how old I was– (more…)

Wendy Jane’s Weekend Sounds: Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk

7 Dec

James-Brown 1968 concert

I feel it. Our collective and individual souls feel broken over the non-indictment of Michael Brown, and now, Eric Garner.  I hear all of your outpouring of anger, sadness, hopelessness.

Yet, I also feel something else going on.  I see black people expressing their anger and outrage and call for change in organized marches and sit-ins.  I see black, brown and white people marching together saying, “Enough!”

Still, we feel down, we are not certain.  We are in a funk.  We need some funk to get us out of this funk.

On April 5, 1968, the day after Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, James Brown was scheduled to play the Boston Garden.  Mayor Kevin White almost cancelled the concert due to the unrest in the city the night before–Boston had a volatile racial climate due to forced busing and school integration, and White worried the concert would potentially bring more violence into the downtown area. It was black city councilman Tom Atkins that urged the mayor to not cancel the concert and to televise it free, locally in an effort to keep people home, and the streets calm.

James Brown through his musical talent and grand presence had the exact impact the mayor and city officials had hoped for.  Brown even, during a charged moment when some young men, mostly black, kept jumping up on the stage, and white police officers were forcefully pushing them back off the stage, was able to see the potential for racial discord, and asked the police officers to step back,. Brown  talked directly to the young men and the crowd, and asked them to have some respect for themselves, and for him.  The men listened, and the show went on.  It was a quiet night on the streets of Boston.  James Brown, and his music had brought people together, and brought peace to a city overwhelmed with grief and upset over the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Now, I’m not saying that UK deejay, music producer Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars come close to wearing the cape of the Godfather of Soul. And it is clear  Uptown Funk is definitely influenced by James Brown’s sound.  But, it’s not such a bad thing when you’re feeling broken, to get up off of that thing and dance on a Sunday.

 

 

__________

SOURCE:  www.youtube.com, Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars, posted by VeVo

 

Photo credit:  www.juliettejagger.com

Mt. Hope Neighborhood Works To End Youth Violence

23 Jul

On Tuesday, July 21st, I attended the event,  A Call For Community Action at Billy Taylor Park located on the East Side of Providence.   The  gathering was in service of working to end the violence that continues to escalate between the young people  from neighborhoods including Mt. Hope and South Providence–from the West End to the Chad Brown Houses, to Manton Avenue.  There have been ten homicides in Providence this year, including the shooting death last weekend of  (more…)

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