Posted in <<COMING SOON, @Berna's Book Reviews, Telling it like it 'TIS, Watercooler Chat, ~~FREE Flow of UNscripted Thoughts~~

~~~Shopping While BLACK~~~My 2 cents regarding the EPIC failure of the recent filmed Starbucks and Philly incident

Humiliation personified .. A surreal scene mayhaps for those who aren’t racist ; but for those of us Black Americans and minorities who have been there or seen it’s become an every day moment reality that still reeks of ISH.. Many of us , including myself!, have sons same age as the victims .. Makes it terribly personal .. And YES I said victims .. I’ve sat in MANY Starbucks from Barnes and Noble to Target stores and just SB sites ; and had meetings , link upS or just to hang out and READ.. I’ve used their restrooms whether I purchased a product or NOT.. And not once as an American Black woman have I been arrested .. Not 1 time from coast 2 Coast.. For the record to preface I’ve got a myriad of friends of all colors , sexual orientation and genders.. IF I must state I’m not racist here it IS I’m not , but what I am is a Black American woman proud of my culture and Co- parent of 3 amazing , astounding grown Black SONS .. And to quote former POTUS Obama this could’ve been one of MINE.. Honestly, I fully support and stand behind ANY person unjustly villified .. It just is not right to judge anyone , lest alone based on color of one’s skin color . These 2 college graduates weren’t wearing hoodies ! They weren’t thugs yet they were treated like thugs .. Like CRIMINALS.. Those words @ I feared for my life… I’ve heard from my own sons breathing while Black and innocent yet targeted .. For nothing .. Which IMO is the worst type of words a parent can hear from sons they’ve birthed and raised to do the RIGHT things .. Starbucks IMO let this manager who called the police OFF lightly .. Allowed her to resign , mutual parting , pfft! Many of US would’ve been FIRED for far less .. Now Starbucks due to many of US refusing to remain paying our big bucks to them ; is taking ONE day for racial unbiased training.. 1 DAY a month in advance to roll back how many years of racial ISH? Want to impress me? Why is it planned so far in advance ? Why not teach racial non bias as part of training ; period ? WE don’t need short term 1 day so called solutions .. Truth IS they hired a racist person ..What is the long term solution to keep that from happening again and again ? And mind you this isn’t an isolated Starbucks issue.. IMO with Trump thumping racist behavior and condoning it; this is becoming more and more common… Thankfully ! this time no one was murdered .. As a collective group Black and Brown have HUGE spending power .. I will not cater to companies who don’t treat those who look like ME with great fair customer service .. Ever .. Might mean being inconvenienced or making my own coffee or whatever .. But saving lives and dignity in the long run is worth it.. IF I was on fire ! and the only water available was in a Starbucks cup of coffee I would rather burn to death .. Period .. I recall when Starbucks had to close stores during the recession due to over saturation .. If it depends on my money , and I’m a coffee lover, they’ll close many more until they stand for fairness and equality . Let’s rap…

Posted in @Cultural, Motivational!, Positive Movement Topic, ~~FREE Flow of UNscripted Thoughts~~

~~#BLACKLivesMATTER~~~

Lest we get so caught UP in our own day to day lives(and I’m guilty of that…) that we forget things going on in OUR world/country; are just as important..I had a surreal conversation with my youngest son today that made me pause for a minute to wonder out loud@Is this really 2014???? My son commented on the latest NON verdict regarding Eric Garner..He said WOW there are some police out there who really hate Black folks!! I found myself, again, telling him the what-to-do’s on IF ever stopped by the police for random traffic stops..NO sudden movements..Don’t get out of the car unless asked to do so..Don’t get angry, just listen & be patient..WtH & OMG is this 2014 or the 1940’s??? And while I know I’m not the only Black parent to feel this way; it sure IS a heavy feeling..Heart-wrenching to say the least..I’m asking everyone who reads this who has a wordpress blog site, facebook page, or who twitters to spread the word for our ‘new cause’ @BlackLivesMatter..Doesn’t it seem like we’ve had to say this alot more lately? Because we HAVE…Police brutality against Black folks(and with no punishment/penalty), no MEN, is on the rise..IF we all stand together certainly our voices will be heard! I’m posting a couple letters from NAACP(yep folks they’re still alive , well , and working for US) and another organization I’m a member of ASALH(Association for the study of African American Life & History..) that have further motivated me to speak OUT & stand UP for the cause @ Black lives matter & police brutality must end..I can only hope/pray it helps to motivate y’all as well..Peace & light always , the One & Only Berna

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Posted in Teachable Moment

#BLACKOUTBLACKFRIDAY: The Time Has Come

Whether we all agree or not with the results of the ruling in Ferguson(or the aftermath..) ; it IS clear there is an epidemic of police brutality in our country..

Here we find ourselves again perplexed, vexed, with aching hearts over the ever-present racial divide in our country..

The time has come, again, for us to be visible & united for things to change..Lives matter more than material possessions..

I’m not an advocate for violence..I do , however, stand with those who desire & wish & deserve! to LIVE..

***“Black America has again been reminded that its children are not seen as worthy of being alive — in part because they are not seen as children at all, but as menacing threats to white lives.” ~Dr. Stacey Patton***

>>>>The following is from The Grio…>>

The Ferguson decision is the impetus, but not the solitary reason, for the call to boycott Black Friday shopping this year. The onslaught of Black men, women and children losing their lives to overzealous, mostly white officers who are not being held accountable has many people fed up with the state of affairs.

There are the dissenters who are asking “WHAT FOR?” and stating, “Boycotts don’t work!” or “One day won’t do a damn thing! I’m getting my Beats Headphones, bruh, FOH.” Then there are those willing to consider it, but asking, “How does this work?” “What does this do for us?” Well, let’s talk about why #BlackOutBlackFriday matters and why it’s worth doing.
1. Dollars pay for retailers’ political interests

Lobbyists influence legislation on behalf of others, and many groups use them to get policies they want enacted. They compel congressmen to vote in whatever way they want, and this is not a secret nor is it illegal. On the contrary, it is a general practice in American (and other countries) government.

Lobbyists have the access and insider influence to steer conversations toward certain agendas, spin the media, and create a following for certain causes This is why they can be used to our advantage during a boycott. If we present legislative demands that require fulfillment in order to bring our business back to certain retailers, corporations will pay lobbyists to get it done, in order to maintain their business’ profits.
2. Black Friday is the single most profitable shopping day of the year.

Many retailers go from being in the red (loss) to being in the black (profit) on Black Friday hence the name. If people refuse to spend on this day and beyond, companies will take a huge hit. Many businesses make anywhere from 25-50% of their yearly revenue during the holiday season alone and if big retailers lost that, they would be very interested in finding ways to get it back.
3. Black people drive the economy

We shop. We buy. We spend money.

Black people set trends in this country, no matter how much columbusing tries to erase that fact. From fashion to music, we are the progenitors of trends, and we support them with our hard earned dollars. This provides retailers with big boosts of income, especially during the holiday season when everyone wants the “hot new thing” and gift giving centers around it.

Now is actually the perfect time to make a tangible impact so let’s take a stand. We possess the spending power to make change possible if we are steadfast, deliberate, and committed.

The question is, are we?

Posted in =Self Discovery=, Health Matters*, ~~FREE Flow of UNscripted Thoughts~~

*A Problem Shared Is A Problem Lessened?”..Is Venting Good For The Ventee?

We all need a good vent every now and then..Some of us more than others..Having done my fair share of venting, I’ve got wagon loads of compassion for those in need of a good vent..But what about the flip side of the coin? Does the ventee walk away with a warm , fuzzy after-glow? Or is it normal for the ventee to often feel like an emotional bag of bricks was just laid on their shoulders??

Once upon a time I ran for political office..What was true then remains true all these years later..My slogan was ‘Your Vote is YOUR Voice’..And if you don’t vote you’ve NO right to complain or expect positive change..Early voting period has begun folks..One way to make sure you don’t have to stand in long lines November 4, 2014? VOTE NOW..In many places polls are open from sun up to sun down..Literally..I’ve included a brief video clip on why voting is so important..WE can make a difference! >>

GET OUT THE VOTE 2014 **Mid-Term Elections Matter Too!

Posted in ^^Thought Provoking^^, ~~FREE Flow of UNscripted Thoughts~~

Defining Moments of Clarity..

What defines us to ourselves? Is it our intentions? Is it our thoughts? Is it our actions? Is it our attitude? Is it our outlook on life? Some of us don’t like to admit it(hand raised high in the air! ) but we want our existence to be remembered..I think we all want to matter..We want to define ourselves with something that is LASTING..Whether it is a published book, successful business or goodwill towards others..Some of us also pour a great deal of the best parts of ourselves into our children..I’ve very guilty of that! Why? Because they’ll be my living legacy long after I’m gone..Yet, isn’t it the little moments quilted together that define us? I believe it is..

Who we spend time with defines us>> Who we keep close are the people that will most influence us..When I close my eyes & reflect on the BEST moments of my life? More times than not those were moments that had someone else in them..Someone close..Dear ‘trusted’ friends who have been there for us in all types of weather..Family members who love us unconditionally to the very core of our being..And those we’ve loved deeply , who care for us even after seeing us at our worst..I’ve learned & am still learning to be ‘conscious’ about who I spend time with ; for they have a say in defining us..Many moons ago I used to tell my sons pick & choose your friends wisely! At 51 years of age that still remains true..Mayhaps even more so now>>

Acts of Kindness>>Corny as it sounds it can make a loved ones’ or stranger’s day! We aren’t always aware of the impact our simple presence has on others..A smile…An unexpected tip(recently happened in my world that I tipped someone whose establishment provided horrific overall service) A comforting ear..A hug..WE have the power to restore someone’s faith in humanity..

We choose our perception of the World>> I heard someone say very recently that the world is full of mostly evil people..Made me a little sad that they’d feel that way..I quickly realized I couldn’t change their mind..I think it is an individual decision we can choose to make every minute of the day..Is the world revolving around us or can we step out of ourselves & see the world from a more realistic viewpoint? If we can’t ever see the world from another’s perspective what does that say about us? There is alot to be said for that old adage@ Walk a mile in my shoes..>>

Addressing naughty habits>>I found myself saying , just today, perfection is boring..There are many things we may dislike about ourselves..None of us are above anyone else..We are human & will make mistakes..Throughout our lives we forms habits, attitudes and even addictions that can be detrimental, but to let them define us would be the greatest misfortune..We must and should strive to dust ourselves off, do better, work on self-improvement/progression and move onwards and upwards>>

What have been some of your life-defining or life-altering moments? Who have you chosen to BE?

Posted in ~~FREE Flow of UNscripted Thoughts~~

**OTHERHOOD**40s, 50s, Childless, Never Married**Their Perspective Revealed>>

I won’t and can’t lie…I can’t relate to this piece…However, now that I’ve been single & celibate for 3 years(though actively dating someone I dig alot..a whole lot!) I find myself trying to understand all aspects of the dating spectrum…My hair was blown back by the open nature and honesty of this write..At 51 yrs old and UNmarried; my biggest fear is entering old age alone..ALONE..MY parents attend even random doctor appointments TOGETHER..Shopping, etc..whatever they do together…As much as I dig my independence I MISS being part of a forever union..Knowing that someone always has my back..Good , bad or ugly…There IS comfort in that…Having said all of that I’ve a silent respect for those who are still patiently waiting on ‘the One’..It is hard for me to imagine waiting & waiting & waiting on love until well into the 50s…I’m just NOT that patient!

IF anyone can relate to this woman’s perspective, feel free to comment…I was captivated from word one!

I’m 45, Single And Childless. No, There’s Nothing ‘Wrong’ With Me….

October comes in innocently enough, stretching the edges of summer into fall. But then, one night, seemingly out of nowhere, a cold chill touches my shoulders like a former lover I’ve tried to shake from memory. I shiver. My heart falls; I know that another long winter is approaching and I’m still alone.

I hadn’t planned it this way. I have always been open to love and relationships. I have held on to hope and to expectations and to dreams and to grief and to men I should have let go of much sooner. I have been high on love and tip-toed on top of clouds. And I’ve lost my breath under a dark cloud, wondering why it’s so hard for me to have the long, meaningful relationship I deserve.

I’m at a bar, on my first date with Brian, a man I met online. I’m happy to be inside, sitting next to this man, warm and calm. At age 45, I’m no longer focused on the future; I’m no longer envisioning my life as one half of a young couple, thinking about our future children. I’m focused on the moment I’m in right now. This is life. This is my life. And notwithstanding it not turning out the way I had expected, my life is beyond my expectations. I have chosen to live my life to its potential, and I’ve never felt better about myself or more comfortable in my own skin.

Brian is handsome, self-made and from his body language, I can tell he’s happy to be sitting at the bar next to me. He swivels to face me, smiling, and I smile back. The date is off to a great start. But soon enough, his tone changes. Brian has decided it’s time to find out what’s wrong with me. And after all these years, seasons of men, loves and likes and not-quite-there feelings, I recognize the conversation that’s about to begin.

First, my dates prove their ability to be in a relationship. They describe their marriage and how it concluded, or why their recent long-term relationship finally had to end, as Brian’s had earlier this year. “We argued so much it no longer felt good to be in the relationship,” he volunteers. And now, as these exchanges go, it’s my turn to share why I’m still single.

“Have you ever been married?” Brian asks.

“No,” I say.

“Have you come close? Like engaged or lived with someone?”

“Nope,” I add.

Brian presses his lips together in judgment. “When was your last long-term relationship?” he asks, believing my answer is the answer to whether or not I want to be in a relationship. Or, perhaps more importantly, whether or not I am capable of being in one.

“It’s been a while,” I softly respond, noticing my own disappointment, let alone his.

“But you’re attractive and smart. I can’t believe you haven’t had a boyfriend in a while,” Brian says, but I know his flattery is a guise to learn the great mystery of why I’m still single. “Like how long?” my date continues. “How many years?” He wants details. He wants to hear proof that he’s right about his assumption that there is something wrong with me. Perhaps, he thinks, she can’t commit.

“I don’t even know,” I say with a smile and a nonchalant shrug. And I’m being honest. I don’t know. I don’t know how many men I’ve gone out with or how many men I’ve kissed or been intimate with or how many men I’ve lost to what was simply not meant to be. I don’t count the men because, in the end, they are all one closer to one that will be the One.

“That’s OK,” Brian offers as consolation. “Some people aren’t interested in having a serious relationship.”

I immediately find myself rising up to my own defense and resent us both for having to do so. “Does it mean I’m interested in having a serious relationship if I stay in one too long because I don’t know how to leave or because I can’t bear to be on my own?” I ask. “I never married the wrong guy or pretended to be happy in a relationship when I wasn’t. And it hasn’t always been my choice for a relationship to end. I’ve been in love. I’ve wanted to be in love forever with some of the men I’ve dated. My heart has been broken,” I add.

My date seems unsympathetically relieved at this last note. My black-and-blued heart is proof to him that I’ve gone to battle for love. But I’m more focused on the fact that I’ve survived and have moved forward than on the battles I’ve lost.

“So, what’s the issue?” he asks. “I can’t believe you would still be single. You must be picky.”

We’re entering the “dating-deduction” phase. Brian will keep trying to deduce what’s wrong with me until he hits the jackpot.

“Of course I’m picky,” I say with confidence. “I want to be in love with the man I’m with and he deserves to be loved. If being ‘picky’ means I won’t settle for a lesser love, then you are right: I’m picky.”

My date pours more wine into my glass from the carafe we’re sharing. Our conversation moves on to entrepreneurship, a passion we share. He goes first, and I’m sincerely impressed. And then I share my work and the business I’ve grown over the last seven years. But for my date, he’s not so much interested in my work, but in how my career might be the root-cause of my singlehood.

“Some people choose to focus on their careers and some choose to have families,” my date says emphatically, making the assumption that because I haven’t had a family, I’ve made my choice.

“I didn’t choose to have a career over falling in love, getting married and having children,” I reply, my voice again slightly raised. “I can control many aspects of my career, but I cannot choose when and with whom I fall in love and who returns the love to me. I didn’t plan to be single at 45 or not to have children.”

“I have a friend who admits she spent too much time focused on her career and not her dating life,” Brian says, like it’s a diagnosis: “Career-Womanitis.”

“Women don’t often forget to fall in love. They don’t often forget to have children. Sure, time passes faster than we’d all prefer, but if someone wants to be in a relationship, and most women do, then we find a way to do that when a man who wants the same thing is present in our lives,” I reply. “Women are better multitaskers than men are in general, so I don’t buy into the ‘too focused on career’ script modern women have been given instead of the truth: Despite having a great career and taking care of ourselves financially, while also taking care of our health and well-being, we haven’t met the man we’re meant to be with.”

“Maybe you’re too independent,” Brian suggests, more to himself as he looks down his mental list of possible reasons for my singlehood.

“I’m independent,” I reply. “But that doesn’t mean I can’t be dependent on someone else for a change. We keep hearing about how women should ‘lean in.’ I am leaning in so far that I’m falling over. I don’t have a net, emotionally or financially, to fall back on. What I would do to be able to lean back for once. What I would do to have a man in my life whom I could count on when times are tough…”

Brian is running out of arguments. I’m running out of patience.

“Brian, if you spend the rest of our date searching for what’s wrong with me, you’ll never discover what’s right with me,” I say, trying to soothe us both into another topic of conversation. “I have no regrets. I’m living a life I never dreamed of in many respects. Yes, I wanted to be married and become a mom in my twenties, but here I am, in my forties, with all my bumps and bruises, still in the ring, unwilling to give up on love.”

My date seems satisfied, at least for now, and we begin to chat about other things. As we leave the bar later that night, Brian gives me a hug. “You’re shivering,” he says, sweetly. “Let me get you into a cab.” He hails a cab and asks me for a second date.

“Yes,” I say. “I’d like that.” I’m open to a relationship, after all.

“I’ll call you tomorrow,” he says with his handsome smile as he opens the cab door.

I smile back as I get in the cab. I am happy to be out of the chill.

Melanie Notkin’s second book, OTHERHOOD: Modern Women Finding a New Kind of Happiness (Seal Press/Penguin Canada), is available now. OTHERHOOD received a prestigious *starred review* by Bookli

Posted in Watercooler Chat

**WaterCooler Chat**Text Message Confusion..

We’ve all experienced some form of text message confusion…I know I have, which is probably why I find this clip so laugh out loud hilarious..Instead of leaving room for misinterpretation; why not just call instead of texting???? Ever wonder what is taking someone so long to respond to a text??? Ladies, if he is really digging you will he text or call more? Guys, is it harder or easier to understand women via texting?

Posted in =Self Discovery=, Health Matters*

>>Body Image>>When Is It Good Enough? It’s A Woman Thing ..

First, a few facts>>

Body image is the way that someone perceives their body and assumes others perceive them. This image is often affected by family, friends, social pressure and the media

People who are unhappy with their bodies and don’t seek healthy nutrition information may develop eating disorders..Eating disorders are unhealthy relationships with food that may include fasting, constant dieting, or bingeing and purging

Body image is closely linked to self-esteem<

Approximately 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies and resort to dieting to achieve their ideal body shape..Unfortunately, only 5% of women naturally possess the body type often portrayed by Americans in the media

58% of college-age girls feel pressured to be a certain weight..58%!

Studies show that the more reality television a young girl watches, the more likely she is to find appearance important

More than 1/3 of the people who admit to “normal dieting” , will merge into pathological dieting..Roughly, 1/4 of those will suffer from a partial or full-on eating disorder

In a survey, more than 40% of women and about 20% of men agreed they would consider cosmetic surgery in the future..The stats remain relatively constant across gender, age, marital status and race..WOW

Students, especially women, who consume more mainstream media, place a greater importance on sexiness and overall appearance than those who do not consume as much

95% of people with eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25

Only 10% of people suffering from an eating disorder will seek professional help

Only 4% of women globally consider themselves beautiful..

This topic has become personal for me as of late..First, time in my life(at 51 yrs of age no less!) I’ve realized I’ve got body image issues..Even though I’ve clawed and fought my way back from becoming overweight post-surgery & in full-blown menopause; it still isn’t enough. Even getting back into my pre-surgery sized clothes isn’t enough.. Mind you I was almost scared into keeping fibroids versus gaining weight..Who would rather risk possibly gaining Cancer over gaining a few pounds????? From the list above I’ve done it ALL with the exception of purging & cosmetic surgery..But I’m forever going on meatless week stints, gave up all juices/carbonated drinks, skipping meals, squeezing in speed walks in lieu of leisure week lunches, biking, treadmilling, weight lifting, and of course my beloved weekly raw veggie smoothie detox drinks(which I’ll probably drink for the rest of my life..

So just this weekend I found myself giving solicited advice to my bestie about losing weight..And out of my mouth came the words@ “Don’t diet. Diets don’t work for us, because we wind up feeling deprived & fall off.. Just adjust your lifestyle little by little & eating habits in increments & exercise more..Start slowly on the green raw veggie drink..” When I got home I realized I was telling her something I wasn’t practicing! I wanted her to start off in a healthy manner; yet when I want to quick drop pounds I dang near starve myself..I’m always hungry! Stomach growls seem normal..Today I caught myself trying to climb 2- 3 stairs at once(butt lifting exercise) while on my cell & almost fell..Not cool!

I decided to reach out in honesty ..Calling out all/any woman reading this..WE have got to stop this never-ending cycle of pushing for the perfect body image..I can’t imagine how this life-long behavior would’ve impacted the daughter I always yearned for , yet never birthed..Thankfully , I can sincerely say this wasn’t taught to me by my own Mom..She taught me always to love me for ME..Yet, even with constant & consistent positive reinforcement from parents/significant others/countless passerbys/friends? Still find myself pushing for something more..It was somewhat comforting to read the above statistics; for a moment. I’m not ALONE in this struggle for the perfect body. It is deeper than just being vain..But when does it stop??? When is good enough(& healthy!) , enough??

IF one can’t be honest with self in their 50s; probably won’t ever be! Naked truth exposed feels pretty liberating & hopefully admitting it can lead to positive change..Anyone out there that can relate & would like to share?

Posted in 50s, Fabulous 50s, Quotes that softly speak to our souls.., ^^Thought Provoking^^

**Quotes that softly speak to our souls..**

Ever read something that seemed to scream off the pages & reverberate off the walls??? Mayhaps it is the phase of life I’m in..Now that I’m one year post-50/very empty nester/divorced; the words of this quote speaks volumes to me ..Ten years ago it probably wouldn’t have..Things were different then..Heck, I was different then! So when I read such deep words from someone who accomplished remarkable things that changed our world/daily life, yet died before 60 years of age..Cliche as this is going to sound; it makes me pause mid-stroke(keystroke that is..) to ponder my own truths..@Am I the person I want to become? Have I accomplished as much as possible , within means, in my life to this point? When will I switch up from thinking outside the box to actually walking outside the box?? Either life is moving faster in the Fabulous 50’s or I’ve become more cognizant of how precious time is now…

Posted in ~~FREE Flow of UNscripted Thoughts~~

**What Makes You Interesting? Or Better Yet, Are YOU Interesting?**

Is being interesting in the eye of the beholder? Are some people just naturally more interesting than others? What makes a person interesting? Is being “different” the same as being “interesting”? Here is a list of things I ran across than can help to define if someone is boring or interesting…

You are a confident person.
You are up on current events.
You have at least one interesting hobby.
You are creative and like to make things.
You listen carefully to what people say.

You have a good memory.
You don’t let yourself be bored.
You read regularly.
You don’t complain much.
You start conversations with strangers.

You love to learn new things on your own.
You joke around a lot and make people laugh.
You don’t watch much television.
You tell a good story.
You are irreverent and sometimes shocking.

You are very open-minded about people. You give everyone a chance.
You refrain from talking about your feelings or focusing too much on yourself.
You are friends with interesting people from all walks of life.
You are well-traveled, and you enjoy visiting new places.
You have a career that you are passionate about.

You rarely turn down an invite to do something.
You try a lot of new things. You don’t like to be stuck in a rut.
You participate in at least one group activity outside of work and school.
You are not a snob. You don’t think too good for anything or anyone.
You don’t gossip or argue. You keep your conversations upbeat.

Alright y’all it is time to chime in! ..Are you boring & self involved or interesting? Do you find yourself inclined to spend time with people who you find interesting?

Let’s take this one step further..IF someone were to ask what makes you interesting; what would your answer be??? I’ll share if you’ll share…I’m working on my listening skills 🙂

Posted in Teachable Moment, ^^Thought Provoking^^

**When a random traffic stop goes bad…**Who is right, Who is wrong?

What would you have done if you were the police? What would you have done if you were the passenger? Do you think the police were racist or following the letter of the law? How would you recommend your loved one(s) to act in a similar situation?

Posted in FABulous 50th B-Day!

**Happy 50th Birthday Lizzard!**

**There are those rare friendships that are effortless..**

Three decades..How can mere words express?
Out of all the beautiful friends I’ve met..
You’re always and still the best
Whenever I needed to call you
Even cross-country
I remember..

You’re always at the end of the phone
Whenever I encountered life’s troubles
I knew I wouldn’t face them alone
It’s easy to take for granted
Someone that is always there
Sometimes you miss the chance
To express how much you really care
It’s simple to forget all they do for you
How they’re a sister and a friend
And when times get hard & you’re knocked off your feet
They pick you up again!
Yes, I remember..

Lest you forget on this marvelous milestone birthday
I cling to our friendship in silent countless ways

There is a soothing closeness how I can be myself with you
Like slipping on an old familiar comfy pair of well-worn shoes
If I’ve indeed taken you for granted I do sincerely apologize
Knowing you’re in my world means more than you realize
Can’t help but remember..

All that you’ve been , done and are to me
And though I might forget to say
I appreciate dearly your love for me
Each and every single day
I love you always Sis!

Posted in Health Matters*, ~~FREE Flow of UNscripted Thoughts~~

How Safe Are We From Ebola in The United States?

I don’t know about y’all; but I’m a little more anxious about the U.S. Ebola situation as the days progress..Can’t lie I wasn’t thrilled to hear about the two American Ebola patients arriving on U.S. soil this summer..Even more unsettling was the first case of Ebola that showed up in Dallas this week..Dissemination of factual news/information can reduce hype, anxiety and reduce the spread of a disease like Ebola..IF it gets to that point..As with so many life instances a little knowledge can save our lives and provide us with peace of mind..So here are the facts I’ve picked up about Ebola>>

Is it possible for this disease to spread in the United States? Of course it is..Anyone who says it isn’t possible just isn’t being honest(or doesn’t know any better)..However, more than just the odds indicate it will probably not become a pandemic in the U.S. There ARE reasons ebola has spread so quickly in Western Africa…Life there is very different than life here..Culture, hygiene practices, customs(including washing the dead before burial; which btw has been a leading method for ebola to spread..) & the fact most can’t afford hospital care..All of that together perpetuated the rapid spread of the virus>>

Ebola Fast Facts

Ebola is not brand new..The first human outbreaks occurred in 1976..The virus is named after the Ebola River, where it was first recognized. There are 5 different strains ..All but one of the strains can cause illness in humans & animals(the 5th strain only affects animals)

Ebola is extremely infectious but NOT extremely contagious..An infinitesimillay small amount can cause illness..Because it isn’t transmitted via air, it is only considered moderately contagious

Humans can be infected by other humans IF they come in contact with body fluids from an infected person or contaminated objects from infected persons..Humans can also be exposed to the virus, by butchering infects animals…

Typically, symptoms appear 8 to 10 days after exposure, but incubation period can span 2 to 21 days…

Ebola is NOT transmissible if someone is asymptomatic or once one has recovered..BUT, the virus has been found in semen for up to 3 months…

According to the World Health Organization: The fatality rate can be up to 90%.

Posted in Telling it like it 'TIS

When a cartoon just isn’t funny …

Weak apology or not..Mind you only after public outcry..This was a BOLD openly racist reference..We all know Boston isn’t known for being especially “kind” to folks of color..The Boston Herald just figured they’d “test” the waters to see if this sentiment would fly under the radar..It didn’t! There is a line that should be drawn even with humor..

Posted in ~Poetry A Berna Original~

UnSpoken Words~~A Berna Original Poem

Spoken words
Never heard
Or uttered
Only felt…
Yet dripping slowly down my body making me melt
As those silent lyrics
Reverberate
Reechoing
In my ears
Chasing away my unromantic and incoherent fears
Your restrained rap
Consistently
Caresses my emotions
Sensually
Jeeeez the nearness of you is making me light-headed
The soundless delivery
Never leaves your lips
Yet somehow manifests itself
Into…
A delicious sweeeeet gentle yet erotic kiss
Subdued consonants and vowels
Verbally not yet said
Instead
Passion
Mutually exists..
N
I simply can’t resist
Your succulent kiss..
Touching every lil spot
Of my being~
Feelings felt are freeing
My every inhibition
Giving U silent permission
To break rank and tradition
Cause I’m ready 4 submission..
At long last!
So keep acting out those silent words
Coming back for 2nds & remarkable 3rds
I’m so enjoying this mentally passionate sensual vibe
So wonderfully felt that my mere words can hardly describe..

Posted in Watercooler Chat

>>>Watercooler Topic<<<< When Did You Last Have a Great Conversation??

Has great conversation become a thing of the past? Remember backintheday when it was all we had? Not snippets of conversation that resemble hashtags either…Think of all the “sips” of conversation we have that don’t involve face to face dialogue(or voice to voice) ..Texting, emails, Facebook, twitter; in every aspect of our lives..From work to romance! It has become a valuable & convenient way to communicate..But does it serve as a substitute for real conversation? Something to think or talk! about indeed…

Posted in **RELIGIOUS**, @Cultural, LOVE

**Lady in Waiting**(waiting on love..)

..Will God lay it at your feet? How long should you wait on God to send HIM? Will you know the signs that ‘the one’ has been sent from God? Limitless questions that seem to inspire more questions…>>>

Proverbs 31:10-31King James Version (KJV)

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies….

Exactly what IS a woman of virtue? As Christians we’re taught(correct me if I’m wrong..) that a woman of virtue is pure, upstanding in good character, and waits to be plucked by ‘the one’ sent by God to love only her..But what about those of us who are divorced or will never be virgins again?? Are we also supposed to wait, again? My interpretation of this scripture translates to pure of heart..

virtuous
adj
1. characterized by or possessing virtue or moral excellence; righteous; upright
2. (of women) chaste or virginal

heartwoman

I think we all interpret things; differently…Also I find that we often pick & choose what scripture we want to emulate or believe in…Is a woman any less virtuous if she employs an active hand in determining her ‘fate’? Do WE sit at home waiting for any other opportunity(i.e..career, investments etc..) to knock on our doors? The answer is simple..No, we don’t…In that aspect we use our God-given talents; to achieve our goals..Why isn’t that the same universal sentiment for Christian women seeking love? Why are so many of the belief that God is going to do it ALL? One must do their part, good works, to gain anything in this life..Right? There have been phases of praying for discernment in my life(I’m in the midst of one now..); in which I am listening to the ear of my heart..It’s my belief there IS a healthy balance between actively looking (or broadening our exposure, circles..) for a life-partner & waiting for God to send one into our lives..Being passive doesn’t get anyone anywhere! If this is truly the case then why do we hear of so many(including the video clip I posted..) willing to ‘just’ wait??? Doesn’t that mean they don’t trust their own judgement/choices at all? IF a woman’s heart is pure and she is a woman of God; can’t she be guided/led by him to choose a life-partner? Or at the least attempt to step out of her comfort zone(online dating sites, broadening social circles, etc…) in order to be discovered? Real questions. Real thoughts that I wanted to share with y’all..Feel free to chime in or share from your experiences..Stand UP women of virtue and speak on it…

Posted in Watercooler Chat, ^^Thought Provoking^^, ~~FREE Flow of UNscripted Thoughts~~

Watercooler Chat***Is Honesty Always the Best Policy?

Conversation ice breaker of the day..Is honesty always the best policy?

You’d be surprised what the responses are when you ask someone this question!! Though an age-old cliché not everyone believes this is the best policy…What is your take on it & how has it worked out for you in your day-to-day life experiences? Later, I’ll post my thoughts but in the meantime here is a clue …

What would be even more fun is post the responses you get when you ask someone this question today..Let it flow y’all!

Honesty and keeping it all the way real…

Posted in Watercooler Chat

*Watercooler Chat * What Would You Wait In Line For?

Just a random question… Is there anything you’d gladly wait in a mile-long line for???(or longer…) Without complaint & patiently..IF you knew what you wanted was guaranteed at the end of the line! Whether you share here/at work/with family or friends; cute light topic for a little mental relaxation..Or least it was for me! My answer came so easy it surprised even me..Because I hate standing in line(almost as much as I hate being in bumper to bumper traffic!) I’ll break the ice by going first. Corny as it sounds.. I’d stand in the world’s longest line for love. Alright now it is your turn..Go!

Posted in **RELIGIOUS**

Black. Catholic. Full Stop*Beginning of Lent and Resisting Temptation

I had no intention of discussing Lent today nor its meaning..But it happened anyway..Not within the confines of things I can control..It just happened..Funny thing IS it happened while simply explaining to someone I couldn’t keep my committment to work out due to it being Ash Wednesday..Little did I know that would lead to an entire text chat defending my Catholic Faith..Are y’all ready for this? Hold onto to your caps, hats, wigs and weaves because here I GO>>

I’ve no issue with defending my Faith..But I’ve also no issue admitting I don’t like being put in a position to have to! I don’t ask anyone else to defend their Faith and I don’t take kindly to feeling I have to defend mine..But I shall if I and when I have to..Any day 24/7 365 days of the year. I am Black and I am Catholic. Period. And there is no other religion I’d rather practice and be a pupil of; other than the first. Catholicism. >>

I don’t critique other religions. I feel everyone has the right to practice whatever religion they desire..I also feel folks that do NOT have a clue about a certain practice of religion, other than speculation or hearsay, should never ever speak as IF they’ve got knowledge of a certain religion. I’ve no problem with answering questions about the religion I’m apart of..But when you a. step to me and act as if you know all about Catholicism but come across as not knowing the first thing about it. OR b. step to me with nothing but hearsay and wrong assumptions OR c. step to me quoting me Bible scripture that you think counter the Catholic religion…My interest level wains from the inception and so does my respect level for you. Instantly. >>

Before I go any further I’d like to profess I don’t think nor feel I’m a Bible thumping over righteous type of Christian who bangs folks over the head with my religion nor my Faith…I’ll never show up at your front door trying to convert you to Catholicism. I even sometimes wonder if there are so many things considered SINS in Catholicism that I’m forever destined to be a sinner. (after all we were born sinners..) Though I practice celibacy until my next marriage(OMG that’s tough) it is said even lusting or thinking about SEX is a SIN outside of marriage..IF that is truly the case then I’ve certainly got strikes against me! ..For I’m not of the belief I have ‘credit’ with God; no matter how good I treat people in my day-to-day life. But I’ll try not to stray to far from my point>>

All of that said today was the first day in my entire life I told someone google UP what Ash Wednesday Mass meant to Catholicism ..I’d tired of texting the reasons..And just in case I left anything out, I figure I’ll give it my best shot here. For I believe a lot of folks , even practicing Catholics, might not know what the intent is behind Ash Wednesday. We’re all learning and there is nothing wrong with learning a little bit more & truly understanding the age-old rituals>>

Lent is the forty day period before Easter, excluding Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday (the day before Easter Sunday). [This traditional ennumeration does not precisely coincide with the calendar according to the liturgical reform. In order to give special prominence to the Sacred Triduum (Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Good Friday, Easter Vigil) the current calendar counts Lent as only from Ash Wednesday to Holy Thursday, up to the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. Even so, Lenten practices are properly maintained up to the Easter Vigil, excluding Sundays, as before.]Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ’s Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption.Following the example of the Nine vites, who did penance in sackcloth and ashes, our foreheads are marked with ashes to humble our hearts and reminds us that life passes away on Earth. We remember this when we are told

“Remember, Man is dust, and unto dust you shall return.”

Ashes are a symbol of penance made sacramental by the blessing of the Church, and they help us develop a spirit of humility and sacrifice.

The distribution of ashes comes from a ceremony of ages past. Christians who had committed grave faults performed public penance. On Ash Wednesday, the Bishop blessed the hair shirts which they were to wear during the forty days of penance, and sprinkled over them ashes made from the palms from the previous year. Then, while the faithful recited the Seven Penitential Psalms, the penitents were turned out of the church because of their sins — just as Adam, the first man, was turned out of Paradise because of his disobedience. The penitents did not enter the church again until Maundy Thursday after having won reconciliation by the toil of forty days’ penance and sacramental absolution. Later, all Christians, whether public or secret penitents, came to receive ashes out of devotion. In earlier times, the distribution of ashes was followed by a penitential procession.

The Ashes

The ashes are made from the blessed palms used in the Palm Sunday celebration of the previous year. The ashes are christened with Holy Water and are scented by exposure to incense. While the ashes symbolize penance and contrition, they are also a reminder that God is gracious and merciful to those who call on Him with repentant hearts. His Divine mercy is of utmost importance during the season of Lent, and the Church calls on us to seek that mercy during the entire Lenten season with reflection, prayer and penance.

Hopefully none of you will have to answer a litany of questions about practicing Lent(and from a friend no less..) but IF you are I’m prayerful my rant can give you the the info you need..Or , even more importantly, motivate you to learn more about your Catholic Faith. Bottom line as Believers we’re all brothers/sisters in Christ..And at the beginning and end of each day that is what should matter in our interpersonal relationships..Not what religion we practice. Until I read/write y’all again stay UPlifted and blessed,Berna(the 1 & Only)

Posted in =Self Discovery=

The Masquerade Is Over by Woe

Presently working on a piece, per request(sort of..), about the sometime and often masks worn in our day-to day lives..And though I’m not yet finished with it; brought to mind, this work of art I discovered and then re-discovered last year..I’d promised I would share it then & somehow never did..Anyone else out there getting that caught UP in lifes’ oh -so-busy hamster wheel??? Anywho this was written by a brother who goes by the name of Woe..He’s a semi-retired musician and also one of Esquire’s best-dressed men. He’s posted his rants and musings on a delicious website geared for Black men..I truly aspire to write from the gut plus personal experience , with my own style as he’s clearly mastered. So much of his musings I can relate to! Enjoy>>

**The Masquerade Is Over** By Woe

Every working morning, for as long as you can remember, a stranger’s face has stared back from your bathroom mirror’s reflection. Occasionally, your eyes make contact when it glances back at you. The brief cold of a ghost’s presence. A momentary acknowledgment in the rear-view mirror…as you are chauffeured along in the backseat that has become your life. Like a laugh, too loud, from the back of a movie theater. Like a telling string dangling from a magician’s sleeve. A fleeting reminder…that Everything Is Not In Its Right Place.

We commute from one social landmark to the next, like falling debris. Careening wherever the winds of opportunity take us, as pieces of ourselves are smashed against the shore. Against the waves, we are anchored by our titles. Anchored by our degrees. Secured by the weight of social status. Bound to the sense of privilege which will eventually sink us when we no longer have the will to keep up. The constant pressure to tread water. The unsubtle urge that we are not doing enough, if we aren’t doing more than those who are in the lanes next to us. The guilt of having the world on our plates, as we grow to despise it more with every force-fed bite.

On the way up the ladder, life is like a back-room card game…and we’ve been taught to wear a poker face. A mask that says: “I want what you want.“…”Everything is fine.” and “Of course. How much further backwards can I bend to help you?” with one glance. Underneath, the eyebrows furrow. The inner fists clench, and the grin begins to grimace. A voice says to you: “…you know, if you keep making that face, it’ll stay that way.“ In response, you laugh to keep from crying.

How much longer can we pretend? How much more of ourselves will we burn out, while wasting away as fuel and fumes for someone else’s engine? A slumbering leviathan; your true purpose brims below the surface. Announcing itself like a telephone that rings endlessly; stopping only when your fingers encircle themselves around the receiver. Like a recurring dream that holds the Answer to Everything. It’s silhouette slender and shrugging behind the curtain of your eyelids. Always on the verge of whispering the punch line before you awake.

For some, there is comfort in the linear life. For some, the adulation that comes with a nameplate and corner-office is sufficient sustenance. They want it so bad, they might cry. This is the prescribed and pre-arranged method to happiness. Perhaps they aren’t plagued by the ever-present sense that they were made for something better. Perhaps they are, but choose to paint within the lines nonetheless. Maybe they’ve opted to compete for the inconsolable consolation prize: a successful but unfulfilled existence.
If you’re frightened, you can be. It’s okay. But one thing becomes clearer every day. The more of ourselves we allow to be smothered, the less of us there will be when we finally come up for air. A day will come when you decide to claw your way out of the deep sleep. A day will come when you decide to stop living as a facsimile. The masquerade is over. Make sure they see your face.

Posted in @Cultural, Black History

Will Blacks in America Ever UNIFY?*Salute/ Tribute on Last Day of Black History Month

I think many Black Americans would LIKE to think there is only a visible division among Black and White in America. And there IS..But what takes some of us, like ME, longer to admit, there IS still a division within Blacks themselves..When I mentioned this issue to a very good friend of mine(who also happens to be my X love..) his response is @They call it slave mentality baby..They’re doing what the White mas has rewarded them for doing for over 400 years! Alright, I get THAT. But when does it END???

Even knowing about the whole slavery mentality theory; being the victim of it hurts! And it hurts BAD…Because it is ones own subjecting them to adverse feelings ..I am here to tell y’all it IS a phucked up feeling and it is unacceptable. I personally can’t speak for anyone else but ME…But since moving to the South(after living in California for 20 years) I’ve been called a bougies bitch; had people trip REPEATEDLY over the grain of my hair; and had people wig about my skin color to the point of being certain, without a doubt, that I’m Spanish; and professing I sound White because of how I talk..All of this from people who are also BLACK. Bear with me a moment while I grab hold of my bearings>>

Majority of my life I’ve NOT been in a majority Black environment.West Coast living agreed with me to the utmost level..This only came to be once moving to the Dirty South 2.5 years ago..OMFG..I knew sentiment here wasn’t as progressive as the West Coast; BUT I didn’t and couldn’t have imagined it was this far BACKWARDS progressively..Lawd! >>

Now I don’t know IF it is a Southern ‘thang’ or not..After all the South WAS where slavery reined back in the day….But I do know that the POWER Blacks in the South, from my viewpoint so far, feeeeeel they have IS nothing in equalivence to the power Blacks have in the West Coast. I’ve never seen anything more pathetic than broke arse folks clamoring for power , here in the South, like I’ve seen! It is shameful…Back in California I’ve easily mingled with millionaires who were far more down to earth than the want-to-be-bougie here in the South..As IF having money or prestige makes a person have more character and respectful standing…It doesn’t! And fighting for it makes it all the more GHETTO in every aspect. It is a sad thing to see and watch; and I refuse to be a part of it. I simply refuse>>

I could very smoothly run from my people back to White Corporate America..At this point? It represents, believe it or not, alot LESS drama and bullshit! But that would be like trying to run from myself..I’m not into the personality ENVY, nor the crab in a barrel syndrome crap; personally I believe competition is a GOOD thing. Challenge me with greatness! The petty ish of light-skin-good-hair-banging-body stuff has to END..Light or dark skin Black IS Black. Period. We’ve got to get educated and beyond the slavery mentality ish! Our children are watching US..I’m ashamed of some of the behavior I see out here these days.Bottom line? African. Trinidad. Haitian. Dominican. Puerto Rican. Latino. Jamaican. Brazilian…WE are all ONE…Whether we unite or not we’re all identified by our skin color. Trying to ignore it is like a cat chasing their own tail…Never ending. I think about running from it; a lot. It is easier leaving..But I stand! I love MY people and I love being BLACK. Black folks have alot to offer the world and always have…We’ve a legacy to be proud of. And its worth standing together proudly. United we stand or divided we can continue to free fall..

Posted in @Cultural, Black History

Final Black History Month Salute* Ruby Bridges*

Ruby Bridges is an African-American activist best known for being the first Black child(she was 6 yrs old) to attend an all-white elementary school in the South.(New Orléans, Louisiana) The pictures of her being escorted into the school by marshalls are legendary..

In November 1960, six-year-old Ruby Bridges Hall became the first African-American child to desegregate an elementary school. Although she only lived a few blocks from the William Frantz Elementary school in New Orléans, Louisiana. Marshals had to escort Ruby because of angry segregationist mobs that gathered in front of the school. For an entire year, she was the only student in her class since white parents pulled their children from the school in protest. She wrote about her experiences in her book THROUGH MY EYES & she’s shared it with future generation in educational forums>>

Her bravery paved the way for the continued civil rights efforts; and at such a young age! I recall seeing her picture when I was a very little girl myself and hearing ‘her’story; yet not truly understanding what it really meant..As she was at the time of her step into the pages of American history; I was too young to really ‘get’ it..Her message then and now is this & it makes absolute sense @ “My message is really that racism has no place in the hearts and minds of our children”<< Quote by Ruby Bridges. I couldn't agree more! IF only all parents felt that way …

Posted in @Cultural, Black History

ASALH*Association for the Study of African-American Life and HISTORY*Black History Month Salute

Little known Black History fact is that ASALH still exists..It IS a totally different organization from NACCP..Although the founder, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, was involved in both organizations..Did you know that Woodson’s dream was that there would NOT always be a need for a Negro History Week(the father of Black History Month)? Well, if you didn’t know please don’t feel too bad. I didn’t know either! As I’ve said before Black History Month is still mandatory; for all Americans can stand to learn more. Including moi>>

ASALH was founded in 1915 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson..Its mission is to create and disseminate knowledge about Black History, to be, in short, the nexus between the Ivory Tower and the global public..The Association for the Study of African-American Life and History was created in direct response to the lack of information on the accomplishments of African – Americans..Much of which HAS either been purposely left OUT of History books or diluted down to just the accomplishments of a few..I used to ask why?? These days though I don’t waste time asking why anymore..There is far too much I(we) can read offline or online to discover the accomplishments and achievements Blacks have had since the beginning of civilization..And it is? ALOT. In my hearts of hearts I feel it is mandatory this information is readily available..It is highly necessary for Black youth to know they’ve got much to be proud of ..I’ve no problem in admitting that is my primary reason for promoting Black History Month. Hell, I’m still learning at 50 years of age(and not shamed to admit it) All I dream of now is a day when our history is so well imbedded in American History; that racism rightfully DIES. Black folks built much of what is now America! It takes more than big cojones to try to snuff that history out..

I had the opportunity to attend an event yesterday hosted by ASALH..It was an awesome! story ‘sung’ of the history and journey of songs created by Blacks here in America..From spirituals which then graduated in later years to Gospel and Blues and Jazz and R & B and etc etc …What an emotional and moving hour it was! I learned after that ASALH has a calendar of year-long events and programs..We’ve got a local chapter of ASALH that is very active..I also learned that the National chapter is alive and well..They’re bring our story to life! And I wanted to bring it here to share with you..Anyways, until I write/read y’all again stay blessed and surrounded by love. 4ever Sincere , Berna(the 1 & Only)

ASALHbiglogo

Posted in Black History

*Black History Month 2014 Theme is*Civil Rights in America*

Every Black History Month has a theme..The theme for Black History Month 2014 is ‘Civil Rights in America’ It gives tribute to the golden jubilee of the Civil Rights Act..Signed on July 2, 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson..That act stated the following..

**”We believe that all men are created equal—yet many are denied equal treatment. We believe that all men have certain inalienable rights. We believe that all men are entitled to the blessings of liberty—yet millions are being deprived of those blessings, not because of their own failures, but because of the color of their skins.

The reasons are deeply embedded in history and tradition and the nature of man. We can understand without rancor or hatred how all this happens. But it cannot continue. Our Constitution, the foundation of our Republic, forbids it. The principles of our freedom forbid it. Morality forbids it. And the law I sign tonight forbids it.”**

***
This year begins the sixth decade since Americans gathered at the Lincoln Memorial for the 1963 March on Washington. Yet, more than 50 years after that historic march, we still are marching for both freedom and jobs.

To paraphrase Dr. King: we cannot be satisfied while any American cannot vote; nor can we be satisfied when far too many Americans believe that they have no reason to vote.

Confronted by unacceptable levels of unemployment, inequality and voter suppression, far too many of our fellow Americans remain trapped by the most crippling segregation of all: the segregation from hope as a result of poverty.

President Obama has challenged each of us to join him in overcoming this “defining challenge of our time—the dangerous and growing inequality and lack of upward mobility that has jeopardized middle-class America’s basic bargain: that if you work hard, you have a chance to get ahead.”***

I’ll end this topic with a quote from President Barack Obama during his presidential proclamation for Black History Month 2014..”As we pay tribute to the heroes, sung and unsung, of African-American history, we recall the inner strength that sustained millions in bondage. We remember the courage that led activists to defy lynch mobs and register their neighbors to vote. And we carry forward the unyielding hope that guided a movement as it bent the arc of the moral universe toward justice. Even while we seek to dull the scars of slavery and legalized discrimination, we hold fast to the values gained through centuries of trial and suffering.”

As we all know our country’s civil right struggles aren’t limited to our history. Now, we are the Americans who must organize, mobilize and fight the good fight“>>Quote by Congressman Elijah Cummings

Posted in Black History

Black History Salute*Promise 2 Former Slaves*40 Acres & a Mule

Many of us have heard of the (broken) promise to newly freed slaves..Some parts of that part of history have been quoted with mistruths and little known facts..First and foremost General William T. Sherman in ‘Special Field Order 15’ promised 40 acres; but not the mule. The mule was added later..But what isn’t often told is how it all came about. It wasn’t a good will gesture made by General William T. Sherman alone..It was prompted by the direct result of a discussion (held 4 days before the order was announced) between General Sherman, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, and 20 leaders of the Black community in Savannah, Georgia. The meeting was unprecedented in American history! And as much as I thought I knew about history and black history; I didn’t know until recently that black leaders were present in that discussion..

The ‘promised’ land was 400,000 acres( owned by confederate land owners) and was to be confiscated by the government and given to newly freed slaves so they could OWN their own land. Which , at the time, was a part of the American dream..As it still is! This promise was made to approximately 3.9 million former slaves..The land involved was describes in detail in this manner.. “The islands from Charleston, south, the abandoned rice fields along the rivers for thirty miles back from the sea, and the country bordering the St. Johns river, Florida, are reserved and set apart for the settlement of the negroes [sic] now made free by the acts of war and the proclamation of the President of the United States.”

Special Field Order 15 goes on to describe what is to be done with the land(totally run by newly freed slaves..) in this manner ” … each family shall have a plot of not more than (40) acres of tillable ground, and when it borders on some water channel, with not more than 800 feet water front, in the possession of which land the military authorities will afford them protection, until such time as they can protect themselves, or until Congress shall regulate their title.”

What is also little known is that the 20 black leaders who brought this idea to General William Sherman were ministers. 11 of them were born free men! 10 of them lived as free men during the Civil War; the remaining 9 freed due to the Emancipation Proclamation. When General Sherman asked the chosen spokesman, a Baptist minister named Garrison Frazier(a prior slave), what did the Negro want most . He said, “Land! That way we can take care of ourselves!”

The response to the Order was immediate. When the transcript of the meeting was reprinted in the black publication Christian Recorder, an editorial note intoned that “From this it will be seen that the colored people down South are not so dumb as many suppose them to be,” reflecting North-South, slave-free black class tensions that continued well into the modern civil rights movement. The effect throughout the South was electric: As Eric Foner explains, “the freedmen hastened to take advantage of the Order.” Baptist minister Ulysses L. Houston, one of the group that had met with Sherman, led 1,000 blacks to Skidaway Island, Ga., where they established a self-governing community with Houston as the “black governor.” And by June, “40,000 freedmen had been settled on 400,000 acres of ‘Sherman Land.’ ” By the way, Sherman later ordered that the army could lend the new settlers mules; hence the phrase, “40 acres and a mule.”...

..And what happened to this astonishingly visionary program, which would have fundamentally altered the course of American race relations? Andrew Johnson, Lincoln’s successor and a sympathizer with the South, overturned the Order in the fall of 1865, and, as Barton Myers sadly concludes, “returned the land along the South Carolina, Georgia and Florida coasts to the planters who had originally owned it” — to the very people who had declared war on the United States of America…

I imagine a very different America IF this promise had been kept! I imagine things would’ve and could’ve rightfully been half-arsed set right had a broken promise not come behind years of enslavement..I can’t imagine how broken those ministers(not to mention the almost 4 million newly freed slaves..) felt when that happened. Trust levels broken down at the deepest level(s) for 246 years & then THIS..Given something one minute & promised a chance for …For what? A piece of the American Dream? Freedom? Equality? Are we there YET?

Posted in ~~FREE Flow of UNscripted Thoughts~~

Earliest Blood Banks Separated Blood by RACE and yet…*Black History Salute

..the person who invented blood banks was Black!

Charles Richard Drew already had an M.D. and a Master of Surgery degree when he went to Columbia University in 1938 to earn a Doctor of Medical Science degree. While there, he became interested in researching the preservation of blood. Drew discovered a method of separating red blood cells from plasma and then storing the two components separately. This new process allowed blood to be stored for more than a week, which was the maximum at that time. The ability to store blood (or, as Drew called it, banking the blood) for longer periods of time meant that more people could receive transfusions. Drew documented these findings in a paper that led to the first blood bank.

After completing his studies, Drew began working with the military. First, he supervised blood preservation and delivery in World War II, and then he set up a blood bank for the U.S. Army and Navy that serves as the model for blood banks today. However, Drew resigned his position because the armed forces insisted on separating blood by race and providing white soldiers with blood donated from white people. Drew knew that race made no difference in blood composition, and he felt that this unnecessary segregation would cost too many lives.

Posted in @Cultural, Black History

Niagara Movement*Forerunner of NAACP*Black History Salute

Niagara Movement, (1905–10), organization of black intellectuals led by W.E.B. Du Bois and calling for full political, civil, and social rights for black Americans. This stance stood in notable contrast to the accommodation philosophy proposed by Booker T. Washington in the Atlanta Compromise of 1895. The Niagara Movement was the forerunner of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In the summer of 1905, 29 prominent blacks, including Du Bois, met secretly at Niagara Falls, Ont., and drew up a manifesto calling for full civil liberties, abolition of racial discrimination, and recognition of human brotherhood. Subsequent annual meetings were held in such symbolic locations as Harpers Ferry, W.Va., and Boston’s Faneuil Hall.

Despite the establishment of 30 branches and the achievement of a few scattered civil-rights victories at the local level, the group suffered from organizational weakness and lack of funds as well as a permanent headquarters or staff, and it never was able to attract mass support. After the Springfield (Ill.) Race Riot of 1908, however, white liberals joined with the nucleus of Niagara “militants” and founded the NAACP the following year. The Niagara Movement disbanded in 1910, with the leadership of Du Bois forming the main continuity between the two organizations.

**Info from Encyclopedia Britannica*

Posted in Black History

*Founded, Financed, & Governed by African-Americans*Discrimination FREE Cali Town

Colonel Allen Allensworth along with 4 other settlers ; believed they could create their version of the “American Dream”. In August 1908 they established a town which became the only California town founded, financed and governed by Blacks..Their dream of developing an abundant and thriving community stemmed directly from a strong belief in programs that allowed blacks to help themselves create better lives.. By 1910 Allensworth’s success was the focus of many national newspaper articles praising the town and its inhabitants.

An unavoidable set of circumstances made it impossible for the residents of this tiny town located 30 miles north of Bakersfield to achieve their founders’ dreams over the long term. But the town did remain home to a handful of families and individuals throughout the 20th century, and true to the courage and resolve of its founders, the town has survived and persevered, earning the well-deserved title “The town that refused to die.”

In 1974 California State Parks purchased land within the historical townsite of Allensworth, and it became Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park. Today a collection of lovingly restored and reconstructed early 20th-century buildings—including the Colonel’s house, historic schoolhouse, Baptist church, and library—once again dots this flat farm country, giving new life to the dreams of these visionary pioneers.

With continuing restoration and special events, the town is coming back to life as a state historic park. The park’s visitor center features a film about the site. A yearly rededication ceremony reaffirms the vision of the pioneers…

(Facts pulled from California Department of Parks & Recreation)

Posted in @Cultural, Black History, ^^Thought Provoking^^

Feb. 8 Salute to Black History*1894 Congress Repeals the Enforcement Act*Rise & Fall of Jim Crow

**There are many reasons why I feel we must all continue to maintain our right to vote.. Many folks these days apparently think our rights can’t be revoked..I humbly suggest they READ up on the history of our country.(and etc…) **

January 8, 1894. Congress repeals the Enforcement Act, which then made it easier for some states to disenfranchise African-American voters. FACT

Once Congress passed the Enforcement acts, President Grant decreed that “insurgents were in rebellion against the authority of the United States.”Between 1870 and 1871 Congress passed the Enforcement Acts — criminal codes that protected blacks’ right to vote, hold office, serve on juries, and receive equal protection of laws. If the states failed to act, the laws allowed the federal government to intervene. The target of the acts was the Ku Klux Klan, whose members were murdering many blacks and some whites because they voted, held office, or were involved with schools.
Many states were afraid to take strong action against the Klan either because the political leaders sympathized with the Klan, were members, or because they were too weak to act. A number of Republican governors were afraid of sending black militia troops to fight the Klan for fear of triggering a race war. But once Congress passed the Enforcement Acts, the situation shifted. One of the Acts, the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, made private criminal acts federal crimes; consequently, President Grant decreed that “insurgents were in rebellion against the authority of the United States.” He sent federal troops to restore law and order to many areas where violence was raging at its worst.

In nine counties of South Carolina, martial law was declared and Klansmen were tried before predominantly black juries. Much of the credit for prosecuting the Klan belonged to Amos Ackerman, Grant’s Attorney General, who did his best to make the country aware of the extent of Klan violence. As a result of his efforts, a few hundred Klansmen were tried and sent to jail. Thousands of others fled or were let off with fines or warnings. By 1872, the Klan as an organization was broken. By the time the terror ended, thousands of blacks and hundreds of whites had been massacred or driven from their homes and communities. For a moment, it seemed that peace and Republican rule was restored. Yet within a few years, the terror was reborn and Reconstruction officially ended.

And then on January 8, 1894 the Enforcement Act was repealed~(To Be Continued)

Posted in ~~FREE Flow of UNscripted Thoughts~~

>Henry Blair> A Black Pioneer

Henry Blair (1807–1860) was the second African American inventor to receive a patent.

Henry Blair was born in Glen Ross, Maryland, United States in 1807. His first invention was the Seed-Planter, patented October 14, 1834, which allowed farmers to plant more corn using less labor in a smaller amount of time. On August 31, 1836 he obtained a second patent for a cotton planter. This invention worked by splitting the ground with two shovel-like blades which were pulled along by a horse. A wheel-driven cylinder followed behind which dropped the seed into the newly plowed ground.

In the patent records, Blair is listed as a “colored man”; making this identification the only one of its kind in early patent records. Blair was illiterate, therefore he signed his patents with an “x”. It is not known if Blair was a freedman or not. At the time that his patents were granted United States patent law allowed both freed and enslaved people to obtain patents.

In 1857 this law was challenged by a slave-owner who claimed that he owned “all the fruits of the slave’s labor” including his slave’s inventions. This resulted in the change of the law in 1858 which stated that slaves were not citizens and therefore could not hold patents. After the American Civil War, in 1871, the law was changed to grant all men (but not women) patent rights.

Henry Blair died in 1860.

**I found this totally interesting from A to Z! A Black man came up with an idea to make to picking cotton easier for Black slaves! And cherry on top he couldn’t even read or write; so he signed his patents with an X..Pure genius! True testament also that anything is possible with no excuses..**

>>Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. —Harriet Tubman<<

Posted in ~~FREE Flow of UNscripted Thoughts~~

Feb. 6th Salute to Black History*Freed U.S. slaves depart New York on journey to FREEtown , Sierra Leone(in West Africa)

* February 6, 1820…Freed U. S. Slaves depart on journey to Africa*

The first organized immigration of freed slaves to Africa from the United States departs New York harbor on a journey to Freetown, Sierra Leone, in West Africa. The immigration was largely the work of the American Colonization Society, a U.S. organization founded in 1816 by Robert Finley to return freed American slaves to Africa. However, the expedition was also partially funded by the U.S. CONGRESS, which in 1819 had appropriated $100,000 to be used in returning displaced Africans, illegally brought to the United States after the abolishment of the slave trade in 1808, to Africa.

The program was modeled after British’s efforts to resettle freed slaves in Africa following England’s abolishment of the slave trade in 1772. In 1787, the British government settled 300 former slaves and 70 white prostitutes on the Sierra Leone peninsula in West Africa. Within two years, most members of this settlement had died from disease or warfare with the local Temne people. However, in 1792, a second attempt was made when 1,100 freed slaves, mostly individuals who had supported Britain during the American Revolution and were unhappy with their postwar resettlement in Canada, established Freetown under the leadership of British abolitionist Thomas Clarkson.

During the next few decades, thousands of freed slaves came from Canada, the West Indies, and other parts of West Africa to the Sierra Leone Colony, and in 1820 the first freed slaves from the United States arrived at Sierra Leone. In 1821, the AMERICAN Colonization Society founded the colony of LIBERIA south of Sierra Leone as a homeland for freed U.S. slaves outside of British jurisdiction.

Most Americans of African descent were not enthusiastic to abandon their homes in the United States for the West African coast. The American Colonization Society also came under attack from American abolitionists, who charged that the removal of freed slaves from the United States strengthened the institution of slavery. However, between 1822 and the American Civil War, some 15,000 African Americans settled in Liberia, which was granted independence by the United States in 1847 under pressure from Great Britain. Liberia was granted official U.S. diplomatic recognition in 1862. It was the first independent democratic republic in African history.

>>Article from History.com>>

Posted in @Cultural, Black History, PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

Feb. 5th Salute to Black History*Barack Obama Elected 1st Black to Head Harvard Law Review

On this day in history>>

First Black Elected to Head Harvard’s Law Review
By FOX BUTTERFIELD, Special to The New York Times
Published: February 6, 1990
The Harvard Law Review, generally considered the most prestigious in the country, elected the first black president in its 104-year history today. The job is considered the highest student position at Harvard Law School.
The new president of the Review is Barack Obama, a 28-year-old graduate of Columbia University who spent four years heading a community development program for poor blacks on Chicago’s South Side before enrolling in law school. His late father, Barack Obama, was a finance minister in Kenya and his mother, Ann Dunham, is an American anthropologist now doing fieldwork in Indonesia. Mr. Obama was born in Hawaii.
”The fact that I’ve been elected shows a lot of progress,” Mr. Obama said today in an interview. ”It’s encouraging.
”But it’s important that stories like mine aren’t used to say that everything is O.K. for blacks. You have to remember that for every one of me, there are hundreds or thousands of black students with at least equal talent who don’t get a chance,” he said, alluding to poverty or growing up in a drug environment
.

What a Law Review Does

Law reviews, which are edited by students, play a double role at law schools, providing a chance for students to improve their legal research and writing, and at the same time offering judges and scholars a forum for new legal arguments. The Harvard Law Review is generally considered the most widely cited of the student law reviews.

On his goals in his new post, Mr. Obama said: ”I personally am interested in pushing a strong minority perspective. I’m fairly opinionated about this. But as president of the law review, I have a limited role as only first among equals.”

Therefore, Mr. Obama said, he would concentrate on making the review a ”forum for debate,” bringing in new writers and pushing for livelier, more accessible writing.

A President’s Future

The president of the law review usually goes on to serve as a clerk for a judge on the Federal Court of Appeals for a year, and then as a clerk for an associate justice of the Supreme Court. Mr. Obama said he planned to spend two or three years in private law practice and then return to Chicago to re-enter community work, either in politics or in local organizing.

Professors and students at the law school reacted cautiously to Mr. Obama’s selection. ”For better or for worse, people will view it as historically significant,” said Prof. Randall Kennedy, who teaches contracts and race relations law. ”But I hope it won’t overwhelm this individual student’s achievement.”

Change in Selection System

Mr. Obama was elected after a meeting of the review’s 80 editors that convened Sunday and lasted until early this morning, a participant said.

Until the 1970’s the editors were picked on the basis of grades, and the president of the Law Review was the student with the highest academic rank. Among these were Elliot L. Richardson, the former Attorney General, and Irwin Griswold, a dean of the Harvard Law School and Solicitor General under Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon.

That system came under attack in the 1970’s and was replaced by a program in which about half the editors are chosen for their grades and the other half are chosen by fellow students after a special writing competition. The new system, disputed when it began, was meant to help ensure that minority students became editors of The Law Review.

Harvard, like a number of other top law schools, no longer ranks its law students for any purpose including a guide to recruiters.

Blacks at Harvard: New High

Black enrollment at Harvard Law School, after a dip in the mid-1980’s, has reached a record high this year, said Joyce Curll, the director of admissions. Of the 1,620 students in the three-year school, 12.5 percent this year are blacks, she said, and 14 percent of the first-year class are black. Nationwide enrollment by blacks in undergraduate colleges has dropped in recent years.

Mr. Obama succeeds Peter Yu, a first-generation Chinese-American, as president of The Law Review. After graduation, Mr. Yu plans to serve as a clerk for Chief Judge Patricia Wald on the of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Mr. Yu said Mr. Obama’s election ”was a choice on the merits, but others may read something into it.”

The first female editor of The Harvard Law Review was Susan Estrich, in 1977, who recently resigned as a professor at Harvard Law School to take a similar post at the University of Southern California. Ms. Estrich was campaign manager for Gov. Michael S. Dukakis of Massachusetts in his campaign for the Presidency in 1988.

photo: Barack Obama was elected yesterday as president of the Harvard Law Review. He is the first black to hold the position. (The New York Times/Jim Bourg)

**Article from Archives of The New York Times**