Are We There Yet?

Don't Be Silent in the Face of InjusticeIn these remaining few more days of Black History Month and beyond, let us not forget the message of unity, love, and justice of Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King. Dr. King was a servant leader, fully aware of the injustices, and yet was able to work towards justice in a spirit of love. He was truly a voice of conscience that rings beyond the grave. By his example I learned that while I must be aware of the goings on in the world, at the same time not let it steal the joy in the moment. Ignorance is not bliss and neither is anger or hate. We must be aware; be sensitive; speak out against injustice; be loving even to our enemies, be encouraging to those who are grieving or being persecuted, and most importantly, we must DO what WE can to change the world.

This week a Facebook post really got to me.  It was of a young African-American being harassed, beaten, restrained, and kicked.  He kept screaming, “Why are yall doing this to me?” He was being treated like an animal. Evidently he’d stepped off a bus and was immediately accosted by two police.  I was so visibly moved that I wrote the following FB post.

This made me cry for two reasons!!!! 1) Because this is still happening. 2) Because it’s a reminder of when one on my son’s on his Spring break from college had something similarly humiliating done to him! Handcuffed, made to get on the ground, cops being verbally abusive, and yes he was scared to death. Yes! And he was innocent, and NO he didn’t have his pants hanging, and NO he didn’t have on a hoodie, and NO, he doesn’t drink or smoke AND IT DIDNT MATTER! It’s hard for wounds to heal when the scab keeps getting ripped off! The only difference is he kept quiet. BUT, some caged birds have to scream though!!! If you scream though, it makes things worse, as you see in the video links below.

Why was this man being harassed for just stepping off of  a bus? Thankfully someone recorded it. Two other police come to the scene and one ends up putting his foot on the guys face while he’s on the ground and is kicking him in the face. And it appears like one is almost sitting on the guy’s head. The poor young man is screaming, “Why are you doing this to me?,” but to no avail. Bystanders are watching and walking by, but feel helpless to help.  This is the police; what can they do? Are we there yet? Watch the Video and You decide!!!!!! The language is foul, but so is the indignity put upon this young man.  Then I learn that this is routine for NYC if you are Black or Latino. They missed one young man who videoed it, but not this one, eight cops just arrest him for videoing the atrocityy.  Are we in a police state? Where are our freedoms?  What about due process, human rights, and human respect?

An analysis by the NYCLU revealed that innocent New Yorkers have been subjected to police stops and street interrogations more than 4 million times since 2002, and that black and Latino communities continue to be the overwhelming target of these tactics. Nearly nine out of 10 stopped-and-frisked New Yorkers have been completely innocent, according to the NYPD’s own reports.”

“We will have to repent in this generation, not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people.”

It looked like something out of Dr. King’s era. I can only wonder if we are breeding an endless cycle of hatred. What came first the chicken or egg? I’m thinking about those kids being harassed day after day and wondering if they are going to grow up loving or hating whites. In some places those chickens will one day come home to roost if they ever get in a position to return the hate that has built up in them from so many years of being powerless. In other cases led by the example of numerous people of every color disgusted by the old guard and preaching and demonstrating love and peace, (like many Bahai’s and others I know), the system will slowly but surely be changed for the better. We are one human race and there is just one planet and one people. I have to keep in mind always that while there are many horrific examples of humans at their worst, but I’m happy to say, I do see so many examples of humans at their best too!  Thank you Dr. King for showing us how to love our enemies, to stand up for justice, and to not remain silent, yet we be guilty too.

Another message that matters from Barbara Talley

Let’s Talk Race!

The Onion Network did a spoof on race on their satirical internet news show.  A pretty young 16-year old white girl stabs her classmate to death with a screwdriver.  The judge declares that she is to be tried as an adult 300 pound black man.  Her mother replies, “We’re going to make sure that Hanna is treated with the sympathy and sensitivity that she as a photogenic white girl deserves. Her father laments, “Nobody deserves to be treated as a black man! They went on to say if she had to be tried as an African- American, at least make her a celebrity or a “stunningly beautiful Filipino.”  FUNNY? INSENSITIVE? CREATIVE SATIRE? ENTERTAINING PARODY? EDUCATIONAL? INFORMATIVE? {NOW, BE AWARE: THIS IS NOT TRUE} But it does make you think, doesn’t it?

Please comment and tell me what you think.

While the above satire is not true, many incidents of race are.  The above fake story on the Onion network had about 1000 tweets and 137,941 views in just two days of its release on January 23rd when I looked at it on the 25th.  From, some of the comments after the Youtube video (which had over 71,000 views), some people actually thought it was true and were admittedly very angry about it.  But, why, incite anger?  As I’ve said before, “If you don’t want people playing the race card, then take it out of the deck!”   I’m trying real hard to not think of race, but when I see reminders of reality through realistic faux news like this, and REAL stories like, NAACP fears another lynching in Mississippi, and the Governor of Maine tells the NAACP to “Kiss my butt,” and a Louisiana Judge Refusing an Inter-racial Marriage,  it causes me to go hmmm.  But, what’s your take?  Now, to be fair, these are three instances that cause alarm, we have even more examples of us working together, colorblind, in unity.  So, to balance the story, please share stories of where race unity is working too and racism does not exist!

I’m Barbara Talley, the poet who speaks and inspires.  To find out more about me check out: What Does Barbara Do? or visit  my website.

How Often Do You Eat Dinner with Your Family?

Could you use a little more connection, love, or understanding?  If so, it could be as close as your kitchen table and a family meal.  Want to get closer to your teens?  The family dinner might be the place to start.  While some say the family dinner is dying out,  a Time Magazine article says it is coming back. Think back to your past, the family dinner was one of the few rituals that a family could count on.  It was a time when the children knew they had the undivided attention of their parents and siblings to share or consult about issues going on in their lives.  Unfortunately, research shows that the institution of a family dinner is dying.  I know personally, we have a lot less dinners together now that we did years ago.  I got tired of cooking after 40 years of preparing meals for my family.  But, after reading the articles linked to this post, I’m rethinking the whole  thing.  I realize that I am not the only one who can cook.  I spoke with my family and we’ve promised to take turns cooking and bring the family dinner back. I like that!

Let’s Do Our Own Research

So which is it; is it dying out or coming back?  What about you; Do you have regular family dinners?  I mean dinners where you are all seated at the same table at the same time, with no phones and no TV on? Do you talk to each other and if you do, do you have meaningful conversations?  What do you remember about family dinners growing up, the cooking, eating,  and then cleaning up together? Please post your reply to the question: Do you still have family dinners?  How often? Do you miss them?

I’m Barbara Talley, the poet who speaks and inspires.  To find out more about me check out my promo sheet or visit  my website.

Joseph P. Overton: Character for a Free Society | The Freeman | Ideas On Liberty

One of Martin Luther King Jr’s most well-known quotes was, “Judge me not by the color of my skin, but by the content of my character.”  While doing some research on Martin Luther King Jr’s March on Washington, I came across an article in the NY Times article discussing the event and asking for support.  There was a list of people on the article supporting the march.  I decided to randomly google one of the names ‘L Joseph Overton’ and came across this wonderful article (which isn’t the same person).  An excerpt is below.

“The world needs more men who do not have a price at which they can be bought; who do not borrow from integrity to pay for expediency; who have their priorities straight and in proper order; whose handshake is an ironclad contract; who are not afraid of taking risks to advance what is right; and who are honest in small matters as they are in large ones.

The world needs more men whose ambitions are big enough to include others; who know how to win with grace and lose with dignity; who do not believe that shrewdness and cunning and ruthlessness are the three keys to success; who still have friends they made twenty years ago; who put principle and consistency above politics or personal advancement; and who are not afraid to go against the grain of popular opinion.

The world needs more men who do not forsake what is right just to get consensus because it makes them look good; who know how important it is to lead by example, not by barking orders; who would not have you do something they would not do themselves; who work to turn even the most adverse circumstances into opportunities to learn and improve; and who love even those who have done some injustice or unfairness to them. The world, in other words, needs more true leaders. More to the point, the world needs more Joe Overtons.”

via Joseph P. Overton: Character for a Free Society | The Freeman | Ideas On Liberty.

5th of My Fave Five Dr. King Quotes: On Unity

Unity

And last, but not least, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke about unity.  In spite of all the “unearned suffering” he endured, nothing he did was about revenge, hatred, or getting even.  He always took the high road.  He just continually worked to make the world a better place for his children.   Inspired and even driven by the non-violent tenets of Gandhi, he lived the proverbial teaching, “Turn the other cheek.”   We celebrate his life because he gave us hope.  He gave us a role model who endured monumental suffering and still stood tall.  He was truly “his brothers’ keeper.

Dr. King Dreamed of Unity

I cannot possibly conclude a reflection on the impact of Dr. King’s life without mentioning his most famous speech, ‘I have a Dream.’  Watching his prophetic dream come more and more into focus underscores the importance of vision and that we should all have a dream we can believe in.  To me, his dream was primarily about unity.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.”

One Day We Will Not Be Judged By the Color Our Skins

I believe that nothing can begin to bring about unity and cooperation better than the genuine acknowledgement that we are all created equal.   There is no superior race; just as there is no inferior race.  There is only one human race and science and religion has proven it.  Dr. King dreamed that one day we would, sit together at the table of brotherhood, and that his children would “one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”   Our hatred, fear, selfishness and ignorance continues to keep us at odds with each other.  We’ve got to remember that unity sets us all free.

The Historical Unity Between Blacks and Whites

I have a Black History Month presentation that I offer entitled, “The Historical Unity between Blacks and Whites.”  In this presentation I focus on the wonderful and often unacknowledged contributions of African Americans.  Black history is about black and white history.  It is impossible to fully tell our story without telling his story.   I share the true history, both good and bad.  But, I choose to also acknowledge the positive contributions of the whites.  This strategy leaves both Blacks and Whites feeling more unified, grateful and proud of their past unity, instead of reminders of victimization, anger, hatred, and shame.  This climate of mutual respect can go a long way to building bridges of understanding, respect, and appreciation.

Let’s Join Together in Our Common Struggle

The words of his wife, Coretta Scott King reinforce his desire for unity of all people.

  The civil rights movement, which Martin led, gave fresh emphasis to the timelessness of our ideals and inspired countless millions around the world.  With Martin’s holiday, we celebrate those heroes and heroines, not only blacks, but of all races and religions, who struggled, suffered, persevered, and helped to change our Nation for the better…  Martin called upon peoples of every nation to join together in a common struggle against the enemies of humanity: Tyranny, poverty, racism, disease, and war.  The national holiday is a time for personal re-commitment to do something about these evils.”

Barbara Talley is a keynote speaker, author, poet, and trainer who can be reached at www.thepoetspeaks.com.  Still looking for a keynote speaker for Black History Month, Women’s History Month, or Administrative Professional Day, phone Barbara at 301-428-4831.