October 16, 2017

Do You Remember the Million Man March?

Our Million Man March occurred 22 years ago today. October 16, 1995. Over one million brothers standing peacefully on the mall of the U.S. Capitol in Washington DC ... with millions more watching on television around the world took a pledge to improve our lives and the lives of our wives, children and family.

A hush spread over the crowd as each of us raised our hands to take the following pledge:
  • I pledge that from this day forward, I will strive to love my brother as I love myself. From this day forward I will strive to improve myself spiritually, morally, mentally, socially, politically and economically for the benefit of myself, my family and my people.
  • I pledge that I will strive to build business, build houses, build hospitals, build factories and enter into international trade for the good of myself, my family and my people.
  • I pledge that from this day forward I will never raise my hand with a knife or a gun to beat, cut or shoot any member of my family or any human being except in self defense.
  • I pledge from this day forward, I will never abuse my wife by striking her, disrespecting her, for she is the mother of my children and the producer of my future.
  • I pledge that from this day forward, I will never engage in the abuse of children, little boys or little girls, for sexual gratification. But I will let them grow in peace to be strong men and women for the future of our people.
  • I will never again use the "b" word to describe any female, but particularly my own Black sister.
  • I pledge that from this day forward that I will not poison my body with drugs or that which is destructive to my health and my well-being.
  • I pledge from this day forward that I will support Black newspapers, Black radio, Black television. I will support Black artists who clean up their acts and show respect for themselves and respect for their people and respect for the heirs of the human family.
  • I will do all of this, so help me God.
There are two memories that I carry with me from that fall day in Washington DC. First, I remember leaving my wife at the Washington DC hotel where we were staying (the untold story of the Million Man March was the million woman that supported their efforts).

Anyhow, I took the DC metro to the mall ...and it was truly amazing to see dozens, then hundreds, then thousands of brothers all walking in the same direction. The early morning sun did not yet reach above the horizon and a million brothers were of one accord that day. What raw power and promise!

Second, I remember a point during the Million Man March where we were asked to support the event with our dollars.

Thousands of brothers began passing ones, tens and twenties ... folding money ... over our heads from the back of the mall all the way to the front where the money was being collected. No worries about someone pocketing the cash on the way ... just willing hands and willing hearts looking to make a difference on that day. Ujamaa in action.

Villagers, what do you recall about that day sixteen years ago? More importantly, what have you done since that day to live up to the pledges we made at the Million Man March?

September 11, 2017

9/11 Numbers

The initial numbers are indelible: 8:46 a.m. and 9:02 a.m. Time the burning towers stood: 56 minutes and 102 minutes. Time they took to fall: 12 seconds. From there, they ripple out.

  • Total number killed in attacks: 2,819
  • Number of WTC companies that lost people: 60
  • Number of nations whose citizens were killed in attacks: 115
  • Ratio of men to women who died: 3:1
  • Bodies found "intact": 289
  • Body parts found: 19,858
  • Number of families who got no remains: 1,717
  • Number of people who lost a spouse or partner in the attacks: 1,609
  • Estimated number of children who lost a parent: 3,051
  • Days fires continued to burn after the attack: 99

January 1, 2017

Kwanzaa: Imani ('Faith')

Habari Gani? Imani (ee-MAH-nee)!
Day 7. January 1

To believe with all our hearts in our parents, our teachers, our leaders, our people and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

When life seems to bring nothing but a string of defeats and disappointments, we've got to have faith that something good is still in store for us. With this faith, we can forge ahead and continue to put forth our best effort. Without it, we give up and accept what comes our way, good or bad. Our precious dreams begin to seem absurdities.

It is imperative that we see ourselves as worth and deserving of a good life. There may be rejections; it may take us a while; but as long as we stay in the game, there's every chance we'll score. On the sidelines, we can only watch as others do the work and the winning.

Perhaps it is time for us to celebrate this seventh principle of the Nguzo Saba principle, 'Imani'! Perhaps it is time ... as we enter for a new year ... to step out on faith.

On this day, I will spend five minutes to relax and visualize success in achieving one of my goals.

Those are my thoughts about Imani. Please take a moment to join this online Kwanzaa celebration with me. What do you think when Imani comes to mind?

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